Our Reopening Plan
Library services available as part of our Stage 3 reopening
We’re excited to welcome you back into our branches, with many services now available. Our spaces and services might look a bit different – these changes have been made to keep you and our staff safe.
Please check back here for updates and more information on what services are available at which locations.
Modified Stage 2 restrictions and TPL
The public health regulations implemented recently by the Ontario government in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Regions include a range of additional restrictions affecting indoor dining, gyms, cinemas and other venues, as well as reduced limits on social gatherings. At this time, no additional restrictions have been announced for public libraries, beyond the measures that we already have in place. As always, we’ll continue to monitor changes in public health regulations and will adjust library services as required to ensure the safety of our staff and customers.
On this page
- Available in person
- Available online
- Coming soon
- What you need to know before visiting
- What we're doing to keep you and our staff safe
- Frequently asked questions
- COVID-19 resources
Note: Library branches that are open have regular operational hours but there is no Sunday Service.
- Browse and borrow items. What's changed? Some collections have been removed including newspapers, magazines, board books and comics.
- You can 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? Book club sets are quarantined when they are returned and may remain on your account for 6-8 days.
- You can borrow a musical instrument from our Downsview and Parkdale branches. What’s changed? Instruments are quarantined for 96 hours when they are returned and may remain on your account for 6-8 days.
- Place holds on new materials and pick them up at most branches. You can check out your holds yourself using our self-checkout stations.
- 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.
- 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? Seating in our branches is limited. Children's areas are open, but access to the interactive components in KidsStops and Discovery Zones are limited.
- 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. More Youth Hubs will be opening throughout the fall.
- As of Monday, September 28, 2020, six more locations are now open to offer modified in-person services:
Using computers, printing and Wi-Fi
- Connect and use Wi-Fi.
- Reserve a computer at most library branches. 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.
- You can book a 3D printer and borrow Arduino Kits at one of our Digital Innovation Hubs.
- Print, photocopy and scan. What's changed? Cash payments are not accepted at this time. Please add money to a copycard account online before you arrive to the library.
- Use of a Sewing Machine and the Vinyl Printer is available at our Fabrication Studio.
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 interest of the health and safety of both customer and staff. Assistance can be offered remotely by contacting our Answerline service.
Information services and research help
- Access quick information services at most branches.
- You can book an appointment at Toronto Reference Library, North York Central Library or one of TPL's Special Collections locations to access research and reference materials or for help with in-depth research. Exhibits are not open at this time.
- Settlement services resumes by appointment only at select branches. Library Settlement Partnerships (LSP) programs are available online.
- Bookmobile service and Home Library Service resumes with limited contactless service. What’s changed? Our bookmobiles are offering holds pick-up service and accepting returns; onboard service is not available at this time. Home Library Service resumes in a phased approach, beginning with deliveries to private homes.
- Experience free and high quality programming from home.
- Use a variety of our online services - from ebooks, eaudiobooks, movies and music, to online programs and learning tools.
- If you can't visit our branches to sign up for a library card at this time, you can sign up for an Instant Digital Card. This temporary card provides access to OverDrive, our largest collection of ebooks and audiobooks.
Throughout the fall, we’ll be reopening more branches and reinstating more modified services. Here's what you can expect:
Starting Monday, October 26, 2020, five more locations will be open to offer modified in-person services:
- Albert Campbell Pop-Up (limited services: holds pick-up and returns, computer and printer use)
- Armour Heights
- Eglinton Square (adjusted hours: Monday - Friday, 10:00 am - 8:30 pm and Saturday, 9:30 am - 5:00 pm)
Stay tuned for more information about the reopening of more branches and the reinstatement of other library services including Leading to Reading and Adult Literacy services.
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 or may have been exposed to COVID-19, please stay at home and do not visit the library.
- Wear a mask or face covering while inside as per the City of Toronto’s bylaw. 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.
- Wash or sanitize your hands often, before and after touching materials.
- 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.
The reinstatement of our services follows the reopening 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. Workstations are sanitized between bookings.
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.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions we’ve received.
Why are you still opening branches and offering services when we’re facing a resurgence?
We play an important role in the lives of many Torontonians, including vulnerable communities, and we need to ensure that we are equitably serving all residents across the city. We are continuing to gradually and safely reinstate our services and reopen our spaces within the guidelines determined by the Province, and following the advice of Toronto Public Health.
- Why isn't my branch open yet?
We’re working within the province’s reopening guidelines and under the guidance of public health experts. When deciding when to reopen a branch, we consider a number of safety factors, including branch space, capacity limitations and staffing requirements. Our priority is to open our larger, busier branches and to make sure that we have libraries open in different parts of the city.
- Which branches are next to reopen?
We’re working hard to get as many branches open as we can. We don’t have specific dates or particular branch names yet, but we’ll share the details here once they’re available.
- Can I come into the library with my social circle?
We do not restrict social circles from visiting the library together. However, please be advised that seating is limited.
- Can my study group work in the library?
Individuals must maintain 2 metres distance at all times in the library, including those in study groups, unless they are in the same social circle. These measures are in place to ensure your health & safety, and are in compliance with provincial guidelines in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Why am I not receiving due date email notifications?
We have temporarily suspended our due date email reminders. 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.
- I signed up for the Instant Digital Card. Can I continue to use it?
Yes, you can continue to use it until December 31, 2020.
Last updated: Saturday, June 27, 2020 to note 69 branches and 72 branches are available for pick-up service and drop-off service, respectively; additional health & safety information; July 6 to note 70 branches and 73 branches are available for pick-up service and drop-off service, respectively; information about the City of Toronto's Mandatory Mask or Face Covering Bylaw; July 7 to include link to TPL's policy on Mandatory Use of Mask or Face Covering within Toronto Public Library Branches; July 13 and July 20 to include information about additional branches offering scheduled computer access and pick-up service; July 30 and August 10 to include updates and information about Stage 3 library services; August 11 to add infographic image; August 17 to update available services; August 24 to update available services; August 27 to add more FAQs; September 4, 11, 14, 21, 28 and October 2 to add more information about new modified services; October 13 to include information about modified Stage 2 impacts.