We are not a lending library, so you can't borrow books to take home. Many items, though, are available for interlibrary loan through other libraries.
Many popular and recently published books and journals can be accessed directly from the open shelves in the public reading rooms.
However, because there are millions of items in the collection, we can’t make everything available in this way. Items that are less frequently used, rare or fragile are kept in special storage areas. This material can be accessed by making requests either through the catalogue or by asking staff.
The catalogue record will tell you how to access an item, and how to put in a request if the item is held in storage.
Items digitised from the Library’s collections (including pictures), and articles from journals, newspapers and magazines are available online. Some material can only be viewed in the Library, but most of it can also be accessed externally, especially if you have registered with the Library as a Victorian resident. You can explore which ejournal, ebook and newspaper titles are available online from our Research tools page.
On the shelves
Many of our books and journals can be found on the open shelves in the public reading rooms.
Stored at the Library
You can request these items yourself using your Library card. Items are delivered to the Information Centre within 30 minutes of request. They can also be requested up to seven days in advance of your visit. If you want to use an item in the evening, make sure you put in a request before 5.30pm.
Stored off site
Some infrequently used materials are stored at our Ballarat warehouse. These items need to be requested by Library staff on your behalf, and one working day's notice is needed. Deliveries to the Library are made only on weekdays. You need to be registered with the Library before off-site items can be ordered.
|Monday to Friday||by 5.30pm the day before|
|Saturday & Sunday||by 5.30pm Thursday|
Available for viewing by appointment
If your research requires the use of old, rare, fragile or historically significant material such as maps, pictures, original manuscripts or rare books, you must make an appointment with Library staff to view material in the Heritage Collections Reading Room. On weekdays, most heritage items are delivered three times a day.
|Monday to Friday, 10am||previous day|
|Monday to Friday, 1pm||by noon|
|Monday to Friday, 4pm||by 3pm|
|Saturday & Sunday||by 3pm Friday|
These times do not apply for material from the Pictures Collection, which generally requires 48 hours' notice for retrieval.
Some heritage materials are stored in our Ballarat warehouse and must be requested by Library staff in advance.
|Heritage material from Ballarat warehouse|
|Monday||by 3pm Friday|
|Tuesday to Friday||by 3pm the day before|
|Saturday & Sunday||by 3pm Thursday|
Special arrangements may need to be made to view some heritage materials, and staff will advise you if this is the case.