Toronto Public Library reaches out to vulnerable Torontonians during lockdown

Published On April 22, 2021 | By Kelly Luke | News

The front entrance of the Toronto Public Library’s Lillian H. Smith Branch on College Street, near University Avenue. The library focused on remote access after the pandemic forced closures. Photo credit: Courtesy Huff Duff/

The Toronto Public Library went remote, adapting its services to be accessible from home in an effort to reach elderly and vulnerable patrons through lockdown orders.

Over the past year, COVID-19 forced the Toronto Public Library to change the way it offered it services to people.

Various initiatives were carried out in an effort to support Torontonians through emerging challenges such as accessing books and other library resources, and changes such as hosting many speaking and learning events online.

Moving services to virtual platforms, where necessary, has been a major necessity across all public services, including those of the TPL.

Virtual library cards, the expansion of TPL’s online resource book, and the continual release of new virtual programs and events are among some ways the library has shifted to delivering accessible services from home.

Other initiatives include providing support services to Toronto’s most vulnerable populations and adapting services to maintain accessibility to the city’s libraries.

Staff phone calls to the city’s elderly have been carried out by the TPL. The intention was to provide some relief to those who may be experienced continued isolation or loneliness stemming from continuous lockdowns.

As barriers to adequate access to internet are present among various low-income households, the Toronto Public Library also partnered with the city to bring adequate internet access to those who are most in-need.

The following Piktochart highlights all the TPL’s initiatives as acknowledged by the City of Toronto since 2020.



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