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Visiting the Library FAQs2022-01-25T10:33:21+00:00

Visiting the Library FAQs

Last edit January 14, 2022 | Subject to change

GVPL is committed to providing a healthy and safe space for staff and patrons. Our branches are open Monday to Saturday. Our Central Branch is open on Sundays. See our updated branch hours. Our Customer Service Line is open Monday to Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm at 250-940-4875.


In compliance with the Public Health Order, masks are mandatory at all GVPL locations for anyone 5 years or older.  If you forget yours, please ask us for one and we’ll be happy to provide it.

GVPL is committed to providing a healthy and safe space for staff and patrons. Safety measures include:

  • Mandatory face masks for those aged 5 and older.
  • Providing hand sanitizer.
  • Signage, floor markings, and visual cues to provide clear direction.
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch and common areas.

No. You do not have to show proof of vaccination to visit the library.

  • Browse a large selection of popular items for all ages.
  • Place a hold on items in our vast physical collection.
  • Return items.
  • Digital collection including ebooks, e-audiobooks, streaming movies and music.
  • Public computers.
  • Upgrade an online library card for full library access.
  • Renew a library card.
  • Online programming and events plus limited outdoor programs. Learn more.
  • Information and assistance via our phone line (250-940-4875) or through our webform.

Starting October 17, 2021, the Central Branch will be open on Sundays from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Currently, Sunday hours are only available at this branch. Please note that the Customer Service Line is not available on Sundays.

A BC Vaccine Card is not required to visit the library, but beginning September 13, 2021, proof of vaccination will be required to access certain services, events, and businesses across the province.

Before getting your BC Vaccination Card, you’ll need to know your date of birth, your personal health number (PHN), and the date you got your first or second vaccine dose. More information is available on the province’s Proof of vaccination and BC Vaccination Card website.

If you don’t have a computer or smartphone? Call 1-833-838-2323 (translators available) to have your card mailed to you.

Library staff can help you through the process of obtaining your BC Vaccine Card and can provide options for how to store your BC Vaccine Card. Call us, or drop in and ask for assistance. Library computers and printers are also available. Please note, there may be a wait time for library computers, so advance booking is recommended.

Public internet computers are available at all branches. Call our Customer Service Line at 250-940-4875 to book a space or for more information. A library card is required to book and to log on to library computers. A few things to know about public computers:

  • Bookings can be made up to seven days in advance.
  • 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.
  • Your time using 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.

No, pre-booking a computer is not necessary. Patrons may book (reserve a specific date and time) a public computer, but computers can also be immediately accessed without booking through staff first, subject to availability.

Computer sessions are available in 30-minute increments (For Express computers) and up to 120-minute instruments (for Regular and Adaptive computers). A reservation can start at any time during the hour, subject to availability.

Photocopying and printing are available at all branches; printing is available for patrons who are using a library computer. Currently, there is no cost for printing or photocopies.

Public washrooms are available at all locations.

If you are interested in a specific title, topic or author and you don’t see it in the browsing collection, 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 items from a specific collection such as Literacy or World Language books.
  • 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.

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.

Through Niche Academy, GVPL helps you learn all about the library’s online resources and collections with these easy-to-use video tutorials. Learn more.

If you are still having trouble, 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.

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.
  • Transit time of material between GVPL branches.

Each branch location has a selection of popular materials 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

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 by phone at 250-940-4875.

To cancel, suspend, or change a pickup location on a hold:

Log into your library account to modify a hold. Tap or click My Account.

  1. Select Holds, then select Library Holds.
  2. Identify which item you want to modify.
    • On a mobile device, tap More next to the item.
    • On a desktop, use the checkbox next to the item.
  3. Select Cancel Hold, Edit Pickup Location, Edit Hold Suspension, or Cancel Hold Suspension. 
    • To Cancel a Hold, confirm the cancellation by selecting Yes or No.
    • To Edit a Pickup Location, select a branch and then tap Save.
    • To Edit a Hold Suspension, enter the start and end dates then tap Suspend.
    • To Cancel a Hold Suspension, confirm the action by selecting Yes or No.

You can apply changes to your holds anytime.

Please note, if an item has the status “available for pick up”, please call the Customer Service Line at 250-940-4875Staff can make changes for you.

Library fines over $3.00 can be paid online through your library account. We are currently not accepting payment of fines in person. Contact us during open hours at 250-940-4875 if you have any questions.

The ‘Fast Collection’ includes both Fastreads and Fastviews and is an exclusive collection that is only available in branches and is not part of the holds pick-up service.

Items in the ‘Fast Collection’ have shorter loan periods and are not renewable. Late charges for items in the ‘Fast Collection’ are calculated at $1.50/per day for Adult Fastreads and Fastviews and Kids’ Fastviews and at a rate of $0.10/per day for Kids’ Fastreads.

Learn more.

The current Esquimalt Branch, located in the Esquimalt Municipal Hall, will close at 6pm on Saturday, January 15, 2022 while we work behind the scenes to open our new location in the Esquimalt Town Square. We do not have a confirmed date for the opening of the new branch, but the date will be announced on our website and social media channels as soon as it is known. During this temporary closure, patrons are invited to visit our other locations for in-branch services, including browsing and access to public computers; for your information, our Saanich Centennial and Central Branches are the nearest locations to the Esquimalt Branch.

There will be no disruption of services at the current Esquimalt Branch before the January 15 closure. After January 15, items placed on hold for pickup at the Esquimalt Branch will be automatically transferred to our Saanich Centennial Branch (3110 Tillicum Road in the G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre). You may change your preferred pickup location for holds by logging into your account and using the “My Account” function or contacting our customer service line. For information on how to change your preferred pickup location for holds, see the above question ‘How do I cancel, suspend, or change a pickup location on a hold’.

During this temporary closure of the Esquimalt Branch, library items can still be returned to the book drop box in the south parking lot behind the Archie Browning Sports Centre, or any other GVPL location.

Questions about the library that are not answered above?

Please ask us – we’re here to help. 


Peek-a-boo! Here’s a quote to brighten your day:

“When in doubt, go to the library.” – Hermione Granger