What services can I get at the library?

You can research, read and borrow resources, access the internet, and get services to help you settle in Ontario.

How do I get a library card?

If you live, work, own property, or attend school in your library’s service area you can usually get a membership card for free. You will need to show identification which supports your eligibility. If you want to join a library but do not qualify for the free library card you may be able to join for a low annual fee.

What I can I do with a library card?

Most libraries have books, some in different formats like e-books and audiobooks. They also have collections of CDs, DVDs, newspapers and magazines. In some libraries, these resources are available in different languages. Larger libraries will have access to special streaming services for films and documentaries.

At most libraries, you can borrow resources for 1-3 weeks. Usually, you can renew it (keep it longer). If you return an item late, you may have to pay a small fine for every item that is late.

Most libraries have an inter-library loan service. This means that if there is an item you would like to borrow but it is not at your local branch, you can ask your librarian to have the item sent to your location. This usually takes a few days depending on the distance.

What can I do at the library?

When you first visit the library, ask a librarian about the programs and services that are available at your branch and other locations nearby. Some libraries share services in busy neighbourhoods.

Here are some of the types of programs and services you might find at your local library:

  • English language (ESL) and literacy resources
  • Settlement workers often partner with local libraries to deliver services
  • Databases and subscriptions to consumer information
  • Homework clubs for students and educational summer programs
  • Activities for younger children and their caregivers
  • Book clubs for different age groups
  • Programs for seniors
  • Workshops about employment, health, personal finance and more
  • Free internet and wifi
  • Access to multimedia equipment and other technology
  • Pay to use printers, scanners, photocopiers and fax
  • Services for people with disabilities.

Libraries often have comfortable spaces where you can read, study or work. You may have to book a workspace or room if your library is very busy.

Ask a Librarian

Most libraries have times during the day that you can work sit with a librarian or volunteer for a one-on-one to teach you how to use your electronic devices or how to use computer programs that help you with accessibility. For example, there are font settings in most devices that are good for people with low vision or learning disabilities.

The translated documents were produced by the Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) program. SWIS helps newcomer students and their families settle in their school and community.

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Last updated: March 7, 2023 4000379