Visiting the Library FAQs
Last edit March 5, 2021 | Subject to change
Library Services – Service Restoration Phase 3
Customer Service Line is open Monday to Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm at 250-940-4875.
The library opens at 11:00 am for everyone. If you are interested in finding a quieter time to visit the library, please talk to our staff. In general, the first hour after opening is a busy time of the day. Branches tend to be quieter, with fewer patrons visiting, in the afternoon.
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
- Public Internet computers available at our sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay, Saanich Centennial and Emily Carr branches
- Upgrade an online library card for full library access to collections and computer at any branch
- Renew a library card at any branch or by calling the Customer Service Line at 250-940-4875, open Monday to Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
- Return items every day, any time at all branch locations. Return bins are closed on statutory holidays.
- Join us 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. See our updated branch hours here.
- 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. The Customer Service Line is open Monday to Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 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
We have retired the 11:00 am-12:00 pm limited access hour to make it easier for everyone to visit the library at a time that is convenient for them. Any time is a safe time to visit the library. GVPL continues to follow WorkSafe BC requirements and maintains a safe space for staff and patrons. Occupancy limitations are being observed and masks and physical distancing are required. Hand sanitizer is available at all branches.
If you are interested in finding a quieter time to visit the library, please talk to our staff. In general, the first hour after opening is a busy time of the day. Branches tend to be quieter, with fewer patrons visiting, in the afternoon.
- Public Internet computers are available at sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay, Saanich Centennial and Emily Carr branches. Bookings can be made up to seven days in advance.
- Book a library computer by calling the Customer Service Line or talk to staff at any branch. A library card is required to book and to log on to library computers.
- 50-minute computer sessions begin every hour.
- A 15-minute express computer is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Printing is available for patrons who are using a library computer.
- Washrooms are available for patrons who are using the computer lab only.
- Browsing collections and hold pick up are located at a separate entrance. The computer lab is not connected to the collections.
- Your time on the computer begins on the hour. You are welcome to arrive a few minutes early to clean the space and get settled. Staff are available to help.
Public computers are currently available at
- 50-minute computer sessions begin every hour. Computers can be booked up to seven days in advance by calling the Customer Service Line or talking to staff at the branch.
- A 15-minute express computer is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Time between sessions will be reserved for cleaning.
- Talk to staff at any time about availability. Cancellations can occur.
An accessible computer is available for 50-minute session bookings. Computer sessions cannot be extended.
Public Internet computers can be booked through our staff. Call the Customer Service Line at 250-940-4875, Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am–6:00 pm, or talk to staff at any branch location during open hours. Bookable computer sessions are 50-minutes long. An express 15-minute computer is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
When you arrive at the computer lab, you will be welcomed by our staff. You are welcome to arrive a few minutes early to clean the station and get settled so you are ready to log-in at the designated time. Hand sanitizer stations are available at the entrance, along with masks for individuals who do not have one. Occupancy limits will be observed so the space is available to patrons who are using the computers. Please let us know during booking if you are bringing a child or helper.
Computer stations have dividers to ensure physical spacing is observed, and there are disinfecting wipes available for cleaning. Your library card and password are required for bookings and for log in.
Computers have Windows 10, Microsoft Office, and more. Your library card and password is required for printing. Staff are available to help while maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet).
Yes, we do. Washrooms are available onsite for patrons at Langford Heritage, Goudy and Central Saanich. Access to a washroom is available in library at sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay and Emily Carr branches for patrons using the computer lab.
No. The computer lab is available for library computer use only. We are not currently offering table space or plug-in access for personal devices.
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.
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. 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.
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 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 under the age of 12 are not required to wear a mask.