For Educators

Tips for Teachers

  • Students use both school and public libraries to research assignments. To make the most of the Toronto Public Library, we suggest you think of us as a support for your school's curriculum-based collection. Because we also serve the general public, we couldn't possibly have all the resources your students need to research a specific topic. When, however, our library can augment yours, we want to help teachers help their students. Here are a few suggestions from our librarians.

  • Assigning Topics

    • Inform your nearest branch well in advance of a library visit. The staff may then be able to gather additional resources from other branches.
    • Investigate the availability of materials before assigning topics that require library research.
    • Remind your students to write down their assignments and bring those notes along to the library. Make sure students understand the assignment.
    • Assign broad topics, or a choice of topics, to reduce the number of students looking for material on the same subject.
    • Be flexible about the number of resources you require.
    • Encourage students to use a variety of sources and formats, such as books, databases, the internet and printed encyclopedias.
    • Consider assigning co-operative projects.
    • To avoid the rush, try to assign seasonal and holiday projects well in advance.

  • Accepting Assignments

    • When you ask for illustrations, encourage students to use their own drawings. This helps protect library materials from being cut up and damaged.
    • Explain that copying, in some cases, is a breach of copyright. When students make copies through the Internet or photocopier, they should identify the source.
    • Emphasize that vandalism and theft of library materials is never tolerated.

  • Use Databases

    Databases are a rich resource of useful information. The Toronto Public Library has purchased many databases so that users can access them for free. We highly recommend that your students take advantage of this research tool. All sources are recognized and every electronic magazine, newspaper or periodical is just as reliable as its print version.

  • Tips for Visiting the Library

    1. Photocopying and printing from electronic resources such as databases, and the Internet requires money.
    2. Very few library photocopiers or printers make colour copies.
    3. The Internet is a great resource but it's not always available due to high demand and sometimes, technical problems.
    4. Print or online databases will often be a good alternative.
    5. You can't print certain content from web pages.
    6. Reference materials are for library use only. You may borrow an item if it is NOT labelled "reference".
    7. Students should bring their own school supplies when visiting the library.
    8. Respect library materials so other people can enjoy them too.

    We've created a brief guide to Research Skills for kids as well as answers to some of their most Frequently Asked Questions. You may also find some useful information in our Great Booklists as well.

    And our Pathfinders have a great deal of information on specific topics, including links for teachers, in the Homework A-Z section.

We've gathered a few useful sites for teachers that include information on the curriculum and the school boards as well as some classroom resources and activities.


  • CDN Be Web Aware

    Information, tips and tools to help keep kids safe online.

  • CDN Canadian Children's Book Centre

    To promote, support and encourage the reading, writing and illustrating of Canadian books for children and teens.

  • Digital Literacy and Citizenship Classroom Curriculum

    A free, American K-8 curriculum empowering students to use the Internet safely, responsibly and effectively, with activities and lesson plans for teachers on dealing with online bullies.

  • Get Ready to Read

    Offers step-by-step instructions, activity cards, online games, research information and a variety of other teaching resources to teach young children the fundamental skills necessary for learning to read.

  • Kinder Art

    An interactive learning, research and play tool for kids, parents and educators. An art educator's resource site with more than 1,000 free lesson plans.

  • CDN Media Smarts

    Resources and support for everyone interested in media and information literacy for young people. There is also a great deal of information about internet safety and a Teachers section.

  • CDN Toronto Catholic District School Board

    Information about specific schools, programs and events and the community that is being served by the TCDSB.

  • CDN Toronto District School Board

    Information about specific schools, programs and events and the community that is being served by the TDSB.

  • CDN Read Works

    A non-profit organization for teachers to advance reading comprehension through research-based classroom practices and curriculum.

  • CDN Ontario Ministry of Education: Curriculum

    Ontario curriculum, policy and resources for teachers.