Toronto Public Library Homepage

Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books

Located on the 4th floor of Lillian H. Smith branch.

239 College Street, Toronto, ON
M5T 1R5


Branch Hours
Day Opening Time Closing Time
Monday 10:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday 10:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday 10:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m.
Sunday Closed


Closest major intersection College Street and Spadina Ave.

Public Transit

TTC College streetcar from College subway station west to Spadina.
TTC College streetcar from Queen's Park subway station west to Spadina.
TTC Spadina streetcar from Union subway station north to College.
TTC Spadina streetcar south from Spadina subway station to College.


Paid - Meter parking along Huron Street, more parking at Centre for Addiction and Mental Health on north side of College. BIXI bicycle stand on Huron St., along the east wall of the library.


Map to library branch


General Features



  • Canadiana Collection - reference collection of children's books written or illustrated by Canadians, or pertaining to Canada.
  • Jean Thomson Collection of Original Book-Related Art
  • Lillian H. Smith Collection - reference collection of notable children's books in English, primarily British and American, from 1911 to the present.
  • Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books - reference collection of historic English-language children's books ranging from the 14th century to the end of 1910.
  • Reference Collection of background materials

Branch History

Year Details
1949 Edgar Osborne presented his collection of over 2,000 historical British children's books to the TPL Board.
1958 First volume of the Catalogue of the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books published.
1962 Lillian H. Smith Collection of Children's Books established to mark the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of children's library services in Toronto, and named in honour of Lillian H. Smith (1887-1983), the librarian who pioneered them.
1966 Friends of the Osborne and Lillian H. Smith Collections organized.
1978 The Canadiana Collection was inaugurated.
1995 Boys & Girls House branch closed 1 April. New Lillian H. Smith branch opened 18 October. Phillip H. Carter, Architect.
2001 Online cataloguing of Osborne Collection begun.
2016 Digitization of parts of the Osborne Collection begun.


Map to branch

Upcoming Events

Thu, Jan 18 - 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Sat, Jan 20 - 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Regular Programs

Sat, Jan 20 - 10:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Sun, Jan 21 - 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Mon, Jan 22 - 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

All Branch Programs & Events