Science Fiction
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Determining Availability of Films and TV Programs

It is a very good idea to verify the availability of a film or TV program before proposing it as a meeting topic; a film or TV program that is in the wrong format, unlicensed for library showing, very expensive, or difficult to locate will make it difficult or impossible to show the film or program during the meeting. It is possible to have a successful meeting by circulating the film or program around the club in the days or weeks before the meeting; however, there is more work involved since we tend to need multiple copies of the film or program circulating in order to get it around to everyone in time. Circulating the film before the meeting has the added advantage that the film doesn't need to be licensed for library showing and we can devote the whole meeting to the topic, not just the time remaining after the film has been shown.

The tabs below give more detail about each of these aspects of determining film or TV program availability.

Important: If you find that any of the information on this page is not accurate when you try to use it, contact the webmaster. Be sure to mention the corrections if you know them!


There are, of course, many places to obtain films or TV programs that can be shown during SFL meetings. These include:

  • the London Public Library
  • national and local retail stores that sell films and TV programs
  • online stores
  • yard sales
  • most SFL members have at least a few Science Fiction films and one of our members is a cinephile with a very large collection

To see if a given film is available at the London Public Library, follow this procedure:

  1. Go to the online catalogue of the London Public Library.
  2. Click on the Advanced Search link so that you don't have to weed out the results which aren't films.
  3. On the Advanced Search form, go to the first dropdown box, which should currently say "keyword" and change it to "title". In the field beside it, type the title of the film, e.g. "From the Earth to the Moon". In the Format dropdown box, choose DVD or VHS. In the Language dropdown box, choose "English". In the Collection dropdown box, choose "Any" to ensure that you are searching all of the library branches. Click on the Search button at the bottom of the form.
  4. If the search finds items that match your search conditions, you will see a list of those items along with information about which locations have it. Make sure that the items listed are the ones you wanted and not different films with the same or similar titles.

To see if a given film (or TV series) is available at Chapters/Indigo, follow this procedure:

  1. Go to the Chapters/Indigo Advanced Search.
  2. Make sure that the "IN" dropdown is set to "Movies & TV". Supply any details you know about the film in the form.
  3. Click on the Search button.
  4. A list of all of the different versions of the film that they have or can get will appear. Be careful to examine the list! In some cases, every version of the film will have a notation like 'Out of Stock' or 'Temporarily Unavailable to Order'; in those cases, you may be unable to get a copy of that film, even if it appears in the list many times. Also, it is sometimes noticeably cheaper to order the film from Chapters/Indigo via their online purchase option and have them ship it to your home or the nearest Chapters/Indigo than to buy it directly in the store.

To see if a given film (or TV series) is available at Amazon Canada, follow this procedure:

  1. Go to the Amazon Canada website.
  2. In the Search box, choose the appropriate category, e.g. Movies & TV.
  3. Type the title of the film in the Search box.
  4. Click on the Go button at the end of the Search box.
  5. A list of all of the different versions of the film that they have or can get will appear. Be careful to examine the list! In some cases, every version of the film will have a notation like 'Not in Stock'; in those cases, you may be unable to get a copy of that film, even if it appears in the list many times.


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