'Passport' for Toronto libraries sparks new interest in old institution
A novel idea meant to impress a Toronto resident's library-loving girlfriend is creating new interest in one of the city's oldest institutions.
Graphic designer Noah Ortmann, 29, said he created the "Toronto Library Passport" as a gift for his girlfriend.
"She loved it. She didn't realize I had actually made it," he told CTV Toronto's Scott Lightfoot.
Ortmann posted photos on social media, and some of his followers started asking for copies. He decided to print 500, which he sells for $10 each. Ortmann said the first edition has essentially sold out.
The "passport" includes information on borrowing books, schedules and late fees, as well as a small map of all 100 Toronto Public Library branches.
It also includes "Did you know" trivia and a scavenger hunt, as well as space for patrons to record their impressions of the various branches.
The scavenger hunt ensures that visitors don't just duck into the branches but actually explore them.
"It's a lot more than books now, and you can rent equipment. They have resources for 3-D printing and bookmaking and all sorts of things I didn't even know about," he said.
The branches will even stamp the pages for passport-toting visitors, allowing users to keep track of the locations they've visited.
"I think people still love holding things in their hand, and the idea of a passport and physically having to go to the branches... I think we kind of miss out on that with everything online now," he said.
The booklets have no official affiliation with the library, but staff members have been supportive of the idea. The books are even available for sale at the bookstore at the Toronto Reference Library.
"It's pretty awesome," Toronto Public Library worker Judy Leung told CTV.
"We love that people are inspired by the library."
With a report from CTV Toronto's Scott Lightfoot