toronto library

The Toronto Public Library has a bedtime story hotline

Looking for something to take the edge off before bed? Or maybe you want to practice your Polish comprehension?

It may be news to you that the Toronto Public Library has a dedicated "Dial-A-Story" line that you can call at any time to hear stories in any one of 16 different languages: English, French, Cantonese, Gujarati, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Tagalog and Urdu.

The service isn't new, but it is cool — and a tweet from the library on Tuesday served to remind many the program is still around.

Callers simply dial the number (416-395-5400) and tell a robot which language they'd like to communicate in.

Then, they choose whether they'd like to hear a story for "younger children" (aged up to 7) or "older children" (from age 7  to 40 to 12).

An actual human voice reads out the bedtime stories, as well. The one I just heard, about a Canadian cowboy who tries to become a fisherman, was narrated with aplomb by a man named Ken Roberts.

It may be geared toward kids, but adults can make good use of the free bedline stories hotline too, whether for the purpose of language learning, entertainment, or to avoid the task of reading to their own children.

Having fun isn't hard when you have a library card—or just a phone!

Lead photo by

Kevin Morris


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Arts

There's a huge Pablo Picasso exhibition opening in Toronto next month

Comedy legend Norm Macdonald has died and Canada is shocked

Toronto is getting a stunning new interactive light and sound show and it's totally free

A ghost bookstore has been secretly hiding in a Toronto cafe

This new Toronto show is performed inside a see-through bubble and it's totally free

Woman in Toronto steps in to help friend's struggling small business

Toronto business owners persevere over lockdowns and a fire to start again

Toronto neighbourhood upset after community display of masks disappears from pole