This blog was written by Stacey Nordlund, Reference Librarian at the Toronto Public Library.
Toronto Public Library (TPL) is here to help as you begin the process of immigration, as well as over the longer term. If you are planning to live in Toronto, here are some of the ways TPL can help as you go through the many steps of your settlement journey.
Free Online Library Programs and Services for Newcomers
TPL offers a wide range of free online programs for all ages. For example, Ready for Reading programs for babies, toddlers, and children up to age 5. These programs help parents connect with their children and promote early literacy. There are also small business programs led by experts, to support entrepreneurs.
All are welcome to attend programs, from anywhere around the world! Visit TPL’s Online Programs Help Guide if you have questions about how to access and participate in TPL’s online programs.
How to Get a Library Card
Getting a library card is free! To get a free TPL card, you need to live in Toronto, go to school in Toronto, work in Toronto, or own property in Toronto. Once you’re in Toronto, visit an open library branch, and bring name and address identification to register. Learn more about identification requirements for getting a TPL card.
Here are some of the things you can do with a library card:
- Borrow books, music, movies and more
- Download eBooks, digital magazines, movies and music
- Access eLearning resources and free online homework help
- Use research databases to access magazine and newspaper archives, business directories, and other specialized content
- Reserve computer time at any branch
- Access cutting-edge technology and training at the Digital Innovation Hubs
Newcomer Services and Resources at the Library
After you’ve arrived in Toronto and registered for library cards for yourself and/or your family, explore all that TPL has to offer, including:
- Books, DVDs, CDs, and movies in your language: TPL provides access to materials in over 40 languages! You can also access online newspapers and magazines from over 100 countries and in 60 languages using PressReader, with a library card. Find out which library branches have items in your language. With your library card, place holds on items and have them delivered to a library location near you
- Newcomers often face some language and employment barriers. TPL is here to help, by providing free e-Learning resources that will help you upgrade your skills to enter the workforce, and improve your language skills.
- Access career guidance with Career Cruising, a career exploration and planning tool to explore career and education options and develop a career plan.
- Enroll in video courses and earn certificates of completion in software development, business, design, photography and more, through LinkedInLearning.
- Access Road to IELTS, an online resource with online interactive activities, practice tests and answers for the academic test for those applying for higher education or professional registration in an English speaking environment.
- Library Settlement Partnerships (LSP): Funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, LSP has been assisting newcomers with their settlement needs at multiple library locations across Toronto since 2007. At present, LSP Workers from YMCA Newcomer Information Centre and six other settlement agencies work in partnership with 14 library branches to provide free, valuable settlement services in multiple languages. LSP offers both one-on-one service, and group programs. LSP Workers will help you with your settlement questions. For example:
- Get free help finding a job
- Learn English and attend free classes
- Enroll your children in school
- Find a place to live
- And much more