38 Ways to Use the Library from Home

March 18, 2020 | Wendy B.

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This post is no longer being updated. Visit our eBooks & Online Content page for digital books, movies, magazines and more! - August 17, 2022


Here's a quick guide to all of the online services you can use with your library card. And now, if you don't have a library card, you can register online for a Digital Access Card that gives you access to everything listed below! 

For Kids

Need ideas for songs, games, stories, crafts, activities - and help with schoolwork? We've got you covered.

Mother and baby playing in kitchen

Ready for Reading

We've created a collection of songs, stories, activities and games to help your little ones aged 0-5 develop their early literacy skills. 

TPL Kids

Fun polls, contests, jokes and riddles, and a Wonder Wall of kid-submitted questions and answers for school-aged children. Plus: check out the blog for recommended reading and fun activities, written for kids by our librarians!

TPL Kids' Programs on YouTube

From story times to maker activities, our kids' YouTube channel has fun, educational online programs for kids aged 0-12.

TPL Kids' Programs on Crowdcast

Catch live puppet shows, virtual book clubs, STEM programs and much more — or watch the recordings later!

TPL's Growing a Reader Blog

Ideas and resources for parents on developing a love of reading in kids, by TPL librarians.

OverDrive Kids

An amazing collection of ebooks and educational videos - including readalong books with audio, books in sign language, and more.

Cantook Station Jeunesse

French-language ebooks for kids of all ages.

Kanopy Kids

Watch fun and educational videos, including Sesame Street, Franklin and Friends, and more.

Hoopla Kids Mode

Select "Kids" at the top of the Hoopla page to browse only kid-friendly music, movies and comics. You get 8 Hoopla plays per library card per month.


Free, live online tutoring for students from kindergarten to Grade 12. 


Children's stories in over 16 languages, available over the phone. Dial 416-395-5400.

TD Summer Reading Club Activities

Canada’s biggest, bilingual summer reading program for kids of all ages, interests, and abilities. Their site has jokes, colouring sheets, trivia and more that you can enjoy all year 'round!


Online Books

If you don't have enough books at home, here's an easy way to stock up:

Overdrive screenshot

OverDrive eBooks & eAudiobooks

This is the best place to start: a massive collection of ebooks, audiobooks and videos. Includes collections for kids and teens, as well as small collections in Chinese, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese. Borrow up to 30 items at a time; place up to 30 holds.

Pro tips:

  • For most readers, the easiest way to use the OverDrive collection is with the Libby ereader app on your phone or tablet.
  • Want to read something right away? Browse the "Always Available Audiobooks" and "Best Bets - 7 Day Loan" collections. Or choose a collection to browse, and select the "Available Now" filter.

Cantook Station

French-language ebooks and eaudiobooks available from Franco-Ontarian, Québecois and international publishers. 

O'Reilly Learning (formerly Safari Tech books)

The latest ebooks and videos from major technology and business publishers. Always available - no holds required.


Self-published ebooks by local and international indie authors.


Online Book Clubs

Discover new books, have fun, connect with your fellow readers.


TPL Reading Challenge

Download our challenge and read 12 books in 12 categories. Join your fellow readers to discuss what you're reading in our Facebook Group.  

Online Book Clubs

A variety of live, online book discussion groups for adults and teens, all interests. Registration required.


Movies and Music

If you get tired of reading (as if!), it's always good to have something to watch or listen to as a backup.



Stream from a great collection of classic films, world cinema, documentaries and popular movies. You get up to eight plays per month, per library card. 


Current and popular movies and music. 8 plays per library card per month. 

Streaming Theatre Video Collection

Includes videos from the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre (featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as Frankenstein!) and more. 

BBC Literary Adaptations in Video

BBC TV series based on literary classics. Yes, it includes the Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth as Darcy (AND the Hamlet with Sir Patrick Stewart as Claudius).


Stream unlimited classical and jazz concerts, ballets, operas, music documentaries and musical master classes from around the world.

Naxos Music Library

Music spanning medieval to modern in three distinct collections: classical, jazz, and world music. (Note: Naxos can accommodate 100 users at a time. If you're turned away, try again in a little while.) Download the apps for music on the go!


Newspapers and Magazines

Stay current on the news or find magazines that support your favourite hobby. (Or your celebrity addiction - we won't judge).


OverDrive Magazines

Current and recent issues of popular magazines including The Economist, the New Yorker, Cosmopolitan, and many more.


Full-page images of current and recent newspapers and magazines from over 100 countries, in over 60 languages. Includes the Toronto Star, the Los Angeles Times, and the Guardian.


Current news and archived articles from the New York Times.

Flipster Magazines

Current issues of popular magazines including The Atlantic, Maclean’s, Chatelaine and more. (Note: some titles have limited availability; if the one you want isn't available, wait a little while and try again.)

The Wall Street Journal

Business and finance news from the Wall Street Journal.


Did you know we have digital comics too? All kinds: single-issue comics and original graphic novels.

Hoopla digital comics

OverDrive Comics

DC and Marvel superhero comics, Archie comics, Harlequin Romance comics, and many more. Borrow up to 30 at a time; place up to 30 holds. 

Hoopla Comics

Always-available comics including Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and more. As of March 20, we have increased your Hoopla credits to 8 items per library card per month. 


Online Learning

Keep your brain occupied! Feed your interests or take the time to learn a new skill.


LinkedIn Learning for Library (formerly known as Lynda.com)

Video courses on software development, business, design, photography and more. 

O'Reilly Learning (formerly Safari Tech and Business Books Online)

Video courses and ebooks on technology and business topics. (Note: O'Reilly can accommodate 45 users at a time. If you're turned away, try again in a little while.)

SAGE video

Streaming video provides lectures, case studies and interviews with experts in the fields of business, management, psychotherapy, and nursing.


Lectures with slide presentations by leading experts on business, management, and biomedical and life sciences.

Gale Courses

Instructor-led, 6-week courses on accounting, college readiness, creative writing, American Sign Language, and much more. 

Mango Languages

Interactive courses in 71 different languages, including English as a Second Language.

Brainfuse Adult Learning Centre

Live, one-on-one help with academic and career goals, including high school equivalency preparation, résumé writing, citizenship test prep and more.

The Great Courses

Audiobook collections of university-level lectures on a huge range of topics, delivered by professors.


Research Tools


Archive of articles from scholarly journals for arts, sciences, social sciences and humanities.

Digital Archive

Instant access to rare historical photos, maps, books and more.


Genealogy Research

Heritage Quest

Additional resources for genealogical research, always available from home. Includes over 500 databases representing more than 60 countries.


More genealogical research resources, including military records and much more.


Personal Finance Research

Value Line

A financial database featuring rankings of over 6,000 large to mid-cap stocks, 18,000 mutual funds, and more. Stock quotes are updated daily

FP Advisor

Financial and operational information on Canada's top 450 publicly traded companies.



Need something new to listen to while puttering around the house? These podcasts were created and curated by library staff.

Live Mic logo

Live Mic: The Best of TPL Conversations

Curated discussions and interviews with some of today's best-known and yet-to-be-known writers, thinkers and artists, recorded on stage at one of Toronto Public Library's 100 branches.

Shelve Under: Podcast

Join library staff for discussions with writers, public figures, library workers and other notable people.

Writers Off the Page

A biweekly series produced and curated by Toronto Public Library, celebrating 40 years of the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA). Episodes feature recorded on-stage interviews, readings or panel discussions with some of the 20th century's best-known writers and thinkers.


Online Programs

Want to see your favourite authors, learn something new or connect with other readers? We have online programs!

Saeed Jones at the Appel Salon

Live & Online Program directory

From author talks to book clubs to webinars to story times, this is the place to find live and recorded online programs from your library. 

The Appel Salon on YouTube

Over 500 videos of past onstage interviews with today's leading writers and thinkers.

TPL on Crowdcast

Catch a live discussion, or watch recordings of past programs. We have collections of programs for kids and youth, programs on culture and innovation, and more.


Need help? Have questions? You can contact our Answerline service by email, at answerline@tpl.ca or by phone at 416-397-5981. Did you know that Toronto Public Library has permanently ended late fines for everyone?


Edit: Online Book Clubs added, Mar. 19, 2020

Edit: Let's Learn Tech Online removed (temporarily unavailable) Mar. 23, 2020

Edit: Libby and OverDrive app links added Mar. 25, 2020

Edit: Ancestry and JSTOR added Mar. 26, 2020

Edit: Time limit added to Kanopy Kids April 1, 2020

Edit: Answerline email added April 7, 2020

Edit: Kanopy promotion expiry dates updated April 9, 2020

Edit: Ancestry promotion expiry date updated April 9, 2020

Edit: Temporary digital Overdrive card added April 15, 2020

Edit: Online Programs added May 11, 2020

Edit: Streaming Theatre Collection added May 15, 2020

Edit: Ancestry Library Edition home access extended May 19, 2020

Edit: Ancestry Library Edition home access extended, some expired services removed June 23, 2020

Edit: Safari Tech Books name changed to O'Reilly for Public Libraries, June 24, 2020

Edit: Added SAGE videos, July 7, 2020

Edit: Ancestry Library Edition home access extended; Online Programs section revised, July 14, 2020

Edit: Added TD Summer Reading Club, Naxos Jazz and Naxos World Music, July 23, 2020

Edit: Added Summer Wonder, July 27, 2020

Edit: Expiry dates for various databases (Ancestry, SAGE, Streaming Theatre Collection) adjusted, August 14, 2020

Edit: Updated to reflect reopening plans, August 17, 2020

Edit: Updated information about fines and returning books, August 24, 2020

Edit: Added online book clubs, updated summer kids' program links, added kids'/parents' blogs, added Answerline phone number, extended Ancestry home access, updated cover image, September 25, 2020

Edit: RBdigital Audiobooks removed (they've migrated to OverDrive!), October 21, 2020

Edit: Replaced Summer Wonder videos and Storytime videos entries with TPL Kids' Youtube Channel, October 26, 2020

Edit: Removed references to Instant Digital Card, November 9, 2020

Edit: Added reference to new permanent Digital Access Card, November 12, 2020

Edit: Extended Ancestry.com's at-home access to March 31st, 2021

Edit: Updated Reading Challenge, added One eRead Canada, December 23, 2020

Edit: Added links to Crowdcast channels, January 4, 2021

Edit: Added note about RBDigital Magazines' migration to OverDrive, January 12, 2021

Edit: Removed One eRead Canada and RBDigital Magazines, added Seniors Tech Help, January 28, 2021

Edit: Added BBC Literary Adaptations in Video; changed O'Reilly for Public Libraries to O'Reilly Learning, Feb. 8, 2021

Edit: Extended Ancestry Library Edition to June 30th; added links to Heritage Quest and Fold3 genealogy databases. Added links to personal finance databases. Mar. 1, 2021

Edit: Updated expiry for Seniors' Tech Help program, Mar. 15, 2021

Edit: Added LinkedIn Learning info, Apr. 22, 2021

Edit: Ancestry home access extended, May 20, 2021

Edit: Removed the beginning sentence "While Toronto is under lockdown, we want to make sure that you're stocked up with things to read, watch, listen to, learn and do.", January 7, 2022

Edit: Updated the 2020 Reading Challenge image to the 2022 image, January 7, 2022

Edit: Removed Seniors Tech Help, Ancestry Library Edition and OverDrive app. Updated section on fines forgiveness, Medici.tv and link to online book clubs. Added The Wall Street Journal info, July 21, 2022