Takeout Service at VIRL

June 23, 2020

Takeout Service Status Updates

We know you’ve missed your books, DVDs, magazines, and all the other great stuff you love to check out from your library. The past few months have been tough to say the least.

Takeout service is now rolling out at branches in communities across our service area! Find out what is happening at your branch here.

Our branches are still closed, but now you can start checking out items again!

Find out more information in the FAQs below or connect with us by email or phone.

Get in Touch With Us!

We know you have lots of questions. We’re here to help you Monday to Friday, 10am – 6pm and Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 2pm.

Takeout Service Status Updates

Printable Takeout Service FAQ

How does the Takeout service work?

Head to the online catalogue and place holds. Staff will collect your items, you will be contacted to arrange a time, and your items will be placed at the pick-up site.

At this time, materials will only be available in the branch where they are housed. We will let you know when you can access titles and materials from other branches.

Where are takeout services being offered?

We are offering takeout service on a branch-by-branch basis. We will update our website and social media channels with the latest information. You can also give us a call at 1.877.415.8475 or send an email to info@virl.bc.ca if you have any questions.

How do I search or browse items by branch?

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. Select your “Branch” on the left
  4. You should see all items available at your branch that match that keyword or title

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.


What are the hours of operation for takeout?

Check the Takeout Status page for the hours of operation at your branch. Please note that the Takeout hours will be different from the regular hours and we will clearly indicate what the Takeout hours are at each branch as the service becomes available.

How many items can I check out?

Currently, we are limiting customers to five items per checkout to help manage the rate at which the collections are taken from branches. As we bring more services back, we will look at increasing the number of available checkouts.

How are you deciding where to offer takeout services?

The number one consideration is health and safety. We will do our best to ensure that the Takeout service is provided in branches across our service area, but only in those that meet our health and safety criteria.

How are you keeping customers and staff safe?

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

  • All branches will undergo both inspections and Risk Assessments before takeout service is offered
  • Staff will have been trained and will have a thorough knowledge of VIRL’s Exposure Control Plan
  • Staff will maintain proper physical distancing at all times while at work
  • PPE is available for all staff while at work
  • Proper signage will be in place to ensure that customers maintain a safe physical distance and follow all procedures when collecting their items
  • All items returned will be quarantined for 72 hours before going back into circulation
  • All surfaces and will be thoroughly disinfected after each interaction

Will you provide bags for my books?

We have limited supplies of bags available — you will be asked to bring your own bag whenever possible.

How long will items be quarantined for?

All returned items will be quarantined for  72 hours before returning to circulation.

Is Books by Mail Service available?

We are working on a plan to resume Books by Mail as soon as possible and will let you know once it has been restored (note: materials will be limited to those currently in the Nanaimo North branch for the time being).

Can I share materials with friends/family?

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

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

We strongly recommend that you return your materials to the same branch you checked them out from. Since available materials are limited to the branch where they’re housed, we want to ensure the widest possible selection of titles is available.

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

We will only expand our services when it is safe to do so. This will be done in accordance with the advice we receive from public health officials and other experts. We will keep you informed.

Why are you limiting materials to what is only available in each branch?

This is a temporary measure that is primarily the result of our trucks — which we typically use to move items from branch to branch — being deployed to prepare our branches for the physical distancing measures we will have to enforce when they open, such as removing furniture.

We are working on a plan to resume circulation between branches and will let you know when this service is available again.

When will Interlibrary Loans be available?

The Interlibrary Loan service is provincially managed. We will wait for direction and guidance on when this service might be restored.

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.

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.

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.