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 are unavailable for use at this time.

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. Go to the Stacks Pickup Desk on the 3rd floor. Requests normally take between 1 to 2 hours to retrieve depending on the volume and location of materials. The item will be held for you until the end of the day. If you wish to plan your visit, please request a research appointment.
  4. For same day delivery, your request will need to be submitted before 7:00 PM on Monday to Friday, and before 4:00 PM on Saturday.

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 take between 1 to 2 hours to fill and 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 3 hours after opening on the next business day.

How many items can I request from the stacks?

You can submit up to 5 Stacks Requests each day.

How long can I keep a stacks item?

All items are returned to the Stacks Pickup Desk at the end of the day. When items are returned, they are quarantined for 96 hours or until they are safe to go back into storage. For your safety we are not able to hold items under your name for later use.