New & Popular Services

For Our Children

Our children are the future. Early years programming nurtures language development, literacy and a love of books in babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Early learning skills developed by the American Library Association and based on brain development research are incorporated into all early years programming. The library staff demonstrate techniques and skills that parents and caregivers can use to help their children become fluent readers.

Baby Time is for parents and babies ages newborn to 14 months, to develop early connections for a lifetime of language and literacy learning. Toddler Time is for parents and children ages 1-2. This program fosters a love for reading through stories, songs and rhymes. Preschool Stories is for children 3-5. This program provides language and literacy fun featuring stories, songs, rhymes, and a related craft.

Man reading to his kidsThe very popular TD Summer Reader’s Club keeps children 3-11 reading over the summer with innovative programming and strong community partnerships. And let’s not forget the Battle of the Books, an annual event that tests local elementary students' knowledge of books and authors.

Children’s Services staff are also engaged in many community outreach projects, presenting 34 programs to community groups with an attendance of 1,010 people. The staff introduced the library to school classes, daycare organizations and community groups.

Teens have their own corner on the Web with Teen Scene, where they can find help with homework, get answers to real life issues, join a book club, sign up for a program or just find new and interesting titles. Teen Survivor, an online summer reading club, continues to be a huge success with 152 members, 337 written reviews and 4,776 votes cast.

Community partnerships offer exciting programs for children. Paws for Reading, a program offered in partnership with Therapy Dogs of Canada is designed to support children requiring reading support. It was the first of its kind in Simcoe County. Education students from Lakehead University give support to struggling readers through the Circle of Readers Program.

Information Services 

Every day, for 100 years, people have walked through the doors of our library seeking not only books to borrow but also answers to their questions. Customers use the library for reasons that are as unique and as varied as they are. Today, library staff guide people to information that will help them find a job, start a business, repair their car or become a better parent.

Lady with laptopThey also come in to consult some of our many resources, which include: consumer reports, genealogy information, government documents, newspaper and magazine indexes, telephone directories, university and college calendars, and much more. Librarians are excellent resources too, directing people to the right information sources and assisting with in-depth research.

And then there is the local history collection—Orilliana. This is a repository of local history and information—the rich tapestry of Orillia life from pioneer days to the present—it is found nowhere else in the world.

The library provides a place where people can find and explore new ideas and materials through books, books on CD, music CDs, DVDs and e-resources including databases and downloadable e-books. It also provides infinite access to the world via internet by a wireless network and our own public computers.

Community Groups and Meetings

A public library also offers affordable meeting space for community groups. While we have always welcomed members of the community to use the library for meetings, the new Orillia Public Library will be equipped to offer increased community programming and better access for all. The new building will incorporate ample community meeting space.

Indeed, all service areas will benefit from the spacious new building—children and youth programs, reference materials and resources, as well as our community programming.


Much of the Orilliana collection is available nowhere else in the world – detailing the lives of many important Canadian historical and contemporary figures.

The Orillia Public Library has an extensive collection of local historical items such as personal letters, diaries, books, photographs and other ephemera which are contained in the Orilliana collection. This collection is widely used for historical research on Orillia and the surrounding areas and by those researching their family tree.

Some of the material in this collection is the extensive William Sword Frost scrapbook (also known as the Frost Collection) and documents. William Sword Frost cared enough about the history of Orillia to gather photographs, letters and documents for this scrapbook.  Through this collection, an intriguing snapshot of life from the turn of the last century is available to the public. A Glasgow native, who was mayor of Orillia in 1911 and 1912, Frost is perhaps best remembered today as the father of Leslie Miscampbell Frost, who went on to serve as premier of Ontario from 1949 to 1961. The elder Frost is also remembered as “Daylight Bill” for introducing daylight savings time during his tenure. Other collections in our Orilliana section include the works of Stephen Leacock and Gordon Lightfoot. 

The library is seeking financial support to be able to digitally archive, preserve and display these documents in an appropriate manner and to celebrate the richness of our literary traditions.

Orillia Library Art Collection

The Orillia Public Library is blessed with a number of historically and culturally important paintings and sculptures. The library is honoured to accept these as part of the Orilliana collection within our walls and enrich our sense of place in the city, region and our role in Canada’s cultural heritage.

As stewards of these important pieces, the library is seeking support to have all of the art fully restored, appraised and catalogued.

The proper care of our cultural property will preserve it for future generations. Our cultural property is threatened by repeated exposure to a variety of detrimental factors, including excessive light, temperature, and humidity extremes, pests, pollutants, poor handling practices, natural disasters, and accidental damage. At an estimated cost of $250,000 the restoration and preservation of these important artifacts, the survival of this heritage depends on the availability of funds from the public.

Highlights of our collection include work by:

Franklin H Carmichael (member of the Group of seven 1890-1945)
A Northern Village, 1926 - painting
La Cloche Mountains - painting

Arthur Shilling (1941-1986)
Portrait of Three Sisters - painting
Head of a Woman - painting
Two totem poles that have been displayed in the children’s area. They have been well enjoyed by the public, which has made their restoration a priority.

Elizabeth Wyn Wood (1903-1966)
Kateri Tekakwitha (Lily of the Mohawks) – sculpture
C.H. Hale – bronze bust
Mother and Son – bronze sculpture

Vernon March (1891-1930)
Samuel De Champlain – miniature bronze of Couchiching Park statue
Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002)
Portraits of Stephen Leacock - photos