Due to the high demand of interlibrary loans and the department’s move, please allow 6 to 8 weeks for your request to be filled. You can view your ILL requests under "My Library Dashboard" when signed in to your OPL account.

Frequently Asked Questions about interlibrary loan

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

Are there any restrictions?

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”.

The following branches have microfilm/microfiche readers and printers:

  • Main 120 Metcalfe  
  • Beaverbrook 2500 Campeau Dr.  
  • Carp 3911 Carp  
  • Cumberland 1599 Tenth Line  
  • Greenboro 363 Lorry Greenberg Dr. 
  • Nepean Centrepointe 101 Centrepointe  
  • North Gower 6579 Fourth Line  (located next door at Archives on Tuesday only)
  • Stittsville 1637 Stittsville Main  

How do I submit a request?

Using the online forms at

Print copies of the forms are also available at your local branch.

Only one title per request form.

Only one microfilm reel per form for archival microfilm.

Note: interlibrary loan requests will not appear in your hold list until the item is available for pick up at your local branch.

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 many items can I request?


No limit. However loan periods can be short and there are no renewals on interlibrary loan material.

There is a 3 month waiting period before you can re-request the same item


3 reels per person at a time for archival microfilm.

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

How will I know if my request was unsuccessful?

If an email address was provided on your request, a reply will be sent to you explaining why the request could not be filled.

If no email address was provided, a note will be placed on your library card account explaining why the request was unsuccessful. Please ask Circulation staff to check your library card account for notes.

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.

Is there a cost?

  • Canadian public libraries currently do not charge loan fees.
  • $2.00 return postage fee for items borrowed from Canadian libraries that do not provide a postage paid return label.
  • Return postage is not charged for Ontario Public Libraries.
  • Loan fees for some Canadian libraries. Range $10-$25
  • Photocopy fees for articles from Canadian libraries. Range $10-$25+
  • Loan fees for American libraries. Range $10- $40 US
  • Photocopy fees from American libraries. Range $10-$40+ US
  • $25.00 return postage fee for items borrowed from the United States.
  • Return air mail postage for items borrowed from other countries than the United States.
  • Loan fee and photocopy fee preferences and limits can be selected using the request form.

What are the fees for overdue Interlibrary loan items?

  • $1.00 per day per volume.
  • $35.00 maximum per volume.

What if I want to cancel my request?

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.

What items are not available on Interlibrary Loan?

  • Any item listed in the Ottawa Public Library catalogue including items that are held in the Reference collections.
  • Books published in the current year.
  • CDs, MP3s and cassettes.
  • DVDs and videos.
  • E-books
  • Rare books and materials over 100 years old unless they are available on microfilm.

What will happen if I lose or damage an Interlibrary Loan item?

You will be responsible for all fees charged by the owning library plus an additional $10.00 processing fee.

Your interlibrary loan privileges will be suspended for one year.

Who can use the Interlibrary Loan Service?

Anyone who has a valid Ottawa Public Library card.