Toronto Public Library Strategic Plan 2016 - 2019

expanding access. increasing opportunity. building connections.


Every four years Toronto Public Library sets its sight on the future and, based on the customers', the communities' and the city's needs, sets priorities for the organization that guide our services, collections and spaces as we continue to make a difference in the city and help transform people's lives.

From 2016 through 2019 our focus is on expanding access, increasing opportunity and building connections.

Over the next four years, the library will be focused on empowering Torontonians to thrive in the digital age and global knowledge economy. With expanded access to technology, lifelong learning, and diverse cultural and leisure experiences, online, in branches and in community locations, Torontonians will have increased opportunities for growth and success, and stronger connections to each other and to their communities. We will make this happen by being agile, innovative and future-focused, with the capacity and resources to deliver high-quality, customer-focused services where, when and how our customers need them. Partnerships and private sector funding will be key to the success of this plan.


The Need

The fast pace of busy urban life has put time at a premium, and with changing patterns of work, study and school, Torontonians find it increasingly challenging to access service and participate in daily life.

A barrier-free, personalized and customized multi-channel environment to access services seamlessly, do transactions, and engage with others is no longer a "nice-to-have" but a "must-have", especially for the more isolated and vulnerable residents of Toronto.

Easy access to educational, social and cultural resources and experiences is also not always available equally across the city, creating a success gap and limiting opportunities for people of all ages and at various stages of their lives.

The Outcome

By 2019, the library's efforts to expand access to the services our customers need will result in:


The Need

Despite living in one of Canada's richest cities, many Toronto residents do not have equal economic, educational, health and social opportunities that are so critical to achieving prosperity, advancement and overall well-being. Access to information and pathways to learning can be "great equalizers" and are foundations for lifelong success.

In the 21st century, access to opportunity is increasingly dependent on access to online information and services, current and emerging technologies, social connections, and support for lifelong and self-directed learning.

The Outcome

By 2019, the library's efforts to increase opportunities for Torontonians across the city will result in:


The Need

In today's busy, tech-dominated, multi-channel environment, people are expressing a growing feeling of isolation and an erosion of cross-cultural understanding, as they search for ways to come together to share information, ideas and experiences. This lack of opportunities for meaningful connections is adversely affecting personal well-being, civic involvement, community engagement and overall social cohesion. And with cultural literacy an essential skill for success in a diverse, global society and creative economy, it is key that Torontonians have easy equitable access to local cultural opportunities that reflect the rich diversity of heritage and experiences across the city.

For businesses and technology, social and cultural organizations, a constrained funding outlook is driving innovation and collaboration, with a particular emphasis on partnerships both within and across industries and communities.

The Outcome

By 2019, the library will strengthen social connections among Torontonians by encouraging them to collaborate with each other, with library staff and with community partners which will result in:

The Priorities

Over the life our strategic plan, the library is focused on these top six priorities from 2016 to 2019

  1. Advancing Our Digital Platforms

    We will be a model of excellence in digital service delivery in the public sector, with digital platforms that offer a full range of services to Toronto communities and residents, and deliver exceptional customer experiences at every point of need.

  2. Breaking Down Barriers to Access, Driving Inclusion

    We will break down barriers to access so that Torontonians from all walks of life have easy, local access to library services they want and need.

  3. Expanding Access to Technology and Training

    We will provide access to current and emerging technology, training and expertise to promote digital literacy and inclusion.

  4. Establishing Toronto Public Library as Toronto's Centre for Continuous and Self-Directed Learning

    We will be the institution of choice for continuous, lifelong and self-directed learning, where Torontonians of all ages and at all stages can extend and enhance their education and access to information, both online and in neighbourhoods across the city.

  5. Creating Community Connections through Cultural Experiences

    We will provide access to a range of local and city-wide cultural experiences that engage residents and help them feel connected to their community.

  6. Transforming for 21st Century Service Excellence

    We will transform the Library's capacity and culture to deliver exceptional customer experiences how, when and where our customers want and need them. Torontonians will benefit from a vibrant, revitalized, digitally-enabled, and efficiently-managed service.

We will track and report on the results.