Visiting the Library FAQs
Last edit November 25, 2020 | Subject to change
Library services currently available
- Borrow items from our vast collection. Use the library catalogue to search and place a hold for pick up at any branch location. You receive a notification by email, text or phone when holds are ready for pick up.
- Browse a selection of popular items for all ages and borrow on the spot
- Borrow items from the library vending machine at Langford Heritage Branch
- Upgrade an online library card or renew a library card (please bring personal identification)
- Return items every day, any time at all branch locations. Return bins are closed on statutory holidays.
- Join us outdoors or online for programming that inspires and informs. Discover more here
- The virtual library features ebooks, e-audiobooks and streaming movies and music and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Easy-to-use video tutorials show you how to get the most out of the library’s digital collections and are always available here.
- Branches are open Monday to Saturday. For those who self-identify as senior or immunocompromised: 11:00 am-12:00 pm. For everyone: 12:00-5:00 pm
- We’re here to help. For questions about cards and accounts, digital help, reading suggestions and placing holds and more, phone us during open hours at 250-940-4875 (Monday to Saturday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm) or send us a comment or question through our webform.
Safety and the Library
GVPL is committed to providing a healthy and safe space for staff and patrons. New procedures that align with WorkSafe BC, the Ministry of Health and other governing bodies are in place for staff and patrons to follow. Some new safety measures include:
- Requiring staff and patrons to wear a mask in the library
- Providing hand sanitizer for patrons who enter the branch and maintaining occupancy limits in branches
- Quarantining borrowed items for 24 hours after they are returned
- New signage, floor markings and visual cues to provide clear direction
- Using personal protective equipment as required
- Appropriate cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch and common areas
With new safety protocols in place, coming to the library during COVID-19 is a new experience. We need to limit access inside the branches and adjust the flow of traffic in order to practice safe physical distancing, keep our common and high-touch areas clean and have adequate space for holds pick-up. As per the Provincial Public Health Officer’s order, you are required to wear a mask when visiting the library.
When you arrive at the branch, you may line up outside by the main entrance and enter the library when a staff member indicates it is your turn. Follow the signs and markers outside the library and be prepared to wait depending on the line. Occupancy limits are in place and vary from branch to branch (e.g. occupancy currently ranges from 5 to 20 patrons depending on the branch).
Inside the library, you can visit a small holds pick-up area and browsing collection. We appreciate you taking only the time you need inside the branch to allow other patrons their opportunity to come inside.
Not at the moment. As we reintroduce more services as part of our phased restoration of service, details will be available on our website.
GVPL is committed to providing a healthy and safe space for staff and patrons and continuing access to the library collection. Although you cannot browse our full collection in person, you can place a hold on any item, in any format, from our collection of over 650,000 physical items. All 12 branches are open so patrons across the system have convenient access at their home branch for holds pick-up, curated browsing collections, customer service support and 24/7 return of library materials in a safe and controlled environment.
Branches have been modified to temporarily shift away from a community living room model, where people come to browse, read, work and play, to a transactional model that can withstand the pandemic and allows people to access library materials. This is not forever but it is for now.
We are currently in the second phase of the library service restoration. GVPL will continue to adapt services and spaces to meet patron needs in a safe and sustainable manner to meet community needs.
Branches feature a collection of popular material for you to browse and borrow on the spot. This collection is always changing, refreshed with material from our vast collections of books and DVDs. If you are interested in a specific title, topic or author and you don’t see it in the browsing collection, the full collection is always available for you. You can:
- Talk to staff in the branch. They may be able to access a title for you right away or place a hold on specific titles for pick up later.
- Talk to a Librarian about browsing a more items from a specific collection such Literacy or World Language books. Send us a message through our webform or phone us using the Customer Service Line.
- Search for items using our catalogue and place a hold on items you want to borrow. You will be added to the holds queue. When an item becomes available for you to pick up, we’ll contact you by email, phone or text.
- Discover the virtual library full of ebooks, e-audiobooks and streaming movies and music for all ages and in many languages. These collections are available 24/7. Online help videos can help you get started anytime and are available for all our digital services.
If you need help finding items, please send us a message through our webform or phone us using the Customer Service Line during open hours at 250-940-4875 (Monday to Saturday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm). We’re here to help.
When items are returned, they are quarantined for 24 hours before being checked back into our system. This means items will remain on your account longer than usual (up to 5 days).
You may see fines temporarily on your account but these will disappear when material is checked in after the quarantine. No fines will be applied during the quarantine period.
Items returned through one of our automated return machines may instantly be removed from your account unless the machine encountered a problem. Items must be returned one by one. If items were returned in bundles, they will remain on your account until they are checked in manually, which may take up to a week (see above).
We are working hard to process holds as quickly as we can, and thousands of holds are made available every day at branch locations. Staff are working with a high volume of holds and many factors influence how and when we process holds. Factors contributing to prolonged wait time include:
- Volume of holds placed while the library was closed
- Number of patrons ahead of you in the holds queue
- The implementation of a 24-hour quarantine period on materials and
- Transit time of material between GVPL branches.
Each branch location provides a curated browsing collection with a selection of popular material to borrow on the spot. The virtual library features ebooks, e-audiobooks and streaming movies and music and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through GVPL.ca.
You can contact us if you can’t get to the library within the five business days allotted to pick up your hold. During these exceptional times, extensions may be possible; we’re here to help. Send us a comment or question through our webform or phone us during open hours at 250-940-4875 (Monday to Saturday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm).
Library fines over $3.00 can be paid online through your library account. We are not accepting payment of fines in person at this time.
Contact us during open hours at 250-940-4875 (Monday to Saturday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm) if you have any questions.
Yes. As per the Provincial Public Health Officer’s order, you are required to wear a mask when visiting the library. Children aged two and younger are not required to wear a mask.