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Toronto Public Library

With 100 branches, the Toronto Public Library is the largest public library system in Canada, and the world's busiest urban library system. Every year, more than 18.5 million people visit its 99 branches and borrow over 32 million items.

The Toronto Public Library Board is governed by the Public Libraries ActOpens in new window and Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 137, Public Library BoardOpens in new window.

Board responsibilities

The board is responsible for effectively managing library resources and providing quality library services to the people of Toronto.

The board's responsibilities include the following:

  • directing and approving the library's strategic plans, goals, and policies based on community needs, and ensuring that these plans are efficiently and effectively implemented
  • approving the annual operating and capital budgets for recommendation to City Council
  • acting as an advocate for library services and representing the library before City Council and in the community
  • protecting the public's right to read materials of their choice
  • hiring and evaluating the City Librarian, who is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the library and its staff
  • is legally accountable for the library's activities and for ensuring that it complies with all applicable legislation

Board size and composition

The Toronto Public Library Board consists of 10 members composed of:

  • the Mayor or designate
  • 1 member of Council
  • 8 public members

Chair and vice chair

Under the Public Libraries Act, the board elects its chair. The board selects the vice chair from amongst its members.

Term of office

The term of office for public members of the board is four years.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for appointment to the board, public members must meet the eligibility requirements set out in the City's Public Appointments Policy.

The Public Libraries Act requires board members to be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.


In addition to the general eligibility requirements in the Public Appointments Policy, public members collectively should have sound judgement and personal integrity and represent a range of expertise, experience, and achievement in:

  • literature and literacy
  • arts and culture
  • science and technology
  • business
  • financial management
  • philanthropy
  • public sector governance
  • community service
  • community diversity
  • a youthful perspective, defined as an individual in the 18-30 range, is a desired qualification for at least one public member


The board generally meets at 6 p.m. at the Toronto Reference Library located at 789 Yonge Street, on the fourth Monday of each month.

Public members may be asked to serve on library committees, to liaise with community groups, or to represent the library at various events.

Members belong to the Ontario, Canadian, and American Library Associations which hold annual conferences and sponsor other development activities.


  • If the chair is a public member, they receive an annual retainer of $850
  • If the vice chair is a public member, they receive an annual retainer of $600
  • Public members receive an annual retainer of $350

Related links


The current and historical Appointments for this body.

Apply now

Thank you for your interest. City Council appointed a public member to the board at its April 2024 meeting. Applications are always being accepted for future vacancies and will be kept on file for two years from the date submitted.