The FRL staff put together this general guide for users. It covers some of the basic questions you may have about using the Library and its materials — and outlines the FRL's expectations for you and other users.
The Film Reference Library staff has a right to limit the number of users in the Library. We can accommodate a maximum of 14 people in the Brian Linehan Research Room at one time. The research room has WI-FI access but limited plugs for laptops. Users sign in at the Reference Desk, where they will be asked to lock their coats and bags in onsite lockers. There is a 3 hour limit on research per days since use is on a first come, first serve, basis. Users can call ahead to make sure the Library has the materials they require. Mobiles are not allowed in the Research Room – calls must be made outside of the Library. We also ask users to keep talking to a minimum so as not to disturb other users.
Lockers must be used for parcels, knapsacks, purses and bags. You may only bring in your own writing and paper materials (see Handling FRL Materials on this page for additional information). A 25-cent deposit is required for use of the lockers, which is returned when you return the key. There is a $10 replacement fee for lost locker keys.
Food and drink
All food and drink is prohibited, with no exceptions.
Laptops can be used in the Library provided there is an available electrical outlet. Please ask Library staff for assistance.
Cameras, scanners and recording devices
Cameras and hand-held scanners used for the purposes of photographing materials are not permitted in the Library. Tape and video recorders can only be used with the permission of Library staff.
There is no phone available for public use. Cell phone use is not permitted in the Library, please use the lobby area outside the Library entrance.
Code of behaviour
The Library staff reserves the right to remove patrons who are disruptive or who refuse to comply with Library policies.
Booking Media stations
There are four media stations located in the Gary & Joanne Reamey Family Media Centre at the FRL. Stations are available on a first come, first serve basis. All coats and bags must be stowed in the lockers provided in the BMO Study Centre. Users are limited to viewing 1 film per visit if there are others waiting to use the station, and up to 2 films per week unless there is space available. We advise calling in advance to make sure the material you wish to view is available. Users must be 16 years or older to use the media stations. Each station has an individual monitor with headset that must be used when viewing so as not to disturb other users. One station allows two viewers to watch simultaneously.
The viewing stations handle most audiovisual formats including DVD, Betacam, VHS, 3/4 U-matic and laserdisc formats. The Library cannot provide its own playback equipment for digital Betacam or Betacam SP formats. Special arrangements may also be able to be made for users to view Betacam SP format (not digital Betacam) material with sufficient advance notice (2 to 3 working days).
Please note that the playback equipment is for exclusive use with FRL audiovisual materials. We do not permit users to bring in their own audiovisual material for viewing.
Donations to the Library
All donation inquiries should be directed to the Director of the Film Reference Library. For more information, please see the How to Donate Materials section.
Reference services and research assistance
The Library staff are always available during public hours to help any user who comes into the Library and needs assistance. Staff are more than willing to help users onsite with research for any project and will answer quick reference questions by phone, email or fax. Users can only reasonably expect brief responses to quick reference questions; a time limit of 10 minutes of staff time per request applies, after which clients are charged $80 an hour for in-depth research. Material photocopied on behalf of the client will be charged a per page rate. This kind of research and the related fees will be agreed upon between the client and Library staff in advance.
Retrieval of materials
The Film Reference Library is a non-circulating collection; we do not loan any material. Most materials (books, film files, periodicals, biographical files, etc.) are retrieved from closed stacks by Library staff. Please note that some materials are held offsite and may require 48 hours to acquire from storage. Contact Library staff for more information on which materials require advance retrieval notice.
To use Library materials onsite: 1) Search and select the items you wish to see from the Library's databases, catalogues or periodical holdings list. 2) Fill out a Library Materials Request Form and hand it in to the reference desk. There is a limit of five items per client per request form.
Handling FRL materials
Library users are asked to treat all file, book, periodical and audiovisual material with care, as much of the collection is unique and not replaceable. Please consult with FRL staff before removing paper clips, staples, etc. from material contained in the files. We ask users to return the material to the desk in the same good condition and order that they received it in. It is prohibited for users to make folds, marks or notations in any FRL material. Sticky notes may be used but must be removed when the client is finished the research.
Photographs, lobby cards and other selected materials will be removed from the files by retrieval staff before bringing the requested items to the client. Clients wishing to view this material must make a specific request at the reference desk. Staff will try to accommodate these requests when possible; however, a separate appointment may be required. Clients must the use cotton gloves that are provided to handle any items the Library designates as special material, including all photographs. Additional guidelines and restrictions apply to the Special Collections material, please see the How to Access section for more details.
It is important that you are aware of copyright issues when photocopying FRL materials. Please see the Copyright Guidelines for more information about copyright policies adhered to by the FRL. There is a photocopier available at the cost of 15 cents per page. Users copy their own material. The Library staff will make change, but only for Canadian bills of $10 and under. If you are unable to copy the material yourself, the Library staff will copy and send you the material and you will be invoiced for staff time, a per page rate and postage.
Using the soundtrack collection
Most of the FRL collection of over 6,000 soundtracks is on vinyl. Some soundtrack material is also 45 or 78 speed. This material is not included in the in-house catalogue. Requests to listen to material on LP, 45 or 78 formats require 48 hours to be filled. The Library does not make copies of soundtracks for clients. Please consult with FRL staff for soundtrack research.
Using the in-house FRL catalogues
The information contained in the FRL in-house catalogues represents our efforts to automate our resources so that you can access the information as quickly and efficiently as possible. Please request an onsite training session with Library staff.
Using Electronic Reference resources available onsite at the FRL
Users can search the following onsite electronic resources for information about specific film titles and to locate periodical articles:
- FIAF International Film Archive Database, produced by the International Federation of Film Archives, current FRL subscription. Search for references to over 230,000 articles published in international film and television periodicals by film title, author of article, periodical title, etc. These are citations only; the database does not provide access to the full text of the article. The FRL does not have all articles listed in the FIAF index in its collection.
- Film Index International (SIFT), produced by the British Film Institute, c1993-1998. Search 128,000 film title and personality entries dating back to 1930 by title, name, includes cast members, synopsis, etc. This database also includes filmographies, biographies and selected references. It is no longer being published as a CD-ROM.
- Film/vidéo Canadiana, produced by the NFB, the National Archives of Canada and Cinémathèque québécoise, c1987, 1995. This CD-ROM includes access to information about Canadian films and videos. Over 12,500 English-language and French-language titles combined are searchable by title, name and credits. The titles on the CD-ROM generally cover the period from 1980 to 1995. Information on NFB-produced titles goes back to 1939.
Using FRL Public Terminals
There are two public terminals at the reference desk which are set up to help users access FRL materials and related film study information. The following restrictions apply to using the public terminals at all times:
- The public terminal settings are not to be changed under any circumstances.
- Library users cannot download information from the FRL catalogue at the public terminals
- The public terminals cannot be used to access personal email accounts.
- Problems with the public terminals are to be reported directly to the Library staff.
- Staff reserves the right to impose reasonable time limits on individual use of public terminals during busy periods.
Tours and orientation
The FRL also provides tours and orientation for students, scholars and the public. Please contact the Senior Librarian Manager for more detailed information or to book your tour.
Outreach or information sessions can be set up anytime during the academic year. Please contact the senior manager if your school or organization is interested in an information session provided by FRL staff.
Use of the Internet at FRL
It is the policy of the Film Reference Library to provide the user with a “resource center devoted to the study of film as art and industry” and for that reason we have instituted access to the internet. The internet is an unregulated, worldwide environment. It contains information and opinions that range in scope from reliable and authoritative to controversial or extremely offensive. Some information found on the internet may NOT be accurate, complete or current. Users must assess the validity of the information found. Users should be aware that the Internet is not a secure medium and that third parties may be able to obtain information about users’ activities. The Library assumes no responsibility for the security and privacy of on-line transactions.
FRL internet use
How long can I use the FRL public terminal?
15 minutes should be long enough to search for your materials to use in the library. If the library is not busy, a client may stay on longer.
Can I access my email account or a chat room?
No, as the internet service is only for library research.
Can I reserve a computer?
No, public terminals are on a first come, first served basis.
Can I print from the public terminals?
The printer is located at the front desk. Speak to front desk staff regarding printing.
Rules Governing Use
1. The Library reserves the right to limit the amount of time an individual user can devote to a single session.
2. Users may not:
Distribute unsolicited advertising
- Visit sites that are considered offensive or sexually explicit as per the Criminal Code regarding obscenity
- Use the Internet for any illegal activity, including violation of copyright
- Install software or run any programs on FRL computer equipment
Alter, damage or destroy the libraries computer hardware or software Use any FRL terminal for illegal, actionable, or criminal purpose or seek access into any unauthorized areas including “hacking” or harassing other users locally or remotely
- Use the public terminals for ordering any items off the internet
The Film Reference Library Public Internet Access Policy
The Film Reference Library (FRL) provides Internet Access to library users at no charge to fulfill its mission. The Internet offers access to many valuable local, national and international sources of information. However, some of the information found on the Internet may be guidelines, incomplete, dated or offensive to some individuals. Users must assess the validity of the information found. In order to minimize the risk and maximize the resource for all users, the following policy is for the purposes of study and research only.
1. FRL has two public terminals at the Reference Desk that have internet access available to our clients, in the library.
2. Client use of the FRL public terminals will be limited to 15 minutes.
3. FRL is not responsible for content that users access on the Web.
1. Users must assess the validity of the information found.
2. Users should be aware that the Internet is not a secure medium and that third parties may be able to obtain information about the users’ activities.
3. Staff cannot monitor Internet use and ask users to follow the guidelines for acceptable use. Staff will disrupt the clients access to the Internet if the guidelines are not adhered to.
Acceptable use of the Internet
1. Users of the Internet must respect the legal protection provided by copyright licensing of programs and data.
2. Users may not violate the privacy of another user of library client.
3. Users are not to install software or run any programs on FRL computer equipment that have not been installed by FRL staff. It is not permitted to alter, damage or destroy the library computer hardware or software.
4. Users should not use any FRL public terminal for illegal, actionable, or criminal purpose or seek access into any unauthorized areas including “hacking” or harassing other users locally or remotely.
5. No purchasing of any items
Library Client Rights
1. FRL clients have the right to confidentiality and privacy in the use of electronic information networks to the extent possible given certain constraints such as proximity of other clients and staff in the public access area. Complaints from clients that other users are accessing illegally prohibited material may result in a FRL staff member intervening.
2. FRL clients have the right to access and read this document and discuss questions with appropriate staff.
FRL will provide hands-on internet training for clients who request it from the Front Desk staff. The FRL Internet Policy will be reviewed yearly. The FRL reserves the right to modify these guidelines when and where appropriate.