University of Toronto Libraries

The University of Toronto Libraries system is the largest academic library in Canada and is ranked third among peer institutions in North America, behind only Harvard and Yale.[1] The system consists of 40 libraries located on University of Toronto's three university campuses: St. George (downtown Toronto), Mississauga and Scarborough.[2] This array of college libraries, special collections, and specialized libraries and information centres supports the teaching and research requirements of 215 graduate programs, over 60 professional programs, and more than 700 undergraduate degree programs. In addition to more than 12 million print volumes in 341 languages, the library system currently provides access to 150,467 journal titles, millions of electronic resources in various forms and almost 30,000 linear metres of archival material.[2] More than 150,000 new print volumes are acquired each year.

University of Toronto Libraries
Robarts Library
LocationToronto, Ontario, Canada
TypeAcademic library
Items collectedBooks, journals, newspapers, sound recordings, databases, maps, drawings and manuscripts
Size12+ million print books, 5.6 million microforms, 1.9 million digital books, 150,467 journal titles, 29,554 linear metres archival material
Other information

The largest library in the system is the Robarts Library, which houses the main collection of social sciences and humanities research resources at the University of Toronto. The Robarts Library complex is also home to the central Libraries’ administrative offices, exhibit galleries, Scotiabank Information Commons, Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library, Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library, Map & Data Library, Petro Jacyk Central & East European Resource Centre and the Media Commons. Robarts Library is only accessible to University of Toronto students, faculty, staff, and those with a valid ID card.[3][4]

The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is connected to Robarts Library and is open to the public.[5] It houses both the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections and the University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services.[6] It is Canada's largest rare book library and its holdings include books, manuscripts, maps, and graphic and audiovisual material covering a broad range of subjects and time periods.[6][7]

Also located in St. George campus, the Gerstein Science Information Centre is the main library for the science and health science disciplines. In addition to the centre's comprehensive print collection, there is a vast selection of health and scientific databases and indexes available online.[8]

Partnerships and collaboration


The University of Toronto Libraries system is a member of the Association of Research Libraries, Canadian Association of Research Libraries, and the Ontario Council of University Libraries.[9][10][11]






  • Eberhard Zeidler Library (architecture)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics Library (closed, merged with Physics Library)[13]
  • Department of Art Library
  • Milt Harris Library (business)
  • A. D. Allen Library (chemistry)
  • Criminology Information Service & Library
  • Harry R. Abbott Library (dentistry)
  • Noranda Earth Sciences Library
  • Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library (East Asian studies)
  • OISE Library (education)
  • Engineering and Computer Science Library
  • First Nations House Library
  • Richard Charles Lee Canada-Hong Kong Library (Hong Kong studies)
  • Newman Library (industrial relations and human resources)
  • Bora Laskin Law Library (law)
  • Mathematical Sciences Library (mathematics and the statistical sciences)
  • Pontifical Institute of Mediæval Studies Library
  • Music Library
  • Physics Library
  • Petro Jacyk Central & East European Resource Centre (Russia & East Central Europe studies)

Chief librarians


University Librarian

  • John McCaul (1843–1852)
  • John William Small (1852–1853)
  • Alexander Lorimer (1854–1868)
  • John Edgeworth Thomson (1868–1972)
  • William Henry Van der Smissen (1873–1891)
  • Hugh Hornby Langton (1892–1923)
  • William Stewart Wallace (1923–1954)

Chief Librarian

  • Robert Harold Blackburn (1954–1981)
  • Marilyn Sharrow (1982–1985)
  • Carol Moore (1986–2011)
  • Larry Paul Alford (2011–present)


  1. ^ "Principal Component Scores ARL Library Investment Index Description and Worksheets". ARL Statistics. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b "About". University of Toronto Libraries. Archived from the original on 6 April 2024. Retrieved 6 April 2024.
  3. ^ Libraries, University of Toronto (2014-11-26). "Members of the public". Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  4. ^ "Robarts Library stack access (floors 9-13)". 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2019-08-26.
  5. ^ Libraries, University of Toronto. "Visit | University of Toronto Libraries". Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  6. ^ a b "About Us". 2012-05-15. Retrieved 2019-08-26.
  7. ^ Sung, Jenny (15 April 2016). "Rare books: Thomas Fisher library has Canada's largest collection". retrieved 11 March 2021.
  8. ^ "About us | Gerstein Science Information Centre". Retrieved 2019-08-26.
  9. ^ Administrator. "List of ARL Members". Association of Research Libraries. Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  10. ^ "Members". Canadian Association of Research Libraries. Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  11. ^ "University of Toronto | Ontario Council of University Libraries". Retrieved 2022-12-10.
  12. ^ "Libraries and Departments". University of Toronto Libraries. University of Toronto Libraries. Archived from the original on 29 March 2024. Retrieved 6 April 2024.
  13. ^ "Research Resources in Physics". Retrieved 2024-05-09.