Ontario Public Library Statistics

The Province of Ontario has collected statistics from public libraries (formerly known as Free Libraries and Mechanics’ Institutes) since the late 19th century. These early surveys focused on cardholders, collections and classes offered.

In 1999 the Ontario Public Library Statistics program entered the digital age as one of the first provincial government programs to gather information for publication via the Internet.

The Ontario Public Library Statistics Program

Courtesy of Toronto Public Library

The government publishes reports on a number of library indicators through the Ontario Public Library Statistics program. This information consists of self-reported data provided by public libraries and First Nation public libraries through the Annual Survey of Public Libraries. The survey is administered by the Ministry of Tourism Culture and Sport and updated yearly to reflect changes in the public library sector, ranging from use of technology and digital services to the types of activities/programs offered to the community.


Ontario’s public library statistics are one of the most comprehensive and current data sets in North America.

Public Library Statistics By Year

Statistical reports are available for direct download below, or can be viewed on the province’s Open Data website.

Recent Statistics

* Historical photos are courtesy of the Toronto Public Library