Staffing shortages to shut down nearly half of city’s public libraries

Nearly half of all Toronto’s public libraries are closing as of Monday — but not due to COVID-19 precautions.

This time the closures are brought about by the virus ravaging library staff as much as it has other institutions.

The Toronto Public Library is temporarily shutting down 44 branches starting Jan. 10 “due to COVID-19 related staffing shortages,” TPL said in a statement today.

Healthy staff from the closed libraries are to be reassigned to the 52 branches that will remain open.

“These operational changes will enable TPL’s branches, including those serving Neighbourhood Improvement Areas, to continue to offer consistent and equitable library services across the city,” the statement said.

Story continues after ad

The city’s most used library branches seem to be the ones slated to stay open.

“The decision to close 44 of our branches is a very difficult one,” city librarian Vickery Bowles said on the TPL website. “We chose our largest and busiest branches to stay open, and will continue serving our communities in these challenging times while keeping the health and well-being of our customers and staff as our top priority.”

The open branches will continue to follow current health protocols, including 50-percent capacity limits, masking and physical distancing, the library said.

Some in-person services have also been limited or modified, while others, like bookmobile and home library services are expected to continue at their present service levels.

Which libraries are closing

Branches that are temporarily closing as of Jan. 10 include the following locations in communities covered by Streeter editions:

Central Toronto

  • College/Shaw Library, 766 College St.
  • St. James Town Library, 495 Sherbourne St.
  • Spadina Road Library, 10 Spadina Rd.


  • Evelyn Gregory Library, 120 Trowell Ave.
  • Perth/Dupont Library, 1589 Dupont St.
  • St. Clair/Silverthorn Library, 1748 St Clair Ave. W.

Don Valley

  • Victoria Village Library, 184 Sloane Ave.

East York

  • Dawes Road Library, 416 Dawes Rd.
  • Todmorden Room Library, 1081½ Pape Ave.

Forest Hill

  • Davenport Library, 1246 Shaw St., Forest Hill
  • Forest Hill Library, 700 Eglinton Ave. W.
  • Oakwood Village Library, 341 Oakwood Ave.


  • Leaside Library, 165 McRae Dr.


  • Gerrard/Ashdale Library, 1432 Gerrard St. E.
  • Jones Library, 118 Jones Ave.

North Toronto

  • Locke Library, 3083 Yonge St.

York Mills

  • Armour Heights Library, 3885 Yonge St.