Ontario Increasing Access to Free Online Resources

Investment supporting sharing of Toronto Public Library content province-wide

February 18, 2022

TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing the Toronto Public Library (TPL) with nearly $1.5 million to deliver free online resources to library users in Toronto and across the province – including in rural, remote and First Nation communities – through Digital Archive Ontario.

“With its extensive collections and rare and unique content, the Toronto Public Library is a valuable resource for all Ontarians,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. “This government is proud to support Digital Archive Ontario, which helps TPL extend the reach of its services beyond Toronto and provide all Ontario communities with free, reliable online reference material for research, teaching and lifelong learning.”

Digital Archive Ontario’s online resources include digitized historical collections, archived photographs and postcards, video interviews with Canadian authors and thought leaders and blog posts by specialist librarians with expertise in a variety of subjects, including small business development and business preparedness.

“We’re so thankful for the Ontario government’s ongoing support of Digital Archive Ontario, which allows us to offer free access to digital material of historical importance to Ontario and Canada,” said Vickery Bowles, City Librarian, Toronto Public Library. “Digital Archive Ontario usage reached record highs during the pandemic, as even more people turned to digital services for their information needs. We look forward to building on this interest and continuing to offer this rich content to people across the province.”

Quick Facts

  • The Toronto Public Library is the largest public library system in North America.
  • In 2020, Digital Archive Ontario’s collections generated more than 2.4-million page views and were used in more than 198 Ontario communities.
  • Digital Archive Ontario was previously known as the Virtual Reference Library until September 2018.
  • The government is providing $4.85 million through the Connecting Public Libraries initiative to upgrade broadband at public libraries in unserved and underserved communities across the province.

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