Accessing the Collections

Patron registration

The resources of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library may be used by all scholars and researchers, whether or not they are members of the University of Toronto community. A University of Toronto Library card is not necessary to access the collections, but onsite registration is required. A Fisher reader's card must be completed and identification with name and current address (e.g. driver's licence, hospital card, etc.) will be requested.

Stack retrieval

The Library, apart from the reference collection which is available on open shelves in the Reading Room and reference area, is comprised of non-circulating, closed-stack collections, which means that the material needed will always be available for use. Most of the material in the Fisher Library is housed onsite. The only exception is some modern Canadian literature, which can be requested and retrieved within 48 hours for use in the Fisher reading room. Readers may submit retrieval requests in person at the Library, or in advance by using our online Reading Room Request Form. You can also request directly from the catalogue - click here for detailed instructions. The material is then retrieved from the stacks by Fisher staff and is made available for consultation in the supervised Reading Room. Items may be kept on hold if they are going to be consulted over an extended period of time.

Consulting the Manuscript Holdings

Researchers wishing to consult manuscript material must complete a Manuscript Use Form for each manuscript collection or individual manuscript they wish to consult, briefly outlining the purpose of their research or reason for their request. Please note that some collections have access restrictions in accordance with the wishes of donors or creators. Fragile and brittle material may not be available in the original but may be consulted on microfilm or microfiche.

All manuscript material must be read in the Reading Room under the supervision of a Library staff member and only one box at a time may be consulted by a researcher at their desk. Limited photocopying of manuscript material may be performed by Library staff subject to copyright and preservation considerations, and available staff time.