New Tablet? Welcome to the Library!
Did you get a new tablet, phone, laptop or ereader recently? Are you looking for things to do with it?
You're in luck! Toronto Public Library has a fantastic selection of digital books (ebooks), audiobooks, magazines, movies, music and television shows that can be downloaded to smartphones and tablets or streamed on desktop computers and laptops. Because they're accessible online, you can get them even when branches are closed.
And you don't have to worry about returning them! For most items, the downloaded computer file will either disappear or just stop working after the borrowing period has ended. The borrowed book, magazine, music or video doesn't need to be returned, and there are never any fines.
If you already have a Toronto Public Library card, you're all set. You just need the number from the back of your card and your PIN (usually the last four digits of your phone number) to start borrowing digital books, movies, music and magazines.
But if you don't have a card yet, and can't make it in to a library branch to get a full-access card, that's okay. As long as you live in Toronto, you can get a Digital Access Card. Digital Access cards are just what they sound like — they give you access to all of the digital content the library has to offer, including digital books, audiobooks, movies, magazines and research databases.
New! Seniors' Tech Help
From January 4th until March 12th, weekdays from 9:30-4:30, seniors can call 416-393-6225 for help with phones, laptops, tablets and much more! For more info, visit tpl.ca/seniors.
OverDrive: Digital Books (eBooks), Audiobooks and Magazines
OverDrive eBooks and Audiobooks is an outstanding collection of fiction and nonfiction books, audiobooks, magazines and comics, for children, teens and adults. With a valid library card, you can borrow ebooks and audiobooks for up to 21 days, up to 30 items at one time. You can also place "holds" — request items that aren't available at the moment — on up to 30 items at a time. If you need to keep them for longer than 21 days, OverDrive eBooks and audiobooks can be renewed within three days of the end of the borrowing period. If other people have placed holds on your title, then you won't be able to renew, but you can place another hold.
Apple, Android and Windows smartphones and tablets are all compatible with OverDrive. You can get the Libby eReader app or the OverDrive app through the app store for your device (the App Store, Google Play, or the Windows Store).
Have an eReader? Many Kobo eReaders are also compatible with OverDrive. Depending on the model, you may have to plug them into a desktop or laptop computer to download books. But some newer Kobo models will allow you to download OverDrive eBooks directly to your device through wifi. Amazon Kindles are generally not compatible with Overdrive in Canada, except for the Kindle Fire Android tablet. If you want more accessible reading settings, such as customizing font sizes or styles, or if you use a screen reader, OverDrive is the recommended app to use.
To get started with OverDrive, visit our Getting Started with OverDrive webpage. Make sure to pick the "Getting Started Guide" written for your type of device.
Here are a few of the popular eBooks and Audiobooks available through OverDrive:
Hoopla: Movies, Music, Television and Comics
Hoopla has a great collection of movies, television shows, music, graphic books and comics. You can stream them through a web browser (Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome etc.) on a computer. Or you can enjoy them offline by downloading them to the Hoopla app on an Apple or Android smartphone or tablet.
With a valid library card, you can check out eight Hoopla items per calendar month. You can borrow television shows and movies for 72 hours (three days), music for seven days and graphic books and comics for 21 days. The full collection is always available to borrow.
To get started with Hoopla, visit our Getting Started with Hoopla page.
Here are some of the popular items available through Hoopla:
And if you're specifically looking for media with captions, we have a guide for that too.
PressReader: Magazines and Newspapers
PressReader has more than 7,000 international newspapers and magazines available to borrow, in over 60 languages. You can read them online in a browser, or download the app to save publications for offline reading.
To get started with PressReader, visit our Getting Started with PressReader page.
Here are a few of the popular magazines and newspapers available through PressReader (you'll need to log in to PressReader and then search or browse to find them):
More Things to Try
OverDrive, Hoopla and PressReader are three of our most popular digital services. Once you've explored them, make sure to have a look at some of the others:
- Kanopy: thousands of movies and documentaries, including The Great Courses and PBS documentaries
- Flipster: magazines such as Chatelaine, Macleans, People, Toronto Life and Entertainment Weekly
- Medici.tv: classical music, opera and ballet performance videos and musical master classes
- Streaming Theatre Collection: audio and video recordings of great theatrical performances
- NYTimes.com: full text online articles from the New York Times
- Lynda.com: video classes on a huge range of professional and technical skills
- So much more: see our eBooks & Online Content webpage
Do you still have questions or need help using these services? You can contact our Answerline service.
- 38 Ways to Use the Library from Home
- Good News! Your Library Card Now Gives You Access to NYTimes.com
- Learn Online: Recently Added Courses on Lynda.com
- Free Online Creative Writing Courses
- What Toronto Read in 2020
Note: This is an update of a 2017 post.
Edit: Added Seniors' Tech Help link, Jan. 5, 2021