Retrievals and Consultation

Most of our collection must be consulted onsite at 395 Wellington Street in downtown Ottawa. Documents must remain in the consultation rooms.

Ordering materials before your visit will make your trip more efficient, since our documents are stored in closed-stack areas open only to Library and Archives Canada (LAC) staff.

For information about LAC’s new library catalogue, please see questions and answers for LAC clients.

Lockers are available for short-term storage of documents. You can book a locker onsite from staff at a circulation desk on the third floor or in the “Additional Information” field when you order materials in advance.

Our Research Tools will help you identify the material you wish to consult.

If you have any trouble finding what you need, please Ask Us a Question.

Published Material

Clients can request published material using the Aurora catalogue, which is available online. Retrievals usually take between two to three working hours. The waiting period may be longer if the requested materials are stored in another building.

Published material is delivered to the Pick-Up Shelves in the Textual Documents Consultation Room on the 3rd floor.

Textual Archival Records

Most of LAC’s archival documents are not stored at 395 Wellington Street.

Onsite clients can request textual archival records using the paper Request for Archival Material form. You can find copies of this form in the Textual Documents Consultation Room on the 3rd floor.

Retrieval of textual archival records usually takes between 24 and 48 hours. Requests are processed only during working hours

Documents are delivered to the Textual Documents Consultation Room on the 3rd floor, or to your locker by request

Certain documents are restricted. Please contact reference services for more details.


Self-service microform in the Microform Consultation Room (3rd floor) includes:

  • Archival material on microfilm
  • Select newspapers on microfilm

Self-service microform in the Reference Services Room (2nd floor) includes:

  • Telephone books
  • Reference books and sources

Special Collections

For onsite clients, the retrieval process of these collections depends on the documents.

  • Published material (such as fragile documents): Use the Aurora catalogue, available online
  • Archival material (such as originals of photographs, art, philatelic documents, maps and architectural documents): Use the paper Request for Archival Material form, found in the Textual Documents Consultation Room on the 3rd floor

Consultations will take place in the Special Collections Consultation Room during service hours only.

To consult some originals (such as art or fragile textual archival material), clients may need to book an appointment at the Preservation Centre in Gatineau. If necessary, you will be contacted to set up a time and date after you submit your retrieval request.

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