Finding Books, Movies and More in 40 Languages: Diversity and Multilingual Collections at Your Library

October 31, 2016 | Iana

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Looking for a book in Italian? Hindi DVDs? Picture books in Russian? Korean magazines? Chinese e-books, e-audio books and e-videos? Look no further! Toronto Public Library's multilingual collections offer books, magazines, DVDs, newspapers and digital content in over 40 different languages.

Browse Online by Language

Check out the library's revised Materials in Your Language page. Browse by language or search and place holds for materials directly from the New to Canada portal by selecting a multilingual language collection. The page is mobile-friendly, making it easy to log on to digital content as well as place online holds on books, movies, music in over 40 different languages, and have the materials be sent to a preferred library branch for pickup.

Languages List


Visit a Library Branch

In the same website section New to Canada -- Find Material in Your Language -- you can select language collection locations to find out which library branches have large, medium or small collections of books and movies in different languages.

Find Your Way snapshot


New To Canada Blog

Many of the library's language collections have already been featured in previous blog posts and we are planning to feature more of them on the New to Canada blog:


Children's Multilingual Dial-A-Story

Dial-a-story-215x300Toronto Public Library offers free multilingual storytelling by phone that is available 24/7 to anyone. Call the library Dial-a-Story at 416-395-5400 and listen to stories in 16 languages: English, French, Cantonese, Gujarati, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Tagalog and Urdu. There are stories for younger children (seven and under) and for older children (up to 12) and the stories are changed regularly -- more than 600 stories have been recorded.

Listening to stories is a great skill for children, which enhances their literacy and comprehension. Dial-a-story features wonderful stories recorded by professional storytellers and library staff who speak the language. Adults can listen to those stories too and experience the sound of a new language.

New immigrants have told us they appreciate the English stories for practicing English, as well as the stories in their own language, as they help their children connect with their heritage culture.


Mango Languages -- Free Online Learning

If on the other side, you are looking to improve your languages skills, try the Mango Languages online database offered by Toronto Public Library.

 Click here to go to Mango database.Mango Languages is a fast, easy and effective way to learn to speak a new language and it's fun to use! Mango offers more than 60 languages for English speakers and as well as 18 English as a Second Language learning courses for non-English speakers. Includes Mango Basic and Mango Complete. Also available for mobile devices including Android and iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch -- just download the app for free from your app store! All you need is a valid Toronto Public Library card, free if you live, work, go to school or own property in the City of Toronto.


International Multilingual Newspapers

The Toronto Star Newspaper Centre (pictured below) at Toronto Reference Library offers current issues of many international newspapers from around the globe, published in English, French and many other languages. Anyone is welcome to visit the Newspaper Room and enjoy some reading time in the spacious well-lit space.



Multicultural Toronto Speaks Many Languages

Toronto is one of the most multicultural and diverse cities in the world and Toronto Public Library reflects that. Our library staff speak many languages, and also have access to a Language Line Service and can phone an interpreter in the customer's language if needed.  

Our city is home to virtually all of the world's culture groups and is the city where more than 180 languages and dialects are spoken. According to the 2011 Census, roughly 1.8 million persons reported speaking an immigrant language most often at home in Toronto. Forty-five percent of Toronto residents had a mother tongue other than English or French. Mother tongue is defined as the first language learned at home in childhood and still understood at the time of the census. For more fascinating facts about the mosaic of languages that shape up Toronto, I encourage you to read this excellent city report (in pdf) by the Social Policy Analysis and Research division: 2100 Census Language Backgrounder, City of Toronto, 2012.

Myseum of Toronto Presents Cosmopolis: The World in One City

From November 3, 2016 to January 8, 2017, Toronto Public Library and Myseum of Toronto present Cosmopolis Toronto, a city-wide photography exhibit exploring the journeys of newcomers to Toronto. Canadian documentary photographer Colin Boyd Shafer has spent a year photographing one person from every country in the world who now lives in Toronto. 

Cosmopolis gridPhoto credit: Cosmopolis Toronto

The photos will be on display in 18 branches throughout the city, grouped in themes around the power of family, home, nature, tradition, food, art, faith and more.

For more information about Cosmopolis Toronto events at Toronto Public Library, visit and for more information about Cosmopolis Toronto, visit


100 Reasons to Check out the Library

In spring 2015, Toronto Public Library opened its 100th branch, Scarborough Civic Centre. To celebrate, the library ran a city-wide  "100 Reasons to Check Out TPL" campaign to show Torontonians that their library is much more than a place to borrow books. Among the 100 reasons were these two:

Reason # 2 to check out TPL is Dial-A-Story in 16 different languages! Magnifique!

Reason # 63 to check out TPL is Materials in Over 40 Languages! Si! Oui! Tak!


Discover all 100 reasons to love TPL!