Interlibrary Loans

Request an interlibrary loan

About interlibrary loans

How do I get an interlibrary loan?

How long does an interlibrary loan take?

How much do I have to pay?

What is available through interlibrary loan?

What material may not be requested?

What material may not be available?

Is there a limit on interlibrary loan requests?

How can I check the status of my interlibrary loan request?

How long may I keep the interlibrary loan item?

How do I cancel my online interlibrary loan request?

Contact Us

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 request in other libraries in the Lower Mainland, British Columbia, and Canada.

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 the information is accurate. If you are not certain of the title, please ask our information staff to help you complete the ILL form.

When your interlibrary loan arrives, you will be notified by our automated telephone system unless you have email notification on file. We will telephone you if the materials are for in-library use only.

How long does an interlibrary loan take?

It varies. Material available locally may take between three and six weeks. For material from outside BC, expect four to eight weeks. The time depends upon several factors such as the availability of the materials, shipping and transit time.

If you need the material sooner, please visit our fee-based InfoAction research service.

How much do I have to pay?

The Vancouver Public Library tries to locate materials without charge; however, there may be postal charges or document delivery fees. In addition, lending fees set by the lending library could be $35.00 or more. You must indicate the maximum amount you are willing to pay in order to obtain the materials. 

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. Charges are set by the lending library.

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, such as DVDs and compact discs
  • CD-ROMs
  • Computer software and games
  • Individual or bound issues of magazines
  • Graphic novels
  • Zines

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
  • 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

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 lending library. The 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.

Contact Us

Requesting Libraries should refer to: the Library and Archives Canada ILL policy page for Vancouver Public Library's ILL policies and contact information.

More VPL borrowing information

james.bond@vpl.ca