toronto public library

Toronto is temporarily closing its public libraries due to coronavirus

The latest step in Toronto's public health response to the global coronavirus pandemic includes closing or cancelling a whole new slew of spaces and services — including child care centres, recreation centres, museums, pools, arenas and libraries.

City officials announced the closures during a press conference late Friday afternoon, noting that the measures are intended to help protect vulnerable populations against the fast-spreading 2019 novel coronavirus.

The facility closures and event cancellations are based on the advice of Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, and are set to come into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday. The closures will remain in effect until at least April 5.

Per the city, impacted programs and facilities include:

  • City-operated March Break camps
  • All licensed child care centres
  • Community and recreation centres, greenhouses and conservatories, arenas, pools, fitness centres, and ski hills 
  • Libraries 
  • City-operated museums and galleries
  • City Council and committee meetings  
  • Public consultations
  • All event permits for City facilities, including civic centres, recreation facilities and parks

While these measures are undoubtedly necessary in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, which so far has infected 41 people in Toronto, many were dissapointed to learn that the city's libraries would close just in time for an extra-long March Break.

That said, the TPL's comprehensive online resources are still available to all library card-holding citizens.

"Based on direction from the City, and out of an abundance of care and concern for our staff, our customers and the public, we will be closing all Toronto Public Library branches to the public effective today, Friday March 13," reads a message on the library's website signed by City Librarian Vickery Bowles.

"We will reopen our branches on Monday, April 6. All programs, events and room rentals, as well as mobile library service (Bookmobile and Home Library Service) will be cancelled. We will continue to monitor the situation and evaluate whether this date will need to be extended."

Bowles assured patrons that the decision was not made lightly.

"We know how many of you rely on us, and the impact that these closures will have. Our 100 branches are vital community hubs in every neighbourhood in our city," she wrote.

"But ensuring the health and well-being of our communities, and the safety of our customers and staff is – and always must be – our top priority."

Lead photo by

Michael Monastyrskyj

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