COVID-19 Impacts

Gryphons with masks

Provincial emergency and stay-at-home order 

TPL branches remain open only for contactless holds pick-up and drop-off of library materials at the entrance. All other in-branch services are unavailable at this time. Please check back here for updates.

This continues to be a challenging time for us all, and we’re doing our best to safely serve you. Please remember to wear your mask and practice physical distancing. 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. 

On this page

Available in person

Library card Book drop box

Library branches are open for contactless holds pick-up and drop-off of library materials at the entrance only. All other in-branch services are unavailable at this time. Open library branches have regular operational hours but there is no Sunday Service.

Before coming to our branches, please make sure you review the health and safety protocols

Borrowing materials

  • 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 14 days to pick up your holds once they are available. When you arrive to pick up your holds, you will need to wait in line outside the branch. A staff member will assist you once it's your turn. One customer will be served at a time. 

  • Return your library materials at most branch drop boxes. What's changed? When items are returned, they are first quarantined and then checked back into our system. So items will remain on your account for at least 6-8 days before we are able to process your return. We're not charging fines at this time.

  • Borrow a curated 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.

  • 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. Book club sets are quarantined when they are returned and may remain on your account for 6-8 days.

Mobile services

  • Bookmobile service is 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.

Suspended services due to restrictions

The following library services are unavailable during the stay-at-home order.

Due to provincial restrictions on malls, library branches located inside malls without separate entrances are closed. These branches are not offering drop box service at this time.

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

    • Wear a mask or face covering while inside and while waiting in line outside the branch. Learn more about the library's policy on Mandatory Use of Mask or Face Covering within Toronto Public Library Branches.

    • Keep a distance of 6 feet or 2 metres from others when waiting in line and when entering the branch to pick up your holds.

    • Wash or sanitize your hands often, before and after touching materials.

    • If you're feeling sick, stay home. 

  • 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.

  • Returned materials are quarantined for 96 hours or more until they are safe to circulate.

  • 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. When I return materials in a dropbox, how long will it take before my account is updated? 
    When items are returned, they are first quarantined and then checked back into our system. So items will remain on your account for at least 6-8 days before we are able to process your return. During this time, you may receive an overdue notice but you can disregard the message if you've returned your items. No fines will be incurred during this period. We appreciate your patience.

  2. Why am I not receiving due date email reminders and overdue notifications?
    We have temporarily suspended our due date email reminders and overdue notifications. 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.

  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.


Last updated: April 29, 2021 to provide updates regarding the stay-at-home order and impacts on TPL.