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Library Information

Information about Library planning, collections, surveys, and key documents

Important Updates Regarding COVID-19: Library Facilities & Continuity Services

2020 August 11

Updated regularly, Monday-Friday

Due to COVID-19 precautionary measures, VIU Libraries have suspended face to face services.

We're here to help! The following library services are available:

  • Laptops for students in need - contact us to reserve one
  • Extensive electronic collections (ejournals, ebooks, databases and more) are always available 24/7/365 by searching the catalogue
  • Research help is available on weekdays. You can make a virtual research appointment by emailing
  • Askaway is an online research help chat service available during posted service hours
  • Our Liaison Librarians are available to support instructional faculty with alternate format delivery

Please contact us if you need assistance. Phone and email are monitored Monday through Friday 9am-4pm.

New students: Click here for an overview of library services.

All campus libraries:

  • Most face to face services are suspended, but staff are working behind the scenes to support VIU Alternate Format Delivery and Assessment..
  • Interlibrary loans: Available but limited to articles or book chapters that can be sourced electronically. Returns are being accepted.
  • VIU ID cards: Available. Details here.                                                                                             ​

Nanaimo library: 

  • Commons: Open 24/7 via card access, with mandatory physical distancing measures in place, and a 50 person maximum occupancy.
  • Print collection: To access print materials from the Nanaimo campus, please place a hold through our online catalogue. At this time, delivery is by mail or through curbside pickup. To have your material mailed to you, please select "VIU Library - Mail Delivery" as your pickup method when placing your hold. Staff will contact you by email with information on how to pick up your hold after they have processed it if you have selected Nanaimo campus as your pickup location. 
  • Bookdrop: In Commons and accessible 24/7 with card access. External bookdrop is outside library across from Starbucks. Available 24/7.
  • Student printing and photocopying: Printing is temporarily free. There is still a charge for photocopying
  • Equipment loans: Available with curbside pickup in effect. Details are here.

Cowichan library: 

  • Commons: Open. Seating is limited to four computer workstations. Eight additional computer workstations are available in Lab 115. Check here for current hours.                                                       ​
  • Bookdrop: Unavailable between June 27 and August 16.
  • Student printing and photocopying: Printing is temporarily free. There is still a charge for photocopying.

Powell River library: 

  • Limited hours of operation at this time.

For all official VIU updates and information on the COVID-19 situation, please click here. 

*Reminder to all VIU employees* that employee logins recently changed. The first digit changed from 0 (zero) to 3.

Update Regarding COVID-19: Library Events & Programming Cancellations

2020 March 19

In light of the evolving situation, VIU Library has made the decision to cancel the following events and programming: 


  • All remaining Language in the Library sessions for the semester. Visit or email with feedback or ask to join our email list for updates on sessions in the Fall semester.
  • All remaining tours of Special Collections this semester

  • Long Night Against Procrastination (LNAP) event on March 27th. Students are welcome to take advantage of virtual support services through Research Help and Writing Centre


  • Community Scholars information session on April 1st will be postponed. We encourage those interested to follow up directly at

About the VIU Library

Situated on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, the Vancouver Island University (VIU) Library supports learning, teaching and research needs at the University’s four campuses and beyond. The Library is known as a leader for consistently identifying, leveraging, and advancing strategic local, regional, national, and international collaborations, for both institutional and collective benefit.  

The VIU Library is committed to supporting the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion by promoting a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. We recognize the Library’s important role in promoting a culture of safety and respect on campus, and we will continue to reflect on and reevaluate our space and services to remove barriers and meet the needs of individuals in the VIU community. 

You can read the VIU Library’s 2018 Strategic Plan here.

Facts and Figures

The Nanaimo Campus library is visited more than 500,000 times by members of the VIU community each year. To accommodate the various needs of users, this space currently includes:

  • 199 computer workstations
  • 585 seats
  • 6 group study rooms
  • 3 media workstations
  • 2 video/audio editing rooms
  • 2 silent study spaces with 22 seats each

Other support services, such as the VIU Writing Centre, IT Technology Support, and Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning (CIEL), are conveniently co-located with the Nanaimo Campus library.

You can learn more about the Nanaimo Campus Library Commons and Library Space here.

The Cowichan Campus library in downtown Duncan, BC, the traditional territory of the Quw'utsun First Nation, shares space in a LEED® Gold Certified building with other teaching and learning partners. As a Learning Commons partner, the Library provides 84 seats, a silent study room, four group study rooms and a media editing room, a 10,000-volume print collection, and a full suite of circulation, equipment loan, research help, library instruction and technical help services.

The Powell River Campus library serves a small but connected community of learners. Primarily a digital library, the PR Campus library houses a small print collection of core academic and local-interest materials, four computer workstations and tables for quiet individual and group study. The library is run in partnership with Powell River Campus staff, who assist with circulation and referrals.  Full library services including course reserves, interlibrary loans, research help and library instruction are provided online and during site visits.

Special Collections

Located on the main floor of the Nanaimo Campus Library, Special Collections preserves and provides access to rare & archival material in support of the educational, scholarly, and research needs of the VIU community. Students, faculty, staff, and researchers are welcome to book appointments to access items in these collections, or view digitized items online through the library’s digital repository, VIUSpace

You can learn more about VIU Library’s Special Collections here.

History and Renovations

Since its beginnings in 1969, the Library has evolved in response to the changing needs of the broader VIU community, demonstrating a consistent willingness to reimagine library work and adapt to changing realities. This work has included the adoption of new library technologies, evolving outreach, assessment, staff roles, and major renovations.

The Nanaimo Campus Library’s last major renovation project was completed in 2005, resulting in a newly improved, 100,000-square-foot space. 

A second major renovation project is planned for the 2019/20 fiscal year, responding to consistent feedback from the VIU community over the last decade. The project will introduce several improvements to the third floor of the Nanaimo campus library to increase the amount of space in the Learning Commons, allowing for secure 24/7 access to the third and fourth floors, additional computer stations, collaborative spaces, and individual carrels. You can learn more about this project and any service disruptions here.

You can view more photographs of the Malaspina College Library construction project here.

You can view more photographs of the Nanaimo Campus Library renovation project here.


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