About interlibrary Loans
Interlibrary loans (ILL) are the way library materials are made available from one library system to another. If the Vancouver Public Library does not own an item that you need, our Interlibrary Loans Department will try to get a copy sent from another library system. The Vancouver Public Library will search for the book you need in other libraries in the Lower Mainland, British Columbia, Canada and the United States.
How do I get an interlibrary loan?
You must have a VPL card that is in good standing. The material you request can only be checked out on your library card. Adults may not borrow material for their own use on a child's library card.
NOTE: A borrower who has more than 10 items overdue, fines over $10.00, owes more than $10.00 in lost or damaged material, or has 5 or more claims returned items will lose all borrowing privileges until brought below these limits.
Submit your request using the Interlibrary Online Request Menu. Please be sure to submit your request with accurate information. If you are not sure of the title, please discuss it with our information staff before submitting the ILL form.
When your interlibrary loan arrives, you will be notified by our automated telephone system unless you have email notification on file. For reference materials, we will telephone you.
How long does an interlibrary loan take?
The length of time varies. Material readily available to be requested from Lower Mainland libraries may arrive within 2 weeks, but material not readily available may take 4 or more weeks to arrive at VPL. The time depends upon several factors such as the availability of the materials, shipping and transit time. Materials sent from other provinces or from outside Canada will take longer.
If the requested material is time sensitive or you require fast delivery of documents, please visit our fee-based InfoAction research service.
Do I have to pay?
Our service is free. The Vancouver Public Library tries to locate materials without charge; however, the lending fees are set by the lending library and may be as much as $15.00 - $35.00 and up. You must indicate the maximum amount you are willing to pay in order to obtain the materials. If the charge is over $25.00, you will be notified first.
There is a $1.00 charge for non-pickup of interlibrary loans from within B.C. and a $5.00 charge for non-pick up of out-of-province items, in addition to any lending fees incurred.
Circulating ILL items are part of the request process. You receive 50 free requests (VPL and ILL items) in a calendar year. Any additional requests will cost 50 cents each.
Fines are charged for materials returned late. See Loan Periods and Fines for details.
You are responsible for replacement of lost or damaged materials.
What is available through interlibrary loan?
- Books (not published during the current year)
- Photocopies of newspaper, magazine and journal articles
- Microfilms/Microfiche (may only be viewed at Central)
- Government documents
- Conference proceedings
What material may not be requested?
- Books owned by VPL (unless designated lost or on trace)
- Books published and/or copyrighted in the current year
- Audiovisual materials
- Audio cassettes
- Video cassettes
- Compact discs
- Computer software and games
- Individual or bound issues of magazines
- Graphic novels
What material may not be available?
Owning Libraries may choose not to send us the following materials:
- Non-circulating / reference materials
- Best-sellers, popular paperbacks, and other high-demand titles
- Magazines, except photocopies of specific articles
- Pamphlets and other in-print materials priced under $10.00
- Textbooks for academic courses
- Genealogical material
- Rare books
- Oversized materials such as large maps
- Unpublished dissertations and theses
- Books published in multi-volume sets
- Books with an audiovisual component
- Children's material
Is there a limit on interlibrary loan requests?
You can have 10 active interlibrary loan requests at one time except for the following:
- Microfilm lending limits may apply depending on the institution
How can I check the status of my interlibrary loan request?
You can check the status of your ILL request online by entering your patron authentication information on this page. Your request will remain pending till the requested item is available for pickup at your chosen library branch. Please allow 4 - 8 weeks or longer to complete your request.
How long may I keep the interlibrary loan item?
The loan period is usually 3 weeks, although this period may be shortened by the owning/lending library. The owning/lending library may restrict the material to in-library use only. Interlibrary loans cannot be renewed, nor can they be re-requested for a 3 month period.
How do I cancel my online interlibrary loan requests?
Please call 604-331-3603 and ask for the Interlibrary Loans Department.
Please note that if you have agreed to pay any fees in order to obtain an item, these fees may still be owing if the item is already on its way to VPL when we receive your cancellation request. VPL will not charge any further cancellation fees.
Ordering Microfilms/Fiche from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City
Family History Library microfilms/fiche must be ordered directly by patrons from the Online Film Ordering web page.
- Before placing your first order you will need to register with the Family History Library and set up an account.
- There will be an option to have the material sent to the Vancouver Public Library for viewing
- The Family History Library will alert you by email when they have sent the material to VPL and VPL staff will contact you to let you know when it has arrived and is available for use.
- Films/Fiche will be held at the information desk on level 6 of the Central Library
- A valid VPL card will be required for retrieval and viewing of the material
- All Family History Library material is for in-library use only
- No payment is required at VPL as you will already have paid for the material when placing the order through the Family History website
- VPL will return the microfilm/fiche to the Family History Library when you have finished with it
For more information about ordering microfilms/fiche from the Family History Library, please visit:
- Online Film Ordering (Family History Library) - For help with ordering, click on the Ordering Help link at the top of their page.
- Borrowing Microfilm from the FHL (Vancouver Public Library)
- Hours: Monday - Friday; 10am-5pm
- Phone: 604-331-3603
- Fax: 604-331-3800
Requesting Libraries should refer to: the Library and Archives Canada ILL policy page for Vancouver Public Library's ILL policies and contact information.