Ontario has collected statistics from public libraries (formerly known as Free Libraries and Mechanics’ Institutes) since the late 19th century. These early surveys focused on:

  • cardholders
  • collections
  • classes offered

In 1999, the Ontario Public Library Statistics program entered the digital age as one of the first provincial government programs to gather information for publication via the internet.

Annual Survey of Public Libraries

Each year, public libraries and First Nation public libraries must complete the Annual Survey of Public Libraries (ASPL).

The ASPL requires libraries to report on several key metrics including:

  • use of technology and digital services
  • types of activities and programs they offer

The government publishes reports on the survey results through the Ontario public library statistics program. The survey is updated every year to reflect changes in the public library sector.

Statistical reports by population group

Ontario’s public library statistics are one of the most comprehensive and current data sets in North America.

Access the statistics from previous years on the Ontario Data Catalogue.

2022 statistical reports

2021 statistical reports