Why do we want to talk to you?

Toronto Public Library (TPL) is exploring the role of our Research & Reference libraries and Special Collections within the library system, their surrounding communities, the city, and the world. 

As libraries are public resources, it is essential that Toronto’s diverse public (including both library users and non-users) are included in this research.

We want to learn about people’s perspectives, expectations, experiences, and aspirations related to TPL’s Research & Reference libraries and Special Collections.

Public input will shape the way TPL plans for the future services, programming, spaces, and collections of the Toronto Reference Library, North York Central Library, and the Special Collections — we want to hear from you.

If you, your organization, or your constituents, don’t know much about these specific types of libraries or collections —
that’s okay! 

What is the Cultural Plan?

Toronto Public Library is looking to develop a long-term cultural plan for its Research & Reference tier and Special Collections. 

This will be a roadmap for the planning, improvement, and use of their established collections, services, program offerings, and spaces within their two largest libraries (called the Research & Reference Tier) and their Special Collections.

How to Participate

Take our short (10-15 minute) questionnaire. You can use your phone or your computer. Click below!

If you or your organization would like to speak to us more, please click below!

Find out about more ways to participate!

Who We're Talking To

Our goal is to ensure that a broad diversity of perspectives will be included in this work.

We will be consulting:

● Community groups
● Existing TPL partners and collaborators
● Library users and non-users
● Specific users of Research, Reference and Special Collections offerings
● TPL staff, advisory groups, and volunteers
● And more


What is Research & Reference?

Research & Reference branches provide comprehensive and specialized collections and services with an emphasis on access and availability of material.

Included in the Research & Reference (R&R) Tier are:

Toronto Reference Library - interior image of the different levels

Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge St, just North of Bloor 

The library is the largest public reference library in Canada with an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, microfilm, and other items. Most items in its collection are designated for reference-use only.

Image of the North York Central Library - interior staircases

North York Central Library
5120 Yonge St, just North of Sheppard 

NYCL provides in-depth research and reference services and circulating collections in multiple formats for all age groups.

What are Special Collections?

Special Collections are comprised of rare and unique materials, in a variety of physical and digital formats, selected because of their historical context, cultural significance and/or their rarity.


These collections are accessible by anyone and also serve as important collections and archives for professionals, hobbyists, and academics. The Digital Archive and digitized collections provide 24/7 access from anywhere in the world.

Illustration of Sherlock Holmes
Arthur Conan Doyle Collection
Image of a Chinese Canadian immigrant from the early 1900s
Chinese Canadian Archive
Image from a children's book of elf
Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation & Fantasy
Illustration of a home covered in snow
Baldwin Collection of Canadiana 
Image of a digital archive machine
Digital Archive
Image from a children's book
Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books
Image of a painting of birds
Visual and Performing Arts Collection