Toronto Public Library Service Update: COVID-19 Impacts

As of Friday, March 13, all Toronto Public Library branches are closed to support efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. All in-branch programs, room rentals and mobile library service (Bookmobile and Home Library Service) are cancelled.

We are taking several steps to support you as much as possible during this temporary closure. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions we’ve received. Please check back here for updates and more information.

When will the library be offering curbside pick-up and returns?

Are there any library services I can use from home?

How can I return the items I have checked out?

What if my items are due? Will I be charged late fees?

Will my fines keep increasing while branches are closed?

What if my holds are ready for pick-up?

How long will I have to return items when you reopen?

Can I renew my items online?


Why am I not receiving notifications about due dates, holds, and overdue items?

My library card is about to expire or has expired. How can I renew?

Can I apply for a library card?

Can I place new holds on items?

I borrowed a Museum + Arts Pass (MAP) and it is still valid. Will there be an extension?

How does the Library's closure affect my room booking?

When will the library be offering curbside pick-up and returns?
Starting Monday, May 25, Toronto Public Library will start accepting the return of materials at 17 branches as the first phase of our curbside drop-off and pick-up service. Most branch drop boxes will be opened starting Monday, June 1. In early June we will begin offering curbside pick-up of holds at all accessible Toronto Public Library branches. For more about how and where you can return your materials, please visit our information page.

Are there any library services I can use from home?
All of our online services are still available and can be accessed from anywhere using your library card. We’ve put together a quick guide to our digital resources, including ebooks, eaudiobooks, movies and music.

How can I return the items I have checked out?
We are now accepting returns at 17 branches as the first phase of our curbside drop-off and pick-up service. More branch drop boxes will be opened on Monday, June 1. You may continue to hold on to your borrowed items until branches reopen. You will not be charged fines during this period.

What if my items are due? Will I be charged late fees?
If you have books and other materials checked out right now, you may return them to our drop boxes or you can hold on to them. You will not be charged any fines during this time. The due dates for all checked-out items will be extended until after we reopen.

Will my fines keep increasing while branches are closed?
Any outstanding library fines will not increase while branches are closed. However, any fines that were owing on your account before March 14 will remain.

What if my holds are ready for pick-up?
If you have holds, they will be waiting for you when our branches reopen. You will not be charged any fines for not picking them up. You will have two weeks to pick up your holds once we reopen.

How long will I have to return items when you reopen?
You will have two weeks to return your items once we reopen.

Can I renew my items online?
You do not need to renew your items during the closure and you will not be charged any fines on those items. However, if you would like to renew your materials online in your account or by phone using the telephone renewals line at 416-395-5505, you can as long as the items don’t have holds on them and haven’t already been renewed the maximum number of times.

Why am I not receiving notifications about due dates, holds, and overdue items?
We have temporarily suspended our email and telephone notifications while library branches are closed. You will not be charged fines for any overdue items during the closure. Any holds you have will be kept for you until library branches reopen. The due dates for all checked-out items will be extended until after we reopen.

My library card is about to expire or has expired. How can I renew?

Library cards that were issued/updated in 2019 have had their expiry dates extended by two years from the issue/renewal date. These library accounts will not expire until 2021. The expiry dates have been extended so that library customers can continue to enjoy uninterrupted access to all digital resources.

Adults and teens can renew cards online beginning 30 days before the expiry date. You must be eligible and all outstanding charges must be paid before your card can be renewed online.

Can I apply for a library card?
Unfortunately, you will not be able to apply for a Toronto Public Library card while branches are closed. However, our Instant Digital Card, which gives non-TPL cardholders in Toronto free, temporary access to our largest collection of ebooks and audiobooks is now available to anyone 13 years and older with a Toronto cell phone (area codes 416, 647 or 437) that can receive text messages. Learn more about the Instant Digital Card. The Library is working to implement online registration for a permanent TPL card, which will allow access to all TPL digital resources.

Can I place new holds on items?
Yes, you can continue to place holds online. 

I borrowed a Museum + Arts Pass (MAP) and it is still valid. Will there be an extension?
We will discuss this option with our venue partners when we reopen.

How does the Library's closure affect my room booking?
Please visit our Venue and Community Space Rentals page for information.

If you have any questions about your account or how to access our digital resources, please contact us by email at answerline@tpl.ca. The email account is being monitored, but limited services and long wait times apply. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

COVID-19 Resources

We encourage you to stay informed about COVID-19 by referring to credible sources of information such as our COVID-19 Information Guide and the City of Toronto's COVID-19 website.

Last updated: May 25 to include information about curbside pick-up and returns