French collections

January 13, 2020 | Media Relations

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We have recently completed a three-year review with the goal of improving our collections of French materials. As part of our review, we analysed borrowing patterns at library branches across the city and online.

Following this review, we will retain our current materials, removing only books that are in poor condition or contain dated information. Of our current collection of 150,017 French materials, we estimate that we will remove 5,000 items – or 3.3 percent -  based on these criteria. We will balance this by adding approximately 20,000 new items to our French collection in 2020. 

As the largest Canadian public library system, we are committed to offering a strong French collection. We have heard clearly that our French materials are highly valued and look forward to consulting with the community to ensure that the collections meet their needs and interests, and to find ways to increase use. To help achieve this goal, we will set up formal community consultations and will double our budget 2020 to invest in new materials, including ensuring that all children’s collections contain all available formats. 

We will consolidate our French collections to so we can offer a larger and comprehensive selection of materials in a wide variety of in-demand formats at a smaller number of branches. These collections will be distributed across the City to facilitate access.

We will continue to actively promote awareness and use of the French collection through a range of activities in French including kindergarten and school outreach, Reading Challenge campaign, author visits and storytelling programs for children, as well as literary and cultural programming for adults, and French language book clubs. 

We have summarized key steps that we will take in 2020.


Before  2020 plans

83 branches with French collections

Of these :

  • 83 branches with children’s collections
  • 42 with adult collections (25 small and medium collections, 17 comprehensive)

74 branches with French collections

Of these:

  • 74 branches with children’s collections
  • 24 with adult collections (5 smaller collections, 19 large and comprehensive)

Plans to discontinue large print, teen fiction and graphic novels at NYCL

Retain large print, teen fiction and graphic novels at NYCL

4,169 French ebook titles

Build up French ebook collection on the Overdrive and Cantook (Quebec platforms)

150,017 items in French collections (books, CDs, DVDs)

Increase collections by approximately 20,000 items. Remove 5,000 items that are in poor condition or contain outdated information. 

Most recent community consultation in 2013

Minimum of four community consultations on French collections and programs in the second quarter of 2020