Skip to main content

Genealogy and Family History

Explore your roots at VPL and beyond: resources and services for genealogists


The Vancouver Public Library has a range of equipment that you can use while researching your family history at the Library.

Library Equipment


Three options are available for those needing to use computers when doing genealogical research at the Central Library:

Library Research Workstations
These stations are identified by blue signs and provide access to a limited number of databases and websites. The advantage of these stations is that you do not have to login and there is no time limit. Resources that can be accessed through Library Research Workstations include Ancestry Library Edition and many key genealogy websites – FamilySearchGenealogy and Family History at Library and Archives Canada and others.

Internet Workstations
These stations provide open access to the Internet as well as word processing, spreadsheet and other software. There is a limit of 4 hours per day at the Central Library. To use these stations, either a Vancouver Public Library card or an Internet Access card is required. Cardholders can pre-book Internet workstations. 

Free wireless access is available throughout the Central Library. To use wireless, either a Vancouver Public Library card or an Internet Access card is required. Laptop plug outlets are provided at many study tables and in carrels.

The Vancouver Public Library collection includes a number of genealogy resources that have been published on CD-ROM. Resources on these CD-ROMs include:

  • cemetery transcriptions
  • census transcripts
  • church records
  • ships lists

There is a dedicated CD-ROM reference station in the genealogy area on Level 6 for viewing these CD-ROMs. Disks are available on Level 6.

View the collection via our online catalogue.


Copying from Books and Other Published Material
Photocopiers are available throughout the Central Library and at branch locations. All photocopiers are able to produce copies in letter (8.5x11”), legal (8.5x14”) and ledger (11x17") paper sizes. Copies can be paid for using coins or copy cards.

Printing from a Library Workstation
Black-and-white & colour network printers are available on every floor at the Central Library. A networked printer allows you to print from the Library’s computers. Printing instructions are posted at every workstation. Print jobs not picked up within two hours of sending will be lost.

Printing from Your Laptop
At this time, it is not possible to send print jobs from your laptop to a library network printer.

Microreader / printers are readily available without pre-booking and can be used to view and print from microfilm or microfiche.

Locations and Magnifications

Level 5

10-24X magnification – 6 machines (8.5x11” paper)
9-16X magnification – 1 machine (11x17” paper)
See also the Scanners tab

Level 6

10-24X magnification – 4 machines (8.5x11” paper)

Level 7 - Special Collections

10-24X magnification – 2 machines (8.5x11” paper)
13-27X magnification – 1 machine (11x17” paper)
20-48X magnification – 1 machine (8.5x11” paper)

* Note - Special Collections closes at 6:00 p.m. Monday-Thurday, earlier than other departments.

Printing from microreader/printers costs 40 cents per page and may be done using cash (coins) or copy cards.

Some machines are only set up to provide prints using copy cards. Others accept either copy cards or coins. If you do not plan to purchase a copy card, check before you load your microfilm or microfiche to ensure that the machine you are using accepts coins.

Purchasing Copy Cards
Copy cards are available in $5, $10 and $20 denominations and may be purchased on Levels 2 and 7 (cash, debit or credit card). The cards do not have an expiry date. No refunds are given for unused amounts left on the cards. 

Black-and-white & colour network printers are available on every floor at the Central Library. A networked printer allows you to scan. Scanning instructions are posted at every workstation.

A 10-24X magnification microform scanner is available on Level 5 in the microfilm area. This reader is connected to a computer and allows users to scan jpg or PDF images from microfilm and microfiche and save the digital image to a USB drive, email a copy, or burn a copy to a DVD. Images can also be printed to the Library's network printer. Users can pre-book this machine, but it is not necessary to do so in order to use it.