Everyone has their own personal reasons for giving to Toronto Public Library. Many give because they have loved the library since childhood. Or they appreciate that the library is a vital resource for so many in our city. If you need a reason to give, read our list of 100.

All of the reasons in blue have been, or are, fully or partially funded by donors.

Share your own reason for giving at the bottom of this page.

Reason 1. Municipal taxes can’t do the whole job. Although many of us think that the library is fully supported by municipal taxes – it isn’t. Donors create life-changing programs, services, spaces and collections that wouldn’t be possible with government funding alone.

Dial-a-Story to hear stories in 16 different languages.

Dial-a-Story to hear stories in 16 different languages.

Reason 2.  No matter what time of day or night, kids can Dial-a-Story to hear stories in 16 different languages. There are 600 recorded stories!

Reason 3.  Sophie’s Studio Workshops for kids encourage and provide guidance in creative writing. Kids can even learn how to write a script.

Reason 4.  The library is a great investment. For every $1.00 spent, the value returned is $5.63. And TPL contributes $1 billion every year to Toronto’s economy.

Reason 5.  If your idea of light summer reading is Canterbury Tales, the Great Books Lecture Series is for you.

Reason 6.  There were over 18 MILLION visits to library branches last year. That’s more than the Air Canada Centre, CN Tower, AGO and the ROM combined.

Reason 7. TPL runs 30,000 programs every year. That’s 30,000!

Bookmobiles help make the library accessible to everyone.

Bookmobiles help make the library accessible to everyone.

Reason 8.  2 Bookmobiles make 30 stops across the city, so that no matter where you live, the library is there.

Reason 9.  Only 1 in 4 children entering school are prepared to read. The library’s Ready for Reading program has a wide variety of programs, spaces, and reading materials specifically designed to instill the joy of reading.

Reason 10.  Toronto Public Library opened its 100th branch in 2015. This expansion was needed because Toronto Public Library is busier than ever serving growing communities across our city.

Reason 11.  Kids, parents and caregivers rave about Storytimes in the library branches. Thousands of little ones are entranced every week by the power of stories.

Reason 12.  The Arthur Conan Doyle Collection is one of the foremost ACD collections in the world. Elementary my dear Watson.

Reason 13. January is Family Literacy Month at TPL. Kids and families can escape the January “blahs” with lots of fun activities that celebrate reading.

Reason 14.  Business Inc. is an eight-week course that teaches entrepreneurs and small business owners the skills needed to succeed. Small business. Think big.

Reason 15.  Not sure if bongos are you thing? Borrow a musical instrument at the Parkdale branch to release your inner rock star.

Toronto Star Reading Room.

Toronto Star Reading Room.

Reason 16. The Toronto Star Reading Room has daily global newspapers. It’s a great way for newcomers to feel connected.

Reason 17.  Students in grades 1 – 6 who struggle with reading can turn to the library’s Leading to Reading for after-school help. This program relies heavily on volunteers – who also find the experience extremely rewarding.

Reason 18.  Book Bash Canadian Children’s Literature Festival is a fun-filled children’s festival with loads of activities with Canadian children’s authors, illustrators and entertainers.

Reason 19.  You can borrow over 11 million items – but not all at once.

Reason 20. Young Voices is one of the largest programs in the country for teen literary and artistic expression.

Margaret Atwood at the Appel Salon.

Margaret Atwood at the Appel Salon.

Reason 21. The Bram and Bluma Appel Salon is where you can see world-class writers and thinkers like Margaret Atwood, Justin Trudeau, Kazuo Ishiguro.

Reason 22.  Adults struggling with literacy can get free, one-on-one tutoring in basic reading, writing and math.

Reason 23.  Librarians lead story-time reading sessions at community centres and homeless shelters.

Reason 24. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Collection at the Yorkville branch includes books, magazines and DVDs.

Reason 25. Newcomers can prep for the Canadian Citizenship Test through My Canada. My Canada is the library’s online data base of lessons and practice tests on Canadian history, geography, government & culture. Welcome to Canada, eh?

3D printers at the Digital Innovation Hubs are accessible to everyone.

3D printers at the Digital Innovation Hubs are accessible to everyone.

Reason 26. Digital Innovation Hubs provide free access to 3D design, green-screen video production, Arduinos and lots more to Make. Play. Learn. Create.

Reason 27. The 18 computer learning centres offer free instruction on everything from email to 3D design.

Reason 28.  The library now loans wifi hotspots that enable people living in Neighbourhood Improvement Areas to get free access to the internet at home.

Reason 29.   Teens in the library’s Youth Advisory Groups earn community service time and help develop youth-focused programs and reading lists.

Reason 30. The Osborne Collection of Early Childhood Literature has 80,000 rare and modern children’s books. And we really mean rare – like a cuneiform tablet from 2,000 B.C. and manuscript of Aesop’s Fables from the 14th century.

Reason 31. The Innovator in Residence program offers a fun and hands-on way to learn about the technology offered at the library’s Digital Innovation Hubs. Industry experts present lectures and workshops, and are available for one-on-one appointments.

Reason 32.   Library users get on average $500 worth of services every year. The more you use, the more your card is worth.

Reason 33.   Four library branches have piano practice rooms where anyone with a library card can book time to tickle the ivories.

Public libraries are an important resource for the community.

Public libraries are an important resource for the community.

Reason 34.   92% of Torontonians agree or strongly agree that public libraries are an important resource for the community.

Reason 35.  2,000,000 Torontonians use the library – that’s 70% of us!

Reason 36.   TPL has over 300,000 books for people with print disabilities.

Reason 37.   Toronto Public Library is the largest urban public library in the world. That’s right, bigger than New York, Chicago or Los Angeles public libraries.

Reason 38.   Movie and theatre set designers use the library’s collection of 4,500 theatre, dance and opera stage designs. Bravo!

Reason 39.   Puppet shows and puppets to play with make the library fun for the little ones.

Reason 40.   The library’s annual circulation is 32,000,000. That means that almost 90,000 items are borrowed every day!

Computer classes for seniors.

Computer classes for seniors.

Reason 41.  Regardless of your level of digital experience, and whether you’re 8 or 80, the library has free computer classes to meet your needs.

Reason 42.  The Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation and Fantasy has over 72,000 items. If you’re interested in Area 51 or Atlantean legends, the truth is out there – at the Lillian H. Smith branch.

Reason 43.  Kids get their check-up and parents learn about the importance of reading to their youngsters through a partnership between TPL and St. Michael’s Hospital.

Reason 44.  The TD Gallery at the Toronto Reference Library has ongoing exhibits drawn from the library’s own Special Collections.

Reason 45.  People who are house-bound can receive free home delivery of books, movies and music from the friendly Home Library

Services staff. Nearly 3,000 people rely on this valuable service.

Reason 46.  Want to learn about great-uncle Ted? The library has online historical reference materials like city directories from the 1800’s. For expert help, you can even book a librarian.

Reason 47.  If you don’t know your tortes from your acquittals, attend a Law at the Library lecture.

The Marilyn & Charles Bailie Special Collections Centre.

The Marilyn & Charles Bailie Special Collections Centre.

Reason 48.  New digital technology is brought to high needs neighbourhoods through Digital Innovation Outreach. The program focuses on building employable skills.

Reason 49.  The Toronto Star Photo Archive of 1,000,000 photos provides a visual history of the key events in our city’s and country’s past.

Reason 50.  The Marilyn & Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre houses one of the world’s authoritative collections of Canadiana.

Reason 51.  The library celebrates the diversity of Toronto by hosting Black History Month, Asian Heritage Month and Aboriginal History Month events at branches across the city.

Reason 52.   “I love the library because it provides my family and community with a space to grow and learn as members of society providing free resources and friendly faces anytime you need them.” Beth W.

Volunteers provide students with after-school help at the library’s Youth Hubs.

Volunteers provide students with after-school help at the library’s Youth Hubs.

Reason 53.  Youth Hubs provide students in grades 7-10 with free, tutored after school homework help in math, science, English and French.

Reason 54.  Free accreditation materials help newcomers prepare for professional exams and resume their careers.

Reason 55.  Historians and the Toronto Heritage Preservation Services rely on the library’s online photos of Toronto city scenes and buildings.

Reason 56.  Where can kids climb through the alphabet or read on an elephant? At KidsStop Interactive Early Literacy Centres. These spaces encourage preschoolers to explore reading through fun and play.

KidsStop interactive learning centre.

KidsStop interactive learning centre.

Reason 57.  “The Library has established itself as the place for public discourse, civic engagement, discussion and debate.” Vickery Bowles, City Librarian.

Reason 58.  You can meet the Canadian writers everyone is reading at The eh List Author Series.

Reason 59.  With a Toronto Library card, you can borrow materials from just about any library in the world – delivered to your local branch.

Reason 60. You can access online courses like Lynda.com for free with a library card.

The Native People's Collection.

The library has a Native Peoples Collection.

Reason 61.  How many steps do you take per day? Toronto Public Library in partnership with Toronto Public Health, has pedometers available to borrow with your library card.

Reason 62.  A visit to the Native Peoples’ Collection will give you a deeper appreciation of Canada.

Reason 63.  With books, magazines, DVDs, newspapers and e-collections in 40 different languages, newcomers can stay connected and feel welcome at the library.

Reason 64.  Produce your own sci-fi movie using the green screen at the Digital Innovation Hub at Toronto Reference Library.

MAP family Saturdays.

MAP Family Saturdays.

Reason 65.  MAP Family Saturdays brings some of Toronto’s top museums and attractions – like the Toronto Zoo and ROM – to branches across the city. Kids learn and explore through crafts, games, artifacts and fun activities.

Reason 66.  Opera Atelier, Cargo Cosmetics and Balzac’s Coffee Roasters were birthed at the library. The founders of these enterprises used the resources and spaces of the library to develop their visions.

Reason 67.  TPL Teens: Summer Edition is an online teen summer reading program that is completely free and totally fun.

Reason 68.  The library is accessible to everyone. Large print books, audiobooks, talking books, descriptive videos, closed captioned videos and a variety of e-materials cater to the needs of people with visual impairments, physical disabilities and learning disabilities.

Reason 69.  The library’s extensive e-collection of books, music, movies and magazines is available for free from the comfort of your own home.

Library programs help people at many stages of life.

All branches have free wifi and internet access.

Reason 70.  Toronto Public Library has programs, services and materials to help people transition through important life stages such as starting school, finding a job, changing careers and entering retirement.

Reason 71.  The library’s large and trusted consumer and mental health collection enables people to take control of their health.

Reason 72.  Learn about the latest in health and technology at the annual Cutting Edge lecture or one of the health talks at a library branch.

Reason 73. Of course all branches have free wifi and internet access. 58% of Torontonians use a library computer or access the library’s wireless network.

Reason 74.  Many of the 100 branches are historical architectural treasures – like the 10 Carnegie buildings, or have been designed by world-class architects.

Reason 75.  What to do on a rainy afternoon? Learn something new at craft afternoons for adults.

Reason 76. People who don’t speak English can still get help from librarians who use a dial-in service that provides immediate translation with a real person.

Reason 77.  The Writers’ Room is where writers go to write. What a novel idea.

Reason 78. The library’s ten adult literacy offices provide free, one-on-one tutoring in basic reading, writing and math.

Reason 79.  Contemporary social justice issues are explored in depth by leaders in their field at the annual June Callwood Lecture.

Reason 80.  The TD Summer Reading Club provides fun in-branch and online activities that keeps kids reading through the summer. Kids return to school with a renewed love of reading.

Reason 81.  1 in 12 Torontonians has moved to Canada in the last five years. The library is one of the first stops for newcomers.

Reason 82.  There are a host of programs available for teens to connect with other teens, be inspired by leaders, express their creativity

Young Voices Writers Conference

Young Voices Writers Conference

and grow through volunteering.

Reason 83.  Keep up with the latest styles and trends by downloading current popular magazines. Yep, it’s free.

Reason 84.  The library’s Sun Life Museum + Arts Passes (MAP) program lets families experience the city’s top museums, galleries and attractions for free.

Reason 85.  The entrepreneur-in-residence is a resource for budding entrepreneurs who want personal advice on how to make their small-business dream a reality.

Reason 86.  The Rita Cox Black and Caribbean Heritage Collection is a powerful cultural record.

Reason 87.  The Norman G. Hinton Learning Theatre in the Reference Library provides ideal space for instruction, poetry readings and class visits.

Reason  88.  If your eyesight isn’t what it used to be, the library has LARGE PRINT BOOKS.

Reason 89.  Librarians visit kindergarten and grade 4 classes across the city to introduce children to the wonderful world of the library.

Reason 90.  Many community groups rent meeting spaces at library branches because of the reasonable costs and the welcoming environment.

Reason 91.  Professional health providers at the Toronto Reference Library and Yorkville branch connect the homeless and those with mental health disorders to helpful resources.

Reason 92.  When helping your kids choose books, turn to the Great Reads for Kids booklet available in all branches. There’s plenty of recommendations to keep the kids enthralled for months.

Reason 93.  There’s no need to read alone. The library has loads of book clubs in multiple languages for various age groups.

Reason 94.  Coming to a branch near you, a Pop-Up-Learning Lab  (PULL) where you can learn how to program a robot or make a 3D artificial limb.

97% of library users are satisfied or very satisfied with the library.

94% of library users are satisfied or very satisfied with the library.

Reason 95.  Torontonians love the library! 94% of library users are satisfied or very satisfied with the library.

Reason 96.  Thought Exchange is an eclectic collection of free lectures and discussions at branches across the city.

Reason 97.  Learn how to save on taxes, follow a budget and plan for the future at one of the many personal finance classes.

Reason 98.  Become more “green”. Attend a Fragile Planet talk.

Reason 99.  The IBBY Collection for Young People with Disabilities is for, and about, exceptional kids and teens.

Reason 100.  Donors to Toronto Public Library make life-changing programs possible. You can help grow a city of readers, grow a city of learners and develop a city of creators by donating today.

Now it’s your turn. We’d love to hear your reason for giving.

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  1. Karen Devine says:

    The more I learn about Toronto Public Library, the more I appreciate how much it offers Torontonians. It’s like a combination United Way, ROM, University of Toronto.

  2. Jean Orpwood says:

    I like that the public library invites ordinary people to sit on the Library Board, along with some politicians, to give community input and sensitivity to the directions for the present and future activities of the library; I also like that these people have some say in the size and divisions of the library’s budget and can review the expenditures as the year progresses…another example of the strength of social democracy at work!

  3. Lillian Perigoe says:

    The Library has been tremendously important in my life and that of family & friends. I want that to continue for others, and for a very long time!

  4. Catharine Heddle says:

    Our family uses the library several times each week. It’s one of the best parts about living in Toronto! I give because books are my lifeblood, but also because of the many people who couldn’t otherwise afford what the library provides: the books, the computers, the programs, the warm place to go. The library is my favourite part of Toronto’s social safety net, because it’s an equalizer — open to everyone, without prejudice, and enjoyed by us all.

  5. Ann says:

    I feel guilty about borrowing so many ebooks for free!

  6. Jaclyn says:

    The baby and toddler story time programs helped us meet and connect with neighbourhood parents and children, and helped my son develop a love of books at an early age. At a year and a half, we make it a weekly Saturday stop to pop in, see our favourite librarians, and have some cuddles with a new board book. AND, It was a life saver to help us get out of the house during the Winter months!

  7. Madeleine says:

    Maybe I missed it but the use of 3D printers should definitely be on the list – innovative and investing in the future!

  8. Catherine Marshall says:

    My parents taught me to love books, learning and to be curious about the world by taking me to the library. I had my first ‘real’ job at the Burlington Central Library Reference department – stayed for 5 years; met wonderful people and have great memories of times spent in the library. So happy to have so many, so well-used in Toronto!

  9. Diane Forrest says:

    When there’s a problem at home — construction, power failure, no air conditioning — the library is a quiet comfortable place to get work done. I’m always happy when I’m at the library. And when my sister was dying of cancer, it was a source for entertainment and shared experiences.

  10. anoush says:

    i like 100th reason of libraries.

  11. Vidhi Shah says:

    Going to the library become a ritual for me as a kid. Now, as an adult, sometimes I don’t have the time to go physically and thus, I rely heavily on the online collection of books. Every kid deserves the experience of going to a library – a place where the mind is able to delve into any adventure, in any part of the universe and any place in time.

  12. J&V says:

    I love the way the resources shared with new comers, include them part of the community.
    It was extremely helpful to start my life and find my career started in Canada. I wish to acknowledge this support the Toronto library provide me in the initial phase of life. Thank you!

  13. Marlon Reid says:

    The feeling that comes over me when I find that special nook in the library. The world suddenly slows down, a warm blanket of learning and knowledge wraps itself around me and I am instantly filled with a sense of belonging. I give with the hope that every single young man and woman in my community will find that same sense of enlightenment along their personal discovery of the library.

  14. Bert C says:

    I like your Digital Innovation Hubs # 31, and hope you are able to promote these Hubs to young people across our city. Bringing experts in their fields to talk to young people about being connected, and developing easy ways to keep everyone connected with inexpensive devices.

    I also like #100 bridging story-time outreach to digital innovation hubs. That’s what public libraries are experts at doing.
    Bert C

  15. Ann Hatch says:

    I love my library… I could spend all day there! Learning, taking classes, reading, researching my next trip… the list goes on and on!!! Now, if I could just win the lottery so I could do just that 5 days a week instead of going to work!!!

  16. Caroline says:

    I’ve been going to the Toronto Public Library since I was in elementary school. It’s been an incredible resource for me and my family, and has given me countless hours of fun and escape. After living in other areas, coming back to Toronto’s library system makes me realize how lucky we are – TPL does amazing work and offers so much!

  17. Rob Hall says:

    I volunteer on the individual giving committee to dispel public understanding that the library is fully supported through taxation and to promote the continued credibility of libraries in today’s evolving world.

  18. nat espinola says:

    I have a lot of new books I would like to donate.
    Do you except donated books ad do you pick up?

  19. Hi Nat,
    Sorry for the late reply. Yes, the library accepts books. Donated books are sold through the library’s used books stores at Toronto Reference Library and North York Central Library. Click here for more details. http://tplfoundation.ca/donate-books/
    Sorry, we don’t provide pick up service.
    Thanks very much for reaching out to us! Your book donation will help fund children’s literacy programs at TPL.
    Best regards,
    Karen Devine
    Associate Director of Marketing & Communications
    Toronto Public Library Foundation