Interlibrary Loans

Interlibrary Loans during COVID

Waiting for an interlibrary loan? All items are being quarantined for a period of  seven days when they arrive from other libraries. As well, some libraries are not participating in interlibrary loan at this time, so it may take longer than usual to find a copy of the item for you. Please expect a minimum wait time of 4–7 weeks for any items you have requested.

Please note: Interlibrary loan holds must be picked up within seven days of you being contacted that your interlibrary loan is here for you.

What is an interlibrary loan (ILLO)?

How many items can I borrow?

  • You can place requests for 3 items per month, including up to 1 DVD or Blu-ray.
  • If you have more items you would like to request, please keep a list and place your requests in the following month(s). We are unable to maintain request lists for patrons.
 How long can I keep an item?
  • Interlibrary loan holds must be picked up within seven days of you being contacted that your interlibrary loan is here for you.
  • Interlibrary loans can only be borrowed for three weeks.
  • Renewals are not automatic, nor guaranteed.
  • Renewals may be requested but we ask that you give us a week's notice so that the lending library has time to respond.

What types of items can I borrow?

  • Books (in all print formats)
  • DVDs and Blu-rays (Please be aware that many libraries are no longer lending DVDs or Blu-rays, and it may take longer or it may not be possible to find a movie or TV show that you wish to see.)
  • Books on CD
  • Music CDs
  • Foreign language material
  • Microfilm from the Archives of Ontario

What types of items can’t I borrow?

  • Items listed in our catalogue. Please see How the Catalogue Works.
  • Items newer than 1 year from the date of publication (books) or release to DVD/Blu-ray (movies, documentaries, and TV shows)
  • Online material such as eBooks, eAudiobooks, streamed films, etc. Please visit the eBooks and eResources page for more information on borrowing these items.
  • Items that are in high demand, e.g. books that have just won awards, are part of provincial or national book clubs, or have just been released as movies, etc.
  • Video games
  • Items from institutional and non-public libraries that charge fees for borrowing

How do I request an ILLO?

  • Go to our catalogue page, sign in with your library card number and PIN. Click Submit a Request, and choose Interlibrary Loan. Fill in the pickup branch where you wish to pick up your interlibrary loan, the title, author, and if you wish the item to be in a particular format i.e. large print, DVD, etc., and if you wish to leave a message about the item.
  • You must know the exact title and author, or performer for DVDs/Blu-rays or music CDs (you can check or if you are not sure).
  • You can ask us to find books on a particular subject without knowing any titles but we may ask you for more detailed information.
  • We cannot do general searches, e.g. mysteries in French.

How long will it take for an item to arrive?

  • We anticipate longer wait times for interlibrary loan items. Please expect 3–7 weeks between your request and the arrival of the item.
  • It can take longer if, for instance, the item is checked out at the lending library and we have to wait for it.
  • From time to time, ILLO services at our library and other libraries are suspended due to vacations, etc.

How will I know when it is available?

  • Once your item is received, you will be notified by phone or email depending on your normal preference.
  • The item will be available for 5 days on the holds shelf in the library location you chose for pick-up.

How do I return it?

  • You may return the item to any of our locations.
  • Do not remove any special cards or identifying strips of paper or stickers.
  • Do not return it to another library system.

Where else can I find an item if I can’t get it through interlibrary loan?

  • Search our catalogue for eBooks and eAudiobooks.
  • Search hoopla or Kanopy for movies.
  • Register with CELA if you have a print disability and would like to listen to an audiobook. CELA has a wide selection of materials, including current and popular titles. The titles are available as downloadable files or on CDs compatible with any player with MP3 capabilities.
  • Search other nearby library systems. Georgina residents are eligible for library cards at all libraries in York Region, and Brock Township. You would need to obtain a card at each library system from which you wish to borrow materials.

How interlibrary loan has changed

In late May 2019, Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS) announced a resumption of interlibrary loan (ILLO) services in Ontario following extensive discussion with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. The funding reductions to Ontario’s library services agencies have not changed, and therefore, SOLS is shifting to a different model that relies upon the Canada Post library materials postage rate, with a partial provincial subsidy that is roughly equivalent to the approach used by OLS-North to serve northern libraries. In addition to this subsidy, SOLS and OLS-North will also maintain the software service.

This change puts Ontario out of step with other Canadian provinces, most of which fully subsidize ILLO  in recognition of the important role it plays in ensuring equity of access and cost-effectiveness, particularly for public libraries in small, rural, remote, and Indigenous communities. 

Due to Provincial funding cuts and budgetary restrictions, we can only operate interlibrary loans in a reduced capacity. Below are some of the main challenges we face under the new model:

  • We used to send most items across Southern Ontario via courier provided by SOLS (Southern Ontario Library Service). The courier service is no longer running, and we are now using Canada Post to ship items. The library must now pay the cost of packaging and postage, with partial postage reimbursement from SOLS.
  • We have to manage the ILLO workload with the same allocation of staff time, so volume has been reduced as we must now weigh, measure, and package each loan separately; use two different, unconnected systems; and deliver the packages to the local post office.
  • As ILLO is required by legislation to be at no charge to patrons, we must offset these costs by using money allocated elsewhere in our budget.

We are seeking ways to provide the best service possible within our means. Once we have had a chance to see how the service is running, we will reassess what is working and what could be improved.

Currently, we are aiming to provide 30% our previous service levels. To meet these restrictions, we unfortunately have to limit the number of items we bring in for patrons and lend to other libraries. For now, we are limiting ILLOs to 3 requests per patron per month, including up to 1 DVD/Blu-ray. We will be giving priority to items that Georgina Public Library does not have in electronic format.