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Getting started at U of T Libraries

The top 10 things you need to know for your first few weeks on campus

1. Get your TCard

Your TCard = your library card. It is also used for

  • Printing or photocopying in the library (put $$ on it first)
  • Accessing library resources off-campus
  • Accessing student services and facilities across campus, including athletic centres


How to get your TCard

Visit a TCard office to get yours; there's one on every campus. Try to get your TCard before September to avoid the lines! Don't forget to activate it.

Remember to bring

  • Valid government photo ID (i.e. driver's licence, photo health card, passport)
  • Your offer of admission which bears your University of Toronto student/applicant number

More about TCards

2. Study at the library

There are 44 libraries across 3 campuses at U of T, each with different hours. Look around for the best space to suit your study style. 

students studying at the Map and Data library

  • Robarts Library
    • Large study rooms on floors 2-5
    • Group study rooms, floors 5, 9-13 (first come, first serve)
    • Presentation practice rooms, 1st floor (bookable in person)
    • 24-hour computer workstations and study space, floors 1-2 (Sunday-Thursday, mid-September to late April)
  • Gerstein Science Information Centre
    • Morrison Pavillion
    • Gerstein Reading Room
    • Group study rooms with wireless access (bookable online. Log-in required)
  • OISE Library
    • Group study rooms on the concourse level (open to U of T community)
  • College Libraries
  • UTM Library
    • Study areas on all floors, zoned by noise level
    • Group study rooms (bookable online. Log-in required)
  • UTSC Library
    • Group study rooms (bookable online. Log-in required)


3. Get online

You can connect to our wireless network with your UTORid and password.

No laptop? No problem!

There are computer workstations available throughout the library.

student working at a library computer

Locate an available computer through the real-time listing for the following locations

Some libraries also loan out laptops and tablets.  

4. Print and photocopy

There are printers, photocopiers, and scanners at many U of T libraries. You can even print wirelessly from your laptop or mobile device.

You'll need to put money on your TCard to print and photocopy. It normally costs between $0.10 and $0.15 per page.  Also, bring a USB key if you want to use the scanners. 

We even have a 3D printer!

#D printer with laptop

More about printing, copying, and scanning

5. Borrow books

There are over 12 million books available through U of T Libraries. As an undergraduate student, you can borrow up to 50 items (books, DVDs) at a time for 14 days. Items can be renewed up to three times if there is not a hold on them. 

So how do you find and borrow a book? Watch this short (46 seconds!) video to learn more...

How do I find a book again?

  • Type the title of the book in the library homepage. Check 'search by title' and click 'search'
  • You should see your book come up in the books section. Click on the title
  • Write down the
    • call number (i.e. PR 5924 O89)
    • library (i.e. Robarts, Gerstein, OISE)
    • location in the library (i.e. 'Stacks', 'Course Reserves')

Once you have your book(s), bring them to the library's circulation desk to check the book out or use one of our self-checkout machines. 

More about borrowing books

6. Be a good (library) neighbour

Students care passionately about their library spaces.  Our conduct regulations help create a safe and respectful environment for everyone who uses the library.  

7. Find your course textbooks

Instructors often reserve textbooks or other required readings in a special section of the library called "short term loan" or "course reserves".  You can check these books out for a short amount of time (usually a few hours) to read or photocopy parts of it.  

Look up your course by name, code, or professor in the Course Reserves database to find out what's on reserve for your course.

More about course reserves

8. Ask for help

Library staff members are here to help you.  We are research experts who can help you save time and energy when using the library for your assignments.

In person

a librarian helping a student



  • Call 416-978-8450

9. Take advantage of the library's collection

If you're only using Google, you're missing out. The library's website gives you access to the largest and richest library collection in Canada including materials that are behind a paywall on Google.  Don't pay for stuff that you could access for free with your UTORid!

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

Ways to explore the collection

  • Library Catalogue: Search for books, e-books, and many other kinds of materials by title, author, or topic.
  • Article Search (Summon): Articles from magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals. Search by title, author, or topic.
  • Old Exams Database: See past versions of your course's exam. Requires UTORid login

Access from off campus

Login with your UTORid and password to get off campus access to almost all of our online books, articles, and other materials.

We don't have it?

If we don't have an item that you need, we can get it for you from another library at no cost to you.

10. Learn more

The University of Toronto library system can seem daunting at first, but there are lots of ways to familiarize yourself with it.


Library tours orient you to the layout of the library and show you things you might not discover on your own. We have in person tours at several libraries that are either drop in or arranged ahead of time.  You can also take a self guided or vitual tour, or check out our YouTube profile video series:


Library workshops are a great way to learn how to do library research now that you're in university.  We offer free classes in person and online about

  • Finding scholarly sources
  • Creating proper bibliographies
  • Evaluating websites and other internet sources
  • Tools to help you get organized