Falling ever deeper in love with the Toronto Public Library

I’m a Torontonian, born and raised, and I love this city. Yes, even now.

One of the things about Toronto that makes me so very, very proud to live here, is our Toronto Public Library.

Toronto Public Library Central Branch, College St. and St. George St., 1920

My A/C-less childhood summers where punctuated with trips to my local branch to carefully select the book for my Summer Reading Club passport. Decades later, Toronto Public Library was there to support me with my research as a ROM researcher and with myd gruelling grad work. As I lived a 1.5 hours away from campus, it became my regular study buddy, and I credit the environment it provided as a huge reason I passed the GMAT. As a way of saying thanks, I volunteered at its Book Lovers’ Ball gala the following year.

Toronto Public Library has been there for me, and given me opportunities to engage with it at every stage of my life. As a full-time-working, childless twenty-something, this is not something I can say for some of my other beloved cultural institutions.

And it just keeps impressing me. Through apps like Overdrive Media and Zinio, I can access countless ebooks, audiobooks, and digital magazines online through my browser or mobile device, for free, with my library card.

We’re not talking odds-and-ends offerings either. New releases and best-sellers abound.

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Did I mention there were cookbooks too? Cookbooks, people.

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For ebooks and audiobooks, just head to Toronto Public Library’s Overdrive Media site, log in with your library card, and get to checking out available titles to your heart’s content. You don’t even need to return them – when your borrowing time is up, they just disappear. No late fees! Just like the library, you can put holds on books that are currently unavailable. When they get returned, you receive an email notification and they show up in your account.

The Zinio sign-up process is a little more awkward, because you need to sign up for a separate Zinio account, but once you are set up it works like Overdrive Media. Head to the Toronto Public Library Zinio website and pick your magazines.

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The great thing about both Overdrive Media and Zinio is that once you’ve downloaded the ebook, audiobook, or emagazine, you don’t need wifi to access them again. I can tell you my commute to work has become a heck of a lot more bearable thanks to that. You can even bookmark pages, email quotes, and in the case of Zinio some magazines have the option of stripping away the layout, leaving you with the bare text of an article for easier reading and sharing.

It just makes me proud that Toronto Public Library is so dedicated to making quality content easy to access. Ok, that’s kind of its mandate. It’s just a bonus that Toronto Public Library is thinking about how to use new technologies and the way folks interact with media to do accomplish this.

So, dearest Toronto Public Library, thank you for being one constant and yet evolving reason that Toronto is great.

(And don’t even get me started on how great its SunLife Financial Museum + Arts Pass is – I’m saving that for another post.)

What say you about Toronto Public Library? Have you tried out Overdrive Media and Zinio? What do you think?


5 thoughts on “Falling ever deeper in love with the Toronto Public Library

  1. The TPL is one of my favourite things in this city. I haven’t tried the digital stuff yet, but I have been borrowing things like crazy from them — the way you can borrow from any branch in the city and pick it up at any other branch is fantastic. I love that you can borrow CDs and DVDs too. And I really like the way they have their hold system structured: if you’re going on vacation or don’t need a book before a certain date, you can put a suspension on the hold so it won’t come in when you can’t use it.

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