The Toronto Public Library Board (the Board) provides a comprehensive and efficient library service that reflects the community’s needs. The responsibilities of the Board include the following specific matters:

  • directing and approving strategic plans, goals and policies for the Library based on the unique needs of the city and the Ontario library community, ensuring that these plans are efficiently and effectively implemented;
  • developing the annual operating and capital budgets for recommendation to City Council;
  • acting as an advocate for library service, representing the Library before City Council and in the community;
  • protecting the public’s right to read materials of their choice;
  • hiring and evaluating the City Librarian, who is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Library and its staff; and
  • is legally accountable for the Library’s activities and for ensuring that it complies with all applicable legislation and policies.

Follow this link for information on the Board governance structure for the Toronto Public Library Board.

Toronto Public Library’s vision is to be recognized as the world’s leading library by informing and inspiring Toronto and its communities, making us all more resilient, more knowledgeable, more connected and more successful.

Toronto Public Library provides free and equitable access to services which meet the changing needs of Torontonians. The Library preserves and promotes universal access to a broad range of human knowledge, experience, information and ideas in a welcoming and supportive environment.

The Importance of Public Libraries

Libraries are busy places where people of all ages and backgrounds come to read, study, borrow materials, and use wi-fi and public computers with Internet access. They are neighbourhood hubs, offering safe and welcoming places in the community for all ages, but especially for children and youth.

Services are provided through a network of neighbourhood, district and research and reference branches. City-wide services include mobile library services, bookmobile and deposit collection services. The Library’s online resources further extend access to collections and services.

In 2013, there were over 18 million visits to the Library’s 98 branches. Over 32 million items were borrowed and there were 26 million virtual visits to the Library’s website.

TPL is focused on delivering programs and services to:

  • Grow a City of Readers: Support readers of all ages by offering broad and easy access to books and reading in a variety of formats, expertise that supports literacy and literary exploration, and a wide range of reading programs that introduce and promote the joy of reading to all Torontonians;
  • Build a City of Learners: Provide broadly accessible opportunities for study and lifelong learning, throughout all stages and phases of a person’s life, and make those opportunities available wherever and whenever there is a need, reason or desire to learn; and
  • Connect a City of Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Creators: Provide information resources and strong technology support, as well as creative and collaborative spaces that support co-working and co-creation; and cultural programs that stimulate creativity, and spark experimentation and innovation for creators and entrepreneurs of all ages.

2014 Service Overview

The Toronto Public Library is the largest public library in Canada, and the busiest in North America. It has 100 branches, including two research and reference libraries, and receives over 18 million visitors each year. Each year 72% of Torontonians use the Library and 1 in 6 use it once a week or more.

Toronto Public Library branches provide community groups and individuals with access to high quality, safe, flexible and functional public space. Branches are neighbourhood-based community cornerstones and meeting places. They provide access to collections browsing and pick-up, seating and meeting room space for individual and group study, relaxed reading, library programs and community events. All branches offer wireless internet access, public computers, training classes, and staff support. The Library’s branches contribute to the economic and social vitality of the city and its neighbourhoods and are strong contributors to communities across the city. Complementing this branch network are the two research and reference libraries that serve the entire city through provision of broad and deep information resources and infrastructure to accommodate very large numbers of users.

The 2014 service levels for Library Services are as follows:

  • Maintain approximately 262,134 open hours per year at 100 branches to support over 18 million in person visits, 6.4 million workstation users and 2.2 million wireless sessions with expanded access to technology in library branches;
  • Provide virtual library services to support over 26.7 million virtual visits; including collections, programs and access to user accounts with new self-service features including online fines payment;
  • Develop and maintain a collection of 11.1 million items in a variety of languages, reading levels and formats including print, audio visual and e-content, to promote accessibility and respond to community needs;
  • Provide annual circulation of 32.3 million items and information resources to support 2.1 million reference requests in a variety of subjects; and
  • Develop and deliver a suite of library programs to support literacy, life- long learning and access to culture with emphasis on literacy for children with an annual program attendance of 808,000.

2014 Operating Budget

Service 2014 Approved Budget ($000’s)






Library Services







The 2014 Capital Budget for the Toronto Public Library is $26.9 million.