Toronto Public Library Homepage

Searching by title or author

Type keywords from the title or author name into the search box at the top of the screen.

Search box

You don't need to specify title, author, or subject - just go ahead and click "Search."

Performing an exact search

You don't need to be "exact" - the new website uses sophisticated algorithms to find the best match for your keywords. We find that the results for a specific author or title search are usually quite good. If you prefer "exact" searching and want to browse an alphabetical list of headings, you can still use the old catalogue.

Searching by subject

The simple way:

just type keywords from your topic into the search box at the top of the screen.

Search box

The more advanced way:

go to Advanced Search and choose Subject from the drop-down menu before entering your search. This type of search allows you to be more precise - for instance, searching for "jane austen" as a subject might help if you're trying to find books about Jane Austen rather than books by Jane Austen.

Advanced Search by Subject

To browse an alphabetical list of subject headings:

use the old catalogue.

Searching by ISBN

Type the ISBN into the search box at the top of the screen.

Search box

Searching by call number

To search by call number, use the old catalogue.

Searching for all materials of a certain type (e.g. all English adult DVDs)

Use Advanced Search.

  1. Leave the search box blank.
  2. Choose the options you want from the menus below the search box.
  3. Click "Search."

How to do a blank search

Narrowing your search

Too many results?

  • Put your search terms in quotation marks to find an exact phrase.
  • Use the options on the left side of the screen to narrow your results (you can limit to only books or only movies, for example).
  • Try an advanced search.

Too few results, or not what you were expecting?

If the library does not own the item you are looking for, there may be no exact match for your search. In these cases, the search engine looks for partial matches (records that contain one or more of the words).

Our search engine is highly customizable, and we continue to make adjustments to it based on customer feedback and our own testing. We appreciate hearing from you about your experiences with searching, especially specific examples.