Newcomer Settlement Services and English Language Learning Resources at Toronto Public Library

February 16, 2023 | Amena

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If you are new to Toronto and unsure of where to go for settlement help, you may want to stop into your local branch of the Toronto Public Library (TPL). Library staff can help register you for a free library card and answer your questions. They can also refer you to experienced settlement workers at select library branches or to local community agencies.

You may not know this but TPL works with 7 local settlement agencies and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to offer dedicated newcomer help at 14 library branches. This is called Library Settlement Partnerships (LSP) and agency staff who work at library branches are known as LSP Workers.

Funded by: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada logo in english and french

Knowledgeable LSP Workers offer both one-on-one assistance and group programs to assist newcomers on their settlement journey. They can help you find more information about searching for a job, getting a driver’s license, learning English and much more. At this time, they offer both in-person and remote services but you can always confirm which services are available by contacting them directly.

LSP Workers continue to support newcomers by offering online programs and are resuming some in-person programs. Online LSP programs take place via a third-party platform and settlement workers can provide guidance on using these platforms. In-person programs take place at library branches. Here are some upcoming programs:

LSP logo

Online Programs

1) English Conversation Circle: Steps to English Fluency and Discover Canada

2) Personal Taxation in Canada

  • Hosted by LSP partner CICS
  • Thursday, February 23, 2023 from 6 - 7:30 pm
  • For full details or to register, contact Zarmeena at 416-707-8259

In-Person Programs

1) Art Through You: Creative Programs for Newcomer Youth

  • Hosted by LSP partner CultureLink
  • Wednesdays from February 8 to March 29, 2023 from 6 - 8 pm
  • For full details or to register, contact Iryna at 647-273-2097

2) Adapting to Life in Canada for Ukrainian Newcomers

  • Hosted by LSP partner CultureLink
  • Tuesday, February 21, 2023 from 5:30 - 8 pm
  • For full details or to register, contact Iryna at 647-273-2097

Toronto Public Library Resources

If you’re looking for language learning support, we have many resources to help. These resources are all free with your library card!


Reading is a great way to improve our language skills and vocabulary. And research shows that reading fiction and reading for enjoyment is associated with better language skills. So pick something to read that excites and interests you!

Dual Language Books

Dual language books feature two languages throughout the book. TPL has several books that combine English text with another language. In many books, the story is written in English on one side of the open book and the other side will have the same story written in a second language such as Arabic or German.

Readers of all ages can enjoy these books. Some language learners may find it easier to remember new words or phrases if they can connect them to a story they already know.

Náhuatl Stories

Náhuatl Stories by Pablo González Casanova in Spanish and English

Boy Dumplings

Boy Dumplings by Ying Chang Compestine in Chinese and English

Rapid Reads

Rapid Reads is a series of short novels for adult readers who are learning English or those who want a great story but don’t have the time to read a lengthy novel. This series also features short novels by well-known authors such as Richard Wagamese, Gail Bowen, and Gail Anderson-Dargatz.

The Rapid Reads series is available in print and also as e-books and e-audiobooks through OverDrive.

The Next Sure Thing

The Next Sure Thing by Richard Wagamese

From Scratch

From Scratch by Gail Anderson-Dargatz

PRACE Pageturners

PRACE Pageturners are easy to read books, offered at different reading levels, for English as a Second Language (ESL) learners or literacy students. This series is written by experienced ESL teachers in Australia. PRACE stands for Preston Reservoir Adult Community Education, which is based in Melbourne, Australia.

These books include follow-up exercises and discussion topics if you’re looking to share a book with your conversation circle or reading circle.

Handful of Sand

A Handful of Sand by Chris Malakar

Running with Boats

Running With Boats by Ann Dunn

Digital Resources

The library also offers online support for language learning that you can access anytime you like – you will just need to have internet access and your active TPL library card. Here are some popular resources:

Mango Languages

Mango Languages offers language courses in more than 70 languages and includes English language courses as well. It may be helpful for language learners to find that the English courses are designed for students with a different first language such as Hmong, Mandarin, Turkish and many others.

If it is your first time using Mango Languages, we have a handy getting started guide available online.

Tense Buster

Anyone looking to improve their grammar will find Tense Buster to be a helpful tool. Tense Buster offers grammar lessons and practice tests for all levels and even includes tips to improve reading, writing and speaking skills.

If you create an optional personal account, you’ll be able to track your progress as you work through the lessons. Use our getting started guide to learn more about using Tense Buster.

Brainfuse Adult Learning Centre

You may have heard of Brainfuse if you have a child or teen at home. Brainfuse offers online homework help for students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 and provides free access to professional tutors from 2 pm to 11 pm every day (excluding public holidays).

Did you know that Brainfuse also has a dedicated section for adults called the Adult Learning Centre (ALC)? The ALC is where you can find live tutoring help for yourself (from 2 pm to 11 pm), career resources, tools to help you prepare for the Canadian Citizenship test, assistance from experts with your writing and more. You will need to create a free account to use some of these features.

We hope that you will find these resources to be useful. If you need help finding additional support for language learning, please speak to library staff or an LSP Worker – we are here to help!