Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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What Makes the Toronto Public Library World Class

Having fun is not hard when you got a library card. Torontonians have known that for years because they have had one of the best public library systems in the world. While different Canadian cities have unique qualities to them, Toronto’s is its extensive and innovative public libraries.

What Makes the Toronto Public Library World Class?
A free big open, multiple-level library full of books photos, and public domain.

The Toronto Public Library system is a well-curated and accessible public library network. With over 100 branches, it is the largest public library system in the world and attracts millions of users annually. The libraries are not only designed to be spaces for reading and research but also hubs for community engagement and cultural enrichment. A wide range of resources, including books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, CDs, and e-books are readily available to cater to the diverse information needs of its readership.

The library system had more than 4 million branch visits and almost 1.2 million people are registered Toronto Public Library cardholders. Collections are comprised of 10.6 million items including books, CDs, DVDs and eBooks, with 40 languages represented in library material. The broad language base of libraries is useful for the high number of immigrants Toronto attracts. In multiple neighbourhoods, those who do not speak English can access material and help in their own language. With more library material than any other public system, Torontonians borrowed library materials more than 24.2 million times.

Highly educated and well-read Toronto’s public library system is a testament to the intellectual capacity and community efforts of Canada’s largest metropolis.

What Makes the Toronto Public Library World Class?

History of Toronto Public Library

The public library started in 1810 as a public subscription library, but it was not until 1834 that the library began to serve the York Mechanic’s Institute. This year York was renamed Toronto to better reflect the geography and people of the area. The system we know today took its real form with the Free Libraries Act of 1882. Led by Alderman John Hailam, the city campaigned to finally establish a free library for all residents.

The first two branches of the newly formed Toronto Public Library came into being in 1884 and over the years more have been added across the city. With the addition of more libraries came an increase in programming and subject covered. A wide range of resources, including books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, CDs, and e-books are readily available to cater to the diverse information needs of its readership. Furthermore, extensive collections dedicated to local history and special collections scattered throughout various branches make the Toronto Public Library an invaluable resource for researchers and academics alike.

Overall, the Toronto Public Library provides an impressive blend of traditional library services along with modern adaptations that undoubtedly position it at the forefront of public library systems worldwide.

What Makes the Toronto Public Library World Class?
(NPS photo by Kirsten Kearse). Original public domain image from Flickr

Toronto Public Innovations

Overall, the Toronto Public Library provides an impressive blend of traditional library services along with modern adaptations that undoubtedly position it at the forefront of public library systems worldwide. As time has gone on the TPL has adapted to the online world and flourished in that space as well.

The Toronto Public Library (TPL) has become the first system in the world to reach 50 million digital checkouts.OverDrive, Toronto’s online book-borrowing platform, was launched in 2007. Officials say it took five years for one million books to be borrowed using OverDrive.

Since then the number of e-books and audiobooks borrowed through the online library has skyrocketed—setting a record with eight million digital downloads in 2020.