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Toronto library accounts are active again, but some 'intermittent technical issues' remain due to demand

Books line shelves at the North York Central Library in Toronto on Friday, February 23, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young Books line shelves at the North York Central Library in Toronto on Friday, February 23, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
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The Toronto Public Library is back up and running five months after a cyberattack crippled its systems; however, “intermittent technical issues” remain due to a high volume users.

In a statement issued late Thursday, the library said that customer accounts and the digital catalogue were now active.

“The wait is over,” officials exclaimed in a post on social media.

“Beginning today, you can manage your account online, search the catalogue, place holds, renew items and more.”

However a few hours later the Toronto Public Library (TPL) said they were experiencing some technical glitches after users flooded the site.

“You love us. You really love us,” they wrote. “However, too much love can be a bad thing. Due to higher-than-usual website traffic, we’re experiencing intermittent technical issues and are working on it. Thanks for your patience.”

This has been the first time TPL users have been able to use their accounts since an October 2023 cyberattack shut down most of the library’s systems, including computers onsite.

The library board said in a February report that they still don’t know the full extent of the data breach. Officials previously said personal information of employees, including social insurance numbers and copies of government-issued identification, was stolen.

Further investigation found that some information involving dependents and staff family members may also have been impacted.

“Although cardholder, volunteer, and donor databases were not affected, some data about these groups likely resided on the compromised file server,” the report notes.

“The larger e-discovery process to investigate whether customer, donor or volunteer data has been taken from the affected file server is underway and will take more time to complete.”

While TPL customers can now use their accounts, they still cannot update any notification preferences or renew their cards online. Officials say this can be done at a library branch until those functions are operating.

The library also says they are on track to process all of its stored items by March 4.

Crates of books readied to be distributed to TPL branches are loaded onto a truck at the Toronto Public Library Administration/Services Centre, in Scarborough, on Monday February 26, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Officials told CTV News Toronto they were using about a dozen offsite trailers to store returned books until they are able to be electronically checked back into the library. A spreadsheet was being used to enter details of the new registrations and check-outs.

Since Feb. 12, about 1.1 million items have been checked in and another 387,000 items have been sorted.

About 59,500 holds are being made available for pickup.

The majority of onsite computers are also operational.

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