Toronto Public Library Service Update: COVID-19 Impacts

We are gradually resuming adapted in-branch services with relevant health and safety measures in place. Please visit our reopening plan for more information.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions we’ve received. 

Gryphons with masks

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 fully 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. 

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 can pick them up without an appointment and check them out yourself using our self-checkout stations. Library branches that are open have regular operational hours but there is no Sunday service. The item(s) 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. Please check the status and hours of your branch before coming to pick up your holds.  

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

Can I renew my items online?
You can 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. You will not be charged any fines on overdue items at this time. 

Why am I not receiving notifications about overdue items?
We have temporarily suspended our email and telephone overdue notifications while library branches are closed. We're encouraging everybody to return items promptly to reduce the wait time for others. However, at this time, if you are unable to return your items to our drop boxes by the due date, you will not be charged fines.

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?
Yes, you can sign up for a library card at open library branches. Please check the list of identification requirements before going to register. If you can't visit our branches at this time, you can sign up for an Instant Digital Card. This card gives non-TPL cardholders in Toronto free, temporary access to our largest collection of ebooks and audiobooks and is 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 and pick them up at most branches. You may also choose to 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. Please check the status and hours of your branch before coming to pick up your holds.  

I borrowed a Museum + Arts Pass (MAP) before the Library's closure. 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; July 17 to remove information about due date email reminders; August 10 to include holds drop-in service; August 17 to include new Stage 3 activities.