English as a Second Language (ESL) Collection at Toronto Public Library

December 4, 2019 | Liana

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Learning a new language can be challenging, but it can be easy with Toronto Public Library’s help. 

Did you know that Toronto Public Library has a vast English as a Second Language (ESL) collection?

Every Toronto Public Library branch has some ESL books, but you will find the biggest collections at Research & Reference Libraries and District Branches

Toronto Reference Library
Toronto Reference Library

Toronto Reference Library has over 5,000 ESL items as of 2019. This collection has many popular topics to choose from. New ESL items arrive daily. You will be pleasantly surprised at the width and depth of vocabulary used in today’s society.

Are you a Toronto District School Board ESL student or an international student from ILAC (International Language Academy Canada) or CES (Centre for English Studies, Toronto)? Are you an ESL teacher or an educator trying to pass your specific language proficiency exam? You are not alone! Toronto Public Library is here to help. With acronyms such...

  • CAEL (Canadian Academic English Language Assessment)
  • CAE (Certificate in Advanced English)
  • CELPIP (Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program)
  • FCE (First Certificate in English)
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

...and more, every month there is a different flavor added to the ESL curriculum.

For those very new to ESL there are a variety of picture dictionaries. The bilingual Spanish-English and Arabic-English are currently the most popular.

You can also check out English Conversation Circles at your local library branch. They are a great opportunity to practice English and improve your speaking and communication skills in a friendly environment.

ESL Class at the 519 Church Street by Andrew Stawicki  1997
ESL Class at the 519 Church Street by Andrew Stawicki, 1997. Toronto Star Photograph Archive.

Why not try Mango Languages? This online learning tool helps you learn a new language with lessons on vocabulary and grammar accompanied by exercises. You can even create an account to track your progress. It's available for free with a valid Toronto Public Library card.

Mango Lnguages

As students eagerly await the release of IELTS 15, current students must face the complexities of testing and passing the IELTS exam using publications from at least 20 different publishers of IELTS materials for both general and academic admission.

To succeed in IELTS, get into university or college or apply to take the citizenship test it's important to learn more about Canadian history, geography and culture.

Beginning Look at Canada

Learn more about Canadian raw materials and specialty foods with a Beginning Look at Canada. You could also sign out an advanced listening course and become a better listener and effective communicator by using some of the CD materials in the library or at home.

Have a listen or look at some of the easy readers published by Penguin Canada, graded readers which lists the reading level from 200- 2500 words per text and quick reads from Overdrive.

ESL Writer’s Handbook by Maeve Eberhardt

Check out ESL Writer’s Handbook by Maeve Eberhardt for great tips on grammar and style, punctuation, special types of writing, e-mail guidelines, resumes, cover letters and personal statements. It also contains common correction symbols for editing.

Learn how to create great sentences, great paragraphs and even greater essays. Look up word you thought you knew in the handy glossary.

Marvel at the patterns of essay organization and investigate in-depth how to write a research paper. Learn a myriad of useful expressions and colloquialisms for both every day and official use.

Guide to Practical English Usage by Michael Swan

Practical English Usage by Michael Swan is a great guide. You’ll be amazed at the variety of expressions. Keep your dangling participles up to date. Reduce wordiness because it can represent a lack of skill. Do not use more words than necessary. Avoid unnecessary repetition.

Learn 4 Life Winter 2020

Take away a brochure from the latest TDSB offerings available at all Toronto Public Library Branches.

There are many ways to improve your English language skills. Good luck on your tests!


Posted on behalf of Ted, librarian at Toronto Reference Library.