Online Privacy and Access to Information

Online Privacy

Access to Information

Our Policy

The Toronto Public Library Board will make information about the Library available to the public, and will protect the privacy of all personal information in its custody in keeping with the access and privacy provisions of MFIPPA and other applicable legislation.

Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Access to Information & Protection of Privacy Policy

Our Commitment

When you visit the Toronto Public Library website, your personal information will not be collected unless you choose to use and receive online products and services that require it. Your personal information will then only be used to provide you with Library services and programs, that you select, and for no other purpose. In addition, the Library does not monitor or track what websites you visit when using library computers.

Logging Practices

The Toronto Public Library collects IP addresses (an IP address is a number that can uniquely identify a specific computer or other network device on the internet) from visitors to Toronto Public Library websites.

The Library's web servers log pages visited on the Toronto Public Library's website and the type of searches done on them.

Toronto Public Library currently uses Google Analytics to gain insight into the way the Library's websites are used - what content is most popular, what times of day people visit the site, what types of computers/web browsers visitors are using, etc. Your searches remain confidential and anonymous. The Library only uses this information for statistical purposes, to find out which pages users find most useful.This information helps us make our online services better.

The data retrieved from Google Analytics is aggregated and anonymous; we are not able to connect it with any individual user. For users who prefer to disable Google Analytics tracking Google provides a browser add-on that automatically prevents any usage information from being sent to Google Analytics. The link to this add-on is provided below.

Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on

For more information on Google Analytics, please review their privacy overview.

The library employs the use of encryption during the login procedure on its website. The transmission of your library card number and PIN is encrypted.


A cookie is a small amount of data, which often includes a unique identifier that is sent to your computer or mobile phone or device (referred to here as a "device") browser from a website's computer and is stored on your device's hard drive. Each website can send its own cookie to your browser if your preferences allow it. Many websites do this whenever a user visits their website in order to track online traffic flows.

During the course of any visit to a Toronto Public Library website, the pages you see, along with a cookie, are downloaded to your device. Many websites do this, because cookies enable website publishers to do useful things like find out whether the device (and probably its user) has visited the website before. This is done on a repeat visit by checking to see, and finding, the cookie left there on the last visit.

a. How does the Toronto Public Library use cookies?

Information supplied by cookies is used to keep track of your connection to Toronto Public Library websites. This is known as a "session". This allows us to make sure we transmit the information back your computer correctly. When you close your browser after each visit to Toronto Public Library's website "Session" related cookies are removed.

Certain other areas of the Toronto Public Library website use cookies for specific reasons when using that part of the Library's service. If this is the case, the local terms for that area of the website will make this clear and you should refer to those local terms for additional information.

b. Third Party Cookies

Toronto Public Library leverages third party websites in order to deliver its online services. These websites may be used to download e-books, complete surveys, provide access to subscribed content such as research articles, and social networks.

During your visit to Toronto Public Library websites you may notice some cookies that are not related to the Toronto Public Library. When you visit a page with content embedded from, for example YouTube or Flickr, you may be presented with cookies from these websites. The Toronto Public Library does not control the dissemination of these cookies. You should check the third party websites for more information about these.

c. How to reject cookies?

Each web browser enables users to set preference specific to the handling of cookies. Please refer to the settings and preferences that are available in your web browser.

Note that if you decide to reject cookies from Toronto Public Library websites, some aspects of the Toronto Public Library website may be unavailable to you.

External Links Disclaimer

Some of the Toronto Public Library's websites link to other sites created and maintained by other public and/or private sector organizations. The Library provides these links solely for your information and convenience. When you link to an outside website, you are leaving the Toronto Public Library website and the Library's information management policies no longer apply. The Library encourages you to read the privacy statement of each and every website that you visit before you provide any personal information.

Electronic Communication

If you choose to contact Library staff using an e-mail address (e.g., Ask a Librarian), a discussion forum, library blog, text message or other electronic communication method, or if you choose to complete an online form provided on the Toronto Public Library website (e.g., Customer Feedback Form) you may be asked to provide your name, e-mail address or other personal information.

You will be provided with a notice of collection statement which includes the Library's legal authority for the collection, the principal purpose(s) for which the personal information is intended to be used, and the title, business address and business telephone number of a Library officer or employee who can answer questions about the collection.

The purpose of collecting this information is to allow staff to respond to your enquiry or to evaluate individual web services. Only authorized staff will have access to the information provided and the information will only be used for the purpose it was intended.

Completed surveys are sent to staff anonymously. We will only ask you to provide us with a method of contacting you (e-mail, phone, fax or mailing address) if you wish to be included in future surveys or wish to have us respond to you.

More Information

The Toronto Public Library website and all its gateways are governed by the policies and principles outlined above. For more information relating to your privacy and the Toronto Public Library's electronic services contact:

Policy, Planning & Performance Management
Toronto Public Library
789 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON
M4W 2G8

Phone: 416-395-5604

Access to Information

General Information

General information on the operations of Toronto Public Library (the Library) is available on the Toronto Public Library's website and can be accessed free of charge. General information available on the Toronto Public Library's website includes the following:

Personal Information

Your personal information relating to material that you have out on loan is available online should you wish to access it. All you need is your Library card barcode and your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Your PIN is a security code that allows the Library to verify that a request to access your account is authorized by you. Once your information is verified, you can access your personal information relating to material you have out on loan on the Toronto Public Library website. If you require help with this a staff member will gladly assist you, or you can check the TPL website for instructions.

How to Make a Formal Access Request

In addition to the information that is available on the Toronto Public Library website, you have the right to request access to general records or personal information (information about yourself), or request a correction to personal information. Your identity will need to be confirmed before you are provided with access to your personal information. The Library reserves the right to charge fees for requests as outlined in the MFIPPA Regulations. Such fees may include search/retrieval time, photocopying charges, and time spent preparing records for disclosure.

The Library asks that you submit your request in writing. An Access Request Form (PDF) is available both on the Toronto Public Library website and in all branches for you to fill out. If you choose to write a letter rather than fill out a form please include the following:

All formal access requests will be directed to the Policy, Planning & Performance Management department, who will then review each request to determine if the Library will disclose the requested information. The Policy, Planning & Performance Management department will also receive and address all privacy complaints the Library receives. The department can be reached at:

Information Request
C/O Policy, Planning & Performance Management

Toronto Public Library
789 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON
M4W 2G8

Phone: 416-395-5604

Request for Access to Information by the Public Form (PDF)

You will be notified if access is granted or denied to the records you have requested and which exemptions, if any, apply.

Right to Appeal an Access Decision

Requesters of information can appeal the Library's decision about access to the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC). In order to make an appeal, you must complete an Appeal Form or write a letter to the IPC's Registrar within 30 days of receiving the Library's decision. This correspondence must include a description of the circumstances of your case, a copy of the Library's decision, and, if available, a copy of your original access request to the Library. You will also have to include the appropriate fee as required by the IPC. Once your appeal request has been processed, the IPC will send you a written confirmation, explaining whether your appeal will be:

How to Correct Your Personal Information Held by the Library

If you believe there is a mistake in your personal information, you have a right to ask for it to be corrected. We may ask you to provide documentation to show where the Library's files are incorrect. MFIPPA provides you with the right to request correction of your personal information held by the Library if you believe there is an error or omission. You are entitled to attach a statement of disagreement to the information reflecting any correction you requested but was not made by the Library. The Library will notify any person or organization to whom your personal information was disclosed within the year before you requested correction and advise them about the correction or statement of disagreement.