Toronto library sets world record with 8 million digital download during pandemic
TORONTO -- Canadians are known for being avid readers and that includes the citizens of Toronto as the city has a library system with the highest digital circulation in the world.
The Toronto Public Library system has 100 branches and while they're normally an excellent place to browse physical books and other resources, most have had to close at various points throughout the pandemic.
Due to COVID-19 the number of downloads of e-books and audiobooks last year jumped 32 per cent.
Shawn Mitchell with Toronto Public Library’s Membership Services said the online library set a new record of 8 million digital downloads of e-books and audiobooks in 2020.
“Toronto Public Library for the 8th year in a row is the largest consumer of e-content in the world, so it's quite a large system," Mitchell said.
The library is a great resource at the best of times, but during the pandemic it's been vital to help people in self isolation.
It has been fantastic for avid readers like Kristin Chong of Scarborough.
“With the pandemic and because I am home all the time and with the lockdowns and restrictions I’ve definitely been taking out a lot more books - specifically e-books" said Chong.
Chong bought an e-reader and signed up online with the library and has enjoyed the many services it has to offer.
“As much as I love having a physical book and love being able to hold the book and turn the pages, I think the e-reader option is really wonderful" said Chong.
Mitchell says even if you don't currently have a library card as long as you're a resident of Toronto you can register for a digital access card at www.tpl.ca
Once you have that not only can you download e-books and audio books for free, but also watch movies and listen to music. You can do online research and read magazines and newspapers.
The Kanopy streaming service has over 30,000 movies and documentaries you can also watch for free.
If you do want to have a physical item, the library does provide curbside pick-up.
“Customers are able to go online and place a hold and go to a branch for contactless pick-up," said Mitchell.
The online library is a wonderful resource to help people get through the pandemic and Chong says it's been a great benefit for her.
“If there is a one thing that is great about this year, it’s that it helped me re-ignite my love of reading and reading different types of books," said Chong.
No matter where you live you can check with your municipality to see what services are being offered by your library system.
They may also have curbside pick-up, as well as e-books, audio books, movie streaming and other digital services.