COVID-19 Impacts

Gryphons with masks

Last updated: January 13, 2022

Latest updates to library services 

We have temporarily closed 44 branches due to COVID-19 related staffing shortages. Staff from closed locations have been reassigned to our open branches. All open branches are offering regular services with the exception of MAP passes and in-person programming. They continue to operate with 50 percent capacity limits. These planned closures ensure that we can continue to offer consistent and equitable library services across the city. Visit our list of branches to find out the status of your branch, or a map showing our branches where you can filter by open branches.

Our online services remain available and can be accessed from anywhere including access to digital collections and online programs. Toronto residents 13 and over who live in Toronto and don’t have a library card can register for a Digital Access Card online and get instant access to thousands of ebooks, audiobooks, streaming video, eLearning resources and more.

For everyone’s safety, in-person services are modified and staff cannot offer the same extended support as we usually do. Please remember to wear your mask, even if you’ve been fully vaccinated, 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. Please check back for updates on available library services.

On this page


Available in person

Text "return library material at open and closed branches" with book dropbox icon Text "pick up holds" with stack of books icon Text "browse library material" with book shelf icon Text "register for a library card" with TPL library card icon
Text "stay to work or study" with a person studying icon Text "use our washrooms" with toilet icon Text "use a computer" with computer icon Text "print, copy and scan" with printer icon

Open library branches have regular operational hours with 50 percent occupancy limits. You can:

  • Return library materials at drop boxes or at the customer service desk. What’s changed? Drop boxes at closed branches will stay open, so you can still return library items at these branches. Drop boxes will be cleared regularly, but there may be a delay of up to seven days checking in items. We are not charging fines at this time.

  • Pick up holds placed online or on the phone. What’s changed? Holds at closed branches will be redirected to nearby branches. Your hold notification message, and the hold information in Your Account will indicate the new pick-up location. Learn more about managing your holds, including changing the pick-up location and setting your holds to inactive if you don’t want to pick them up now.

  • Browse and borrow items including musical instruments, Book Club to Go sets and Arduino Kits.

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

  • Use quiet study tables, washrooms and spaces to work, read or study. What’s changed? Seating in our branches is limited.

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

  • Reserve a computer. What’s changed? Customers can book one session once per day per branch.

  • Print, photocopy and use a scanner. What’s changed? We are offering free printing for proof of vaccination at open branches.

  • Use Digital Innovation Hub services including 3D Printing, Recording Studios and the Fabrication Studio.

  • 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 deliveries will be made only to private homes until further notice. Customers can also arrange to pick up library materials at open branches.


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


Suspended services due to restrictions

The following in-person services are not available:  

  • Forty-four branches are closed due to COVID-19 related staffing shortages.

  • In-person programs have been suspended until at least March 31, 2022.

  • Museum + Arts Pass (MAP) distribution is suspended while participating venues are closed.

  • Use of library space is limited due to capacity restrictions. 

 


Frequently asked questions

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

  1. Do I need to show proof of vaccination to enter a TPL branch?
    Proof of vaccination is not required. 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 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Can I pick up holds for my family or friends? Can someone else pick up my hold(s) for me?
    Yes. If you are picking up holds on behalf of other people, you will need to bring their library card(s).

  4. Can I drop off book donations?
    At this time, we are not accepting book donations or any other items. Please only return borrowed TPL items.

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.


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. 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 is currently not allowed in our branches. 

  • 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
We have adopted a mandatory vaccination policy for TPL staff with the goal of protecting employees and the people we serve. The health and safety of our staff and customers has been our foremost priority throughout the pandemic, and mandatory vaccination is one more thing we can do to protect ourselves and each other.

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, 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. Workstations are sanitized once per day.

  • 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.  


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: January 13 to update service information.