Temporary closure: Alta Vista


Due to upgrades to the front entrance, the Alta Vista branch will be closed from July 26 to August 8. There will be no returns or holds pick-up during that time. Alta Vista branch will reopen August 9 at 10 am.   

Step 3: More services inside most open branches


Browsing, public computers, newspapers and magazines are available inside most of our 31 open branches, with capacity limits for two-metre distancing. Up to 200 items can also be put on hold.

Starting July 26:

Mask-wearing remains mandatory inside, and outside in line. For more details, go to Current Branch Services.

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Frequently Asked Questions about interlibrary loan

Who can use the Interlibrary Loan Service?

Anyone who has a valid Ottawa Public Library card in good standing.

What can I request?

  • Books that the Ottawa Public Library does not own.
  • Archival microfilm (census, vital statistic records, church records etc.)
  • Microfilm (books, newspapers, periodicals)
  • Photocopies of articles from periodicals and newspaper

Is there a cost?

  • Return postage is not charged for transaction with Ontario Public Libraries.
  • Postage and loan fee cost recovery is with permission only when you fill out the ILL form.
  • $2.00 return postage fee for items borrowed from Canadian libraries that do not provide a postage paid return label.
  • $25.00 return postage fee for items borrowed from the United States.
  • Loan fees and photocopy fees from  some Canadian libraries. Range $10-$20+
  • Loan fees and photocopy fees from American libraries. Range $10- $20+ US
  • Photocopy fees from American libraries. Range $10-$20+ US
  • Return air mail postage for items borrowed from other countries than the United States.

How many items can I request?


Four (4) requests per month.

There are no renewals on Interlibrary loan material.


3 reels per person at a time for archival microfilm.

3-12 reels per person for newspaper/periodical microfilm.

Are there any restrictions?

  • Any item in the Ottawa Public Library catalogue including Reference.
  • Books published in the last 12 months.
  • CDs, MP3s.
  • DVDs.
  • E-books
  • Rare books and materials over 100 years old unless they are available on microfilm.

Some libraries may restrict the book to “In Library Use Only”. These items cannot be taken out of the branch.

Microfilm and microfiche are always “In Library Use Only”.

How long will it take?

  • Allow a minimum of 3 weeks for items available in Canada.
  • Allow a minimum of 6 weeks for items borrowed from the United States.
  • Allow a minimum of 8+ weeks for items borrowed from international libraries.

How will I know the result of my request?

You can check your Library Dashboard.  Click on Log In/My OPL.  Under My Borrowing, click on My ILL requests.

  • Any messages and cancellation notes will appear here.  Please note that the Library may decide to purchase a title for its collection rather than fulfill an ILL request.
  • If an item does not have a note, it is pending or has already been fulfilled. 

How will I know when my material arrives?

You will be notified by the method you selected on your library card account for holds.

  • The item will appear in your hold list on your library card account.
  • Pick up interlibrary loan items immediately as loan periods start once the item arrives at the library.
  • Do not remove the pink band on the cover.
  • Interlibrary loan holds cannot be suspended.
  • If your ILL hold is not picked up you will be charged $1.

Why is there a pink band on my Interlibrary Loan book?

The pink band on the cover identifies the book immediately as belonging to the Interlibrary Loans department.  It is used as a tracking mechanism.  It is imperative the pink band not be removed from the item to ensure the return to the ILL department to avoid potential overdue or lost book fees.

What are the fees for overdue or damaged/lost Interlibrary loan items?

  • $1.00 per day per volume.
  • $35.00 maximum per volume.
  • $1.00 charge for not picking up an ILL
  • Cost recovery charge if the item is lost or damaged.

What if I want to cancel my request?

You can contact InfoService to request cancellations: 613-580-2940 or InfoService@BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca.

Staff will try to cancel your request but if the item has already been shipped by the lending library then you will be charged any applicable loan fees and return postage fees.

How do I submit a request?

Please fill the Interlibrary Loan form with complete and accurate information for a successful search.

Only one title per request form.

Only one microfilm reel per form for archival microfilm.