Toronto Public Library Service Update: COVID-19 Impacts

Most 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 visit our reopening plan for more information.

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?

My holds are ready for pick-up. What should I do?

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 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?

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 accepting returns at most branches. 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.

My holds are ready for pick-up. What should I do?
If you have holds, you may use our holds pick-up service while our branches are closed or they will be held until the pick-up by date indicated in your online account and holds notification. You can contact us if you wish to suspend your hold to a later time. You will not be charged any fines for not picking them up.

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 and overdue items?
We have temporarily suspended our due date email reminders and our email and telephone overdue notifications while library branches are closed. You will not be charged fines for any overdue items during the closure. 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 through our website at tpl.ca. You may use our holds pick-up service while our branches are closed or you can set them to inactive if you don’t want them delivered yet. When a hold is inactive, it still moves up in the queue, until you are ready to reactivate it.

I borrowed a Museum + Arts Pass (MAP) and it is still valid. Will there be an extension?
Due to the impact of COVID-19 on our venue partners, the Museum + Arts Pass (MAP) program, including Performing Arts Pass, is postponed until further notice. All passes that were checked out before the closure are no longer valid.

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. 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: June 3 to include curbside pick-up service information; June 15 to indicate 71 branches are no open for curbside drop-off service; July 9 to to remove the mention of "curbside" and add update to MAP program.