Stack Requests

What is a Stack Request?

The Toronto Reference Library owns more than 4.5 million items, and there is not enough room for them all on the open shelves. Some of the material is stored behind the public walls in a storage area we call "Stacks". When you see "Stack Request" on the library website, it means that the item is in storage and you will have to place a request for staff to bring it out to you.

What kind of items are kept in the stacks?

Books stored in the stacks are very valuable and/or rare and sometimes fragile. Some items are very old and not accessed as often.

Can I take an item from the stacks home?

No. Stacks items must be used in the library. Some items that are especially valuable or fragile must be used under supervision in the Special Collections reading room.

How do I borrow an item from the stacks?

You can request an item from the stacks in person with a staff member at the reference desk, or through our website.

  1. Select the Stack Request button on the website.
  2. Complete the request form.
  3. Wait 15-30 minutes, then go to the pickup shelf on the floor you selected. The item will be held for you until the end of the day.
  4. If you don't see the requested item on the shelf, check the bulletin board for a message from staff.

You will need a valid Toronto Public Library Card. If you do not qualify for a TPL card, you may obtain an In-Library Access card at the Toronto Reference Library with acceptable identification.

Please note that requests are filled immediately so must be picked up the same day. You cannot place a request a few days or weeks ahead of time.

If you place a request through the website when the library is closed, the item will be available for pickup 20-30 minutes after opening on the next business day.

How long can I keep a stacks item?

All items go back into storage at the end of the day but if you are not finished with yours, take it to the information desk and staff will hold it under your name for 24 hours.