Toronto Public Library is providing free books for kids in food hampers distributed through its pop-up library branch food banks

April 22, 2020 | Media Relations

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As part of its ongoing support of Toronto’s food banks, Toronto Public Library (TPL) is providing brand new books for children, free of charge, in the food hampers it is distributing through its pop-up food banks. TPL’s food banks have been set up in partnership with North York Harvest Food Bank, Daily Bread Food Bank, Second Harvest, and Red Cross in 12 library branches across the city.

Books with Bookmarks

Distribution of books in food hampers begins this week. When clients visit a food bank at a TPL branch, library staff will add an age-appropriate book for each child in a family who is interested in receiving books, along with the food hamper. Each book includes a bookmark and a flyer with information about TPL’s digital services. All the books have been reviewed and recommended by the library’s expert children’s staff.

“We know that access to books and reading is so important for building literacy skills and supporting school success, and this is even more important while schools and libraries are closed due to COVID-19,” says City Librarian Vickery Bowles. “So we are happy that we can continue to support parents who are playing a bigger role in their children’s learning. We know that reading can build a child’s confidence, and when families read together, it helps foster a life-long love of reading.”

"One third of our food bank clients are children, so I know that our families will appreciate the addition of these books in the hampers,” says Ryan Noble, Executive Director at North York Harvest Food Bank. “Thank you, TPL, for going above and beyond in support of our communities in need.”

“This initiative is a great-value add to an already tremendous service TPL employees are providing to the public during this difficult time. Daily Bread is proud to support this program!” says Charles Jergl, Vice President of Programs and Services at Daily Bread Food Bank.

TPL has a limited number of books available to Toronto food bank clients, with the supply likely to last only a few weeks. To continue offering children’s books in each hamper, the library is looking for cash donations to support this effort and is asking Torontonians to give to the Toronto Public Library Foundation’s Love TPL Community Campaign. A $40 donation provides 5 new books to children who need them most. Donate today at

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