Services Frequently Asked Questions

November 4, 2020

How does the Takeout service work?

Head to the online catalogue and place holds.

You will receive an automated email or a phone call letting you know that your holds are ready.

Please visit your branch page for the hours of operation and details about how to collect your materials.

Customers now have access to all items at all our branches. VIRL’s delivery trucks are once again transporting books, DVDs, magazines and other materials to branches across Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii, and the Central Coast.

How does the Walkthrough service work?

Step inside your branch to safely and securely browse a limited collection, use our self-checkout machines, and bring home some exciting new titles.

Find out more here.

How does the Sit Down service work?

Access your branch, browse the entire collection, and then sit down to enjoy some well earned time at your library, all in an environment that’s safe, controlled, and sanitized.

Find out more here.

Is the Takeout service still available at branches offering Walkthrough or Sit Down?

Some branches are still offering Takeout while others have shifted to Walkthrough or Sit Down only.

Visit your branch page to find out what’s happening in your community, including branch hours.

Please contact 1.877.415.8475 or email info@virl.bc.ca if you have additional questions. We have staff available to help you at the following hours:

  • Monday – Thursday: 10am – 6pm
  • Friday – Saturday: 10 am – 5pm

What are the hours of operation for the various services?

The hours of operation vary from branch-to-branch.

Find out what’s happening at your branch, or call 1.877.415.8475 or email info@virl.bc.ca if you have any questions. We have staff available to help you at the following hours:

  • Monday – Thursday: 10am – 6pm
  • Friday – Saturday: 10 am – 5pm

Is there a way I can contact VIRL if I have general questions about library services, resources, recommendations, and those sorts of things?

Yes, there is!

We have staff ready to assist you with all your reference questions, information needs, book recommendations, tech help, and more.

Just call 1.877.415.8475 or email info@virl.bc.ca at the hours to talk to one of our staff:

  • Monday – Thursday: 10am – 6pm
  • Friday – Saturday: 10 am – 5pm

How do I search or browse items online?

Here’s how to search for a specific title or keyword:

  1. Go to our catalogue at search.virl.bc.ca
  2. Search for your title or keyword (i.e. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)
  3. Place a hold or request on the item.
  4. Select which branch you would like to pickup the item for Takeout Service.

Here’s how to browse all the titles currently available at a branch:

    1. Head to search.virl.bc.ca
    2. Click “Advance Search”
    3. Type an asterisk (*) in the search area
    4. Select your branch
    5. Click “Search”

*Please note that using a broad search can slow search results.

How will I be notified when my holds are ready?

You will receive an automated email or a phone call letting you know that your holds are ready.

Please visit your branch page for the hours of operation and details about how to collect your materials.

How are you keeping customers and staff safe?

We have taken several important to keep our staff and customers safe.

  • All branches have undergone inspections and Risk Assessments
  • Staff have been trained and have a thorough knowledge of VIRL’s Exposure Control Plan
  • Staff maintain proper physical distancing at all times while at work
  • PPE is available for all staff while at work
  • Proper signage is in place to ensure that customers maintain a safe physical distance and follow all procedures when collecting their items
  • All items returned are quarantined before going back into circulation
  • All surfaces are thoroughly disinfected after each interaction

Walkthrough and Sit Down:

  • Ensuring proper physical distancing
  • Limiting the number of people allowed in the branch at one time
  • Regular disinfecting
  • Clear signage and messaging that all customers are expected to follow
  • Providing equitable access to customers with different COVID-19 infection risk factors
  • Physically distanced seating and barriers, when this service is provided

How long will items be quarantined for?

The BC Centre for Disease Control has announced that no quarantine is necessary on returning items. We are still playing it safe however and all returned items will be quarantined for a minimum of 8 hours before returning to circulation.

People can choose to quarantine materials in a bag at home for longer periods if they so choose.

Is Books by Mail Service available?

Yes, Books By Mail is now available! Due to quarantine protocols, it may take longer than usual for you to receive your materials. We appreciate your patience.

Can I share materials with friends/family?

For your safety, we recommend that you do not share your library materials.

How many holds can I place?

The current maximum of 50 holds is in place to ensure an equity of access to our resources. We are looking at this internally and if we believe it can be done in a matter that benefits our customers, we will increase the number of holds available.

Do I have to return my items to the same branch I checked them out from?

We recommend that you return your materials to the same branch you checked them out from.

When will more services be brought back, like in-branch programs?

At this time, we have no plans to reintroduce in-branch programming.

We do, however, offer a wide array of exciting digital programs for people of every age and interest. Visit our Events Calendar for full details.

Can I order items from other branches?

Yes! Vancouver Island library lovers can once again access the entire collection of physical materials at the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) as it continues a phased approach to resuming library services. VIRL’s delivery trucks are once again transporting books, DVDs, magazines and other materials to branches across Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii, and the Central Coast.

When will Interlibrary Loans be available?

Interlibrary loan service is available.

Interlibrary loan requests may take 3 to 6 months or longer to be filled.   Longer than usual wait times are due to COVID-19 related disruptions in service at BC and Canadian library systems that fill our requests.

How long can I borrow for?

Review our Borrowing Tips page for more information.

Please note that during Takeout services, all materials should be returned to the branch they were checked out from.

Are there late fees?

At this time, we are waiving all late fees and will let you know once they have been restored.

Can I return items that I checked out before in-branch services were suspended?

Yes, library materials may be returned during Takeout service hours only. Book returns will be closed and locked during all other hours, where possible.