COVID-19 Impacts

Gryphons with masks

Last updated: July 19, 2021

Step Three library services 

We are excited to welcome more people back into our branches! During Step Three of the Province's three-step roadmap, we have increased the number of people allowed into our branches while still maintaining physical distancing of two metres. Branches are currently closed on Sundays.

Please remember to wear your mask, even if you’ve been fully vaccinated, and practice physical distancing. For everyone’s safety, in-person services are limited and modified, and staff cannot offer the same extended support as we used to. Individuals who refuse to wear a mask without declaring a medical or legal exemption, whether at a branch or waiting in line outside, will be refused service.

Thank you for your cooperation, and stay safe. Please check back for updates on available library services.

On this page


Available in person

Most library branches are open for indoor contactless holds pick-up and drop-off of library materials, computer services including printing, photocopying and scanning, and washrooms. You can browse physical collections, sign up for a library card, use our quiet study spaces and access quick information services at most branches. Some of our children’s areas and Youth Hubs are open with limited access. 

All other in-branch services are currently unavailable. Open library branches have regular operational hours but are closed on Sundays. Before coming to our branches, please make sure you review the health and safety protocols

Library card Person studying

Borrowing materials

  • Browse and borrow items.

  • Place holds on materials online and over the phone and pick them up at open library branches. Appointments are not required. What's changed? You have 7 days to pick up your holds once they are available. 

  • Return your library materials at most branch drop boxes or at the customer service desk. What's changed? We encourage you to make use of external and internal drop boxes. We're not charging fines at this time.

  • Borrow a grab & go bag of books, DVDs and/or CDs. All ages, all interests. Available at most branches. What's changed? A staff member will retrieve a bag for you upon request. You can check the items out by placing the bag onto our self-checkout stations or with library staff.

  • Borrow a Book Club to Go set for your book club. A list of titles and locations is available on our book clubs page. What’s changed? Please call the branch in advance to reserve the set you are interested in and to arrange a pick-up time. 

  • Sign up for a library card. Please check the list of identification options before going to register.

Using our spaces

  • Work, read or study. What's changed? Access quiet study tables and spaces. Seating in our branches is limited. 

  • Children's areas are open, but access to the interactive components in KidsStops and Discovery Zones are unavailable.

  • Teens can visit a Youth Hub at select branches to study, use a laptop, get connected to homework help resources or watch an online teen program. What’s changed? At this time, some Youth Hub services and equipment are unavailable. 

  • Mall locations: Library branches located inside malls that were closed due to provincial restrictions in Step One will begin to reopen the week of July 5: Black Creek, Woodside Square and York Woods Pop-up. Together with Bayview, Bridlewood, Maryvale, Eglinton Square and Albert Campbell Pop-up, these branches will offer Step Two services on July 5 or shortly after that. Please check their branch pages for more information.

Computer services, printing and Wi-Fi

  • Connect and use Wi-Fi (outside 24 hr).

  • Reserve a computer at most library branches including the computers at our Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH). Although walk up use is available, reservations are the only way to guarantee that you can use a computer at a given time. Due to limited access, we strongly recommend making a reservation online or with staff over the phone. What's changed? You can book a maximum of 60 minutes to use the computer (2-hour computer sessions are available in the Digital Innovation Hubs).

  • Print and photocopy at most library branches and use a scanner at select branches. What's changed? Staff can add value to print/copy cards at the service desk with a credit or debit card, but not with cash.

    Please note:
    Computer and device assistance that can be provided by staff is limited at this time. One-on-one service that does not meet physical distancing guidelines cannot be provided in the interests of the health and safety of both customer and staff. Assistance can be offered remotely by contacting our Answerline service. Customers who are awaiting COVID-19 test results should not book a library computer. If you need assistance in getting your test results, please visit the Toronto Public Health website or call 416-338-7600.

Information services and research help

  • Access quick information services at most branches. For questions about the Book a Librarian service please contact your local branch

  • Settlement services are available; settlement agencies continue to offer service by email and telephone. 

Mobile services

  • Bookmobile service and Home Library Service are available with limited contactless service. What’s changed? Our bookmobiles offer holds pick-up service and accept returns; onboard service is not available at this time. Home Library Service has resumed to customers where contactless deliveries can be made safely. Deliveries will be made only to private homes until further notice. Customers can also arrange to pick up library materials at open branches.

 

 


Suspended services due to restrictions

During Step Two, the following in-person services are not available:  


Available online

  • Join our online events for all ages, from storytimes for kids to author interviews and more. 

  • Use a variety of our online services - from ebooks, eaudiobooks, movies and music, to research and learning tools.

  • Sign up for a Digital Access Card to get immediate access to Toronto Public Library’s digital resources and services. To be eligible for a Digital Access Card, you must live in Toronto and be 13 years of age or older.


What you need to know before visiting

how to wear a cloth mask sign
If you are interested in using our in-person services, here are additional steps to take and what you need to know:

  • Take the COVID-19 self-assessment test. If you have symptoms, if you may have been exposed to COVID-19, or if you are awaiting COVID-19 test results, please stay at home and do not visit the library. Customers should visit the Toronto Public Health website or call 416-338-7600 for help accessing their results.

    Please note: If you test positive for COVID-19, or are otherwise diagnosed to have COVID-19, within fourteen days of visiting a library, please contact us immediately and indicate which branch you have visited and when. The library will take appropriate precautions, based on Toronto Public Health guidance.

  • If you've been vaccinated for COVID-19, you must still follow proper safety measures while visiting our branches: 

    wear a face mask icon maintain 2m/6 ft distance from other people icon
    sanitize your hands icon stay home if you're sick icon

  • Food and drink, other than closed water bottles, are currently not allowed in our branches, as it would require our customers to remove their masks. 

  • Each branch is monitoring its occupancy capacity, so you may have to wait your turn to come inside. There’s no limit to the amount of time you can spend at the branch, but as a courtesy to others, please don’t stay longer than you need.


What we're doing to keep you and our staff safe

Library staff waving Physical distancing marker
The health and safety of our staff and our customers continues to be our top priority.

Our services follow the COVID-19 response framework provided by the Province of Ontario, and the advice of the Toronto Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, and follows best practices within library and retail industries. Toronto Public Health has reviewed and endorsed our plans.

Here are some of the measures we have put in place:

  • All staff have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

  • Intensive cleaning of branches has been done in advance, including cleaning of upholstery and special disinfecting of high touch surfaces.

  • Regular cleaning and hand washing protocols are in place.

  • Library branches have proper physical distancing protocols in place. Plexi-glass is in place in certain locations​ where physical distancing protocols cannot be maintained.

  • Computer workstations are two metres apart to ensure physical distancing measures. There is a 30 minute maintenance period after every scheduled session to clean workstations.

  • According to provincial directives and to keep you safe, we are monitoring occupancy capacity at our branches and limiting the number of people inside.


COVID-19 cases update


We developed a page to keep the public up to date as to when and where COVID positive cases have occurred at TPL locations. The page will be updated every Friday with the current status of confirmed COVID cases among staff and visitors reported to Toronto Public Library. It includes historical data of reported COVID cases to our locations since we reopened, and answers to frequently asked questions about TPL's exposure protocols.  


Frequently asked questions


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

  1. Will I be charged late fees if I return my item late? 
    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. No fines will be charged until library branches fully open.

  2. Why is TPL no longer quarantining library materials?
    As of June 21, 2021, TPL has discontinued the quarantine of all library materials, following the Province of Ontario's direction to eliminate the requirement for public libraries to quarantine materials. This change is consistent with scientific evidence regarding the extremely low risk of transmission of COVID-19 on surfaces. It is also consistent with the actions of many Ontario public libraries as well as library systems throughout North America that have discontinued the quarantine of library materials.

    Our staff will continue to adhere to hand-hygiene protocols when handling returned library materials.

  3. I signed up for the Digital Access Card but have temporary access. Will my access be extended?
    Yes. Existing temporary Digital Access Cards have been extended.

  4. I signed up for the Instant Digital Card. Can I continue to use it?
    If you would like to continue to use OverDrive, you will need to sign up for a Digital Access Card, as the Instant Digital Card will permanently expire in 2021. We recommend that you get a Digital Access Card now and begin using it to check out items and place holds and wish list items. A Digital Access Card gives you access to TPL's digital resources and services.

  5. When will the Museum + Arts Pass (MAP) program resume?
    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.

Additional questions?

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 FacebookTwitter 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.


Page update details: July 19, 2021 to include information about Step Three library service.