Is it safe to borrow library materials during the COVID-19 outbreak?

We are taking all precautions to ensure that materials on our shelves and those that are returned to us are safe to be handled by members of the public.

Any returned items are not being handled for the recommended period of 72 hours.

If you are feeling unwell or if any member of your household is sick or in isolation, we ask that you refrain from borrowing library materials. This will help us all feel more comfortable and confident with the safety of our collections.

How are you ensuring the safety of customers and staff?

With the delivery of this service, the health and safety of our staff and our customers is our top priority.

Here are the measures we are taking:

  • All WPL staff will have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Pick-up locations will have proper physical distancing protocols in place
  • Returned materials are quarantined for a minimum of 72 hours
  • Intensive cleaning of branches has been done in advance including disinfecting of high touch surfaces
  • Regular cleaning and hand washing protocols are in place
What should I expect when I come to the library?

We will have designated pick-up areas at all locations for our WPL To Go Curbside Service. Social distancing markers will be in place to help ensure your safety and that of our staff.

When you arrive at your designated pickup location, please have your library card ready.

      • Main Library: Park for free in the Dupont Street lot. Follow the signs, walking past the library entrance and along the sidewalk to the side of the building which faces Dupont Street. Our curbside service will be operating out of our auditorium and serving customers on our patio.
      • John M. Harper Branch: Enter the turn circle and staff will be there to assist you.
      • McCormick Branch: Enter the building through the sliding glass doors at the regular entrance and follow the signs to the Community Room for our WPL To Go service.

What are the hours for the WPL To Go service?

Beginning Monday, July 6th, WPL To Go hours are:

Main Library

Monday to Saturday: 10:30am to 5:30pm
Sunday: CLOSED

John M. Harper Branch

Monday: 10:30am to 5:30pm
Tuesday: CLOSED
Wednesday to Saturday: 10:30am to 5:30pm
Sunday: CLOSED

*NEW* McCormick Branch (begins Tuesday, July 7th)
Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday: 10:30am to 5:30pm
Wednesday to Friday: CLOSED
Saturday: 10:30am to 5:30pm
Sunday: CLOSED

Can I return items to the library?

Returns will be accepted at ALL WPL locations during WPL To Go Curbside Service hours.

For materials that are returned, we are taking precautions to ensure that our collections are safe to be handled by members of the public and our staff by quarantining returned items for 72 hours.

Note: As a result of our current procedure of placing returned items under 72-hour quarantine, it could take 5 to 7 days for items to be removed from your library account. No fines will be incurred during this period.

We appreciate your understanding and patience during this time.

I heard about WPL To Go but don't have a library card. Can I get a membership?
Yes! Membership at Waterloo Public Library is FREE to persons residing or owning property within the boundaries of the City of Waterloo and to persons residing in communities with whom Waterloo Public Library has reciprocal borrowing agreements.

Apply for a library card online now.
Can I place a WPL To Go order if I have overdue fines?
We are excited to announce that for the rest of 2020 there will be NO overdue fines!

Any existing fines will be put on hold until 2021. 

If you currently owe more than $10 in fines & fees and your access has been limited, effective immediately you can once again borrow, renew or place holds on your library account.

If you have questions about overdue items on your library account, give us a call at 519-886-1310 or email us at

When is the library going to be open again?

WPL is following guidelines from the provincial government of Ontario as well as the City of Waterloo and Region of Waterloo Public Health.

We are working extensively on a phased in approach to reintroducing library services. Please check our Library News page for updates.

How long will you keep my hold(s) for me?
We'll keep your hold(s) for 7 days, to ensure you have lots of time to come and pick them up.
Are the loan periods still for the same lengths of time?
All items borrowed during our WPL To Go curbside service will have a special 6-week loan period EXCEPT for hotspots which continue to have a 2-week loan period.
What if I still have items from before the library closed? When are they due?
Any items that were due after March 14, 2020 are now due by July 20, 2020.

Don't worry, there were no overdue fines accumulated while we were closed.

Returns are being accepted at ALL WPL locations during WPL To Go Curbside Service hours.
Can I drop off book donations?
At this time, we are not accepting book donations or any other items. Please only return borrowed WPL items. With limited space to quarantine circulating materials we must recycle donated items.
What if I am arriving for curbside pick-up without a vehicle?

Curbside pick-up is available for everyone including walkers, bicyclists and any other non-vehicle arrivals.

Please follow the posted instructions when you arrive on site at your pick-up location.

Why is the John M. Harper Branch closed on Tuesdays? Why aren’t you offering computer/WiFi service at this location?
In order to provide curbside service at the McCormick Branch on Tuesdays, we needed to re-deploy staff from our John M. Harper Branch to work at the McCormick Branch.

At the John M. Harper Branch, we are working in conjunction with our building partner, the YMCA, in planning for the safe reopening of our joint facility to the public. At this time we are unable to bring library customers into the building to use the computers or WiFi.

As we continue with our phased in re-opening, we will continue to review the possibilities for more service to the public. Should you need to access WiFi or use a computer, please book a visit at the Main Library or McCormick Branch.
Why is the McCormick Branch only open on Tuesdays and Saturdays?
We are happy to be able to provide WPL To Go pick-up service, along with computer/WiFi service, on the two busiest days at the McCormick Branch – Tuesdays and Saturdays. We are able to do so because we can now use the Community Room for both services and are able to move staff from the John M. Harper Branch to the McCormick Branch to assist with the service on those two days.

As we continue with our phased in re-opening, we will continue to review the possibilities for more service to the public.