Home arrow Culture arrow Libraries

Ontario Public Libraries

A strong library system is the cornerstone of a strong community. It contributes to education, literacy and life-long learning in Ontario communities. Municipal bylaws create Ontario's public libraries and public library boards govern them.

Ontario Public Libraries

This ministry is responsible for:

  • Developing provincial policies for public libraries
  • Conducting stakeholder relations with Ontario library sector organizations such as the Ontario Library Association and the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries
Books and CD

Did you know:

  • Ontario’s first free public libraries were established in Toronto and Guelph in 1883.
  • Between 1903 and 1922, 111 Ontario libraries were constructed with more than $2.5 million in funding from American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
  • Over 4.5 million Ontarians, or nearly 33 per cent of the population, hold a public library card.
  • Nearly 99 per cent of Ontarians live in communities served by a public library.
  • Ontario libraries have nearly 28.7 million print volumes in circulation. That’s equivalent to 2.1 books for every Ontarian.
  • They also have over 18.9 e-resources including e-books in circulation
  • In 2015 Ontario public libraries
    • circulated 128 million items.
    • received almost 73 million in-person visits, over 108 million electronic visits and over 19 million social media visits
    • programs include 61,034 early literacy and early learning programs with 1,081,121 attendees, 8,011 Newcomer focus programs with 149,184 attendees, 2,854 Maker space, digitial media and self-publishing programs with 40,043 attendees and 2,224 career, job help and skills programs with 17,833 attendees.
  • served the public through 1,134 library service points (main libraries, library branches, deposit stations and bookmobile stops)
  • Every library branch in the province provides access to electronic information through the Internet.