Edward P. Taylor Library & Archives

The E.P. Taylor Library & Archives is a leading Canadian centre for research in art.

Our collections include over 300,000 volumes (including rare books and artist books), artist files, and art-related archives and special collections including the historical records of the AGO. In addition to supporting research related to the AGO’s art collections and exhibitions, we welcome visiting researchers from the museum and academic communities as well as the general public. Through our public programs, visitors can engage with our specialized collections and staff.

The Library & Archives is open free of charge to the public. Our collections do not circulate.

 


Search our online catalogue

Please use the online catalogue to search for book titles in advance of your visit.

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What's in our Collection?

Learn about the Library & Archives collection areas and view collection highlights.

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Library Hours


Plan your visit

Main collections, rare books and artists’ books can be accessed without an appointment any time during our open hours. You are welcome to email us in advance of your visit so we can retrieve these materials and let you make the most of your time while you are here. Please note that we are unable to retrieve rare books and artists' books on evenings and weekends, so these items must be requested in advance of an evening or weekend visit. For access to archives and special collections, please see the section below.

Our reading room is equipped with Wifi and electrical outlets at each table. Two computer workstations are available for searching and research in the reference area.

Researchers are welcome to use their own digital devices to make reproductions for research and private study use only.

Lockers ($1) and a coat closet are available in the library reference area for coats, bags and other items that may not be brought into the reading room.


Using Archives and Special Collections

Detailed finding aids are available at the Library & Archives for most of the AGO’s institutional archives.

Special Collections holdings may be searched using our AGO AtoM database. This search tool is a work in progress and includes links to detailed online finding aids (in PDF format) where available. Please be aware that many finding aids remain in hard copy only, and may be consulted onsite. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

Access to Archives and Special Collections is open to the public, but you need to make an appointment so we can help you find the material you need and have it ready for you in advance. Appointments can be made at mutually convenient times within regular business hours by emailing our archives staff library.archives@ago.ca. For more information, please call 416-979-6642.

All Archives and Special Collections researchers need to register, which involves supplying your contact information and agreeing to abide by the reading room rules.


Reading Room Rules

These rules are designed to help us protect our collections. We ask that you adhere to them in order to help us ensure their availability for future generations. All researchers, by signing their registration, agree to abide by these rules.

Rules When Visiting

Personal Items
  • Personal belongings including briefcases, oversize purses, backpacks, folders, umbrellas, and outerwear such as overcoats and raincoats may not be taken into the Reading Rooms. A coat and bag check is available at the AGO entrance, or the lockers and coat rack outside the Library door may be used. Small purses, wallets, research notes, personal computers, and digital cameras may be taken into the Reading Rooms. The Art Gallery of Ontario is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
     
  • We reserve the right to inspect bags and folders when you leave the Reading Rooms.
     
  • Eating and drinking are prohibited in the Reading Rooms. This includes chewing gum and candy. Smoking is prohibited throughout the Gallery.
     
  • ONLY PENCILS MAY BE USED in the Reading Rooms, due to the potentially damaging residue from ink. Pencils and a pencil sharpener are available at the Reference Desk.
Handling Materials
  • Collections MUST NOT be removed from the Reading Rooms.
     
  • All material must be handled carefully. You are responsible while it is in your custody. Please:
     

    • Do not place open volumes face down.
    • Do not write on or otherwise mark records or books
    • Do not lay paper for note taking on top of documents or books.
    • For archival records, remove only one file at a time from a container.
    • Do not re-arrange archival records in any way.
    • Use the nitrile gloves provided when handling photographs.
    • If in doubt about any aspect of handling, please ask.
  • Research by groups (two or more persons) can pose additional risk to collections; we will consider requests for group research appointments on a case-by-case basis. Additional guidelines for handling collections may apply in these situations.
Copying Materials
  • Self-service photography of collections for research purposes may be permitted, as long as guidelines for safe handling are followed. The laws of copyright apply to Library & Archives collections. Images taken by researchers are to be used only for purposes of private study and research. Please ask a staff member for more information.
     
  • The E. P. Taylor Research Library and Archives provides various photocopying and reproduction services, subject always to copyright, donor agreements and the physical condition of the collections. Self-service photocopying of archival materials is not permitted. If you require photocopies or reproductions, please ask for further information.
     
  • Access to some records may be restricted. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission to view these records from the person or agency imposing the restrictions.

 

Upcoming Programs & Events

Library & Archives programs provide opportunities for members of the public to have meaningful encounters with the library and its collections. Past programs have included Wikipedia edit-a-thons, reading groups, displays and tours of archival materials, lectures, and hands-on workshops. All library programs are free of charge, and participants do not require a gallery admission ticket. We also welcome classes and groups to the library for customized visits focusing on topics such as artists’ books, art historical research, and art archives. To arrange a visit please contact us at library.archives@ago.ca or 416-979-6642.

Talks
An Introduction to the Alternative Toronto Digital Community Archive
Wednesday February 27, 7-8 pm

Join Dr. Lilian Radovac for a talk about the project Alternative Toronto. Alternative Toronto is a collaborative digital community archive that documents Toronto’s alternative cultures, scenes and spaces of the 1980s and 1990s.

Past Programs & Events

Special Events
Library & Archives Unshelved: Printmaking Processes in Illustrated Books
Wednesday January 30, 6--8pm (drop-in)

This monthly drop-in hosted by AGO librarians and archivists gives visitors a first-hand glimpse of highlights from the Edward P. Taylor Library & Archives collection. For this event, Librarian Larry Pfaff has assembled a display of illustrated rare books, dating from the 16th–20th centuries, each demonstrating a unique…

Special Events
Library & Archives Unshelved: Building the AGO Collection
Wednesday December 5, 6--8 pm (drop-in)

This monthly drop-in hosted by AGO librarians and archivists gives visitors a first-hand glimpse of highlights from the Edward P. Taylor Library & Archives collection. For this event, inspired by the #InfinityAGO campaign, AGO Archivist Marilyn Nazar and Archives Assistant Hannah Johnston reveal the stories behind…

Talks
Visualizing Toronto Imaginaries: Magazines and Metadata with Felicity Tayler
Wednesday October 24, 7 - 8:30

Join Felicity Tayler as she discusses her research into the social networks of three magazines, Fireweed, Fuse, and Border/Lines, which emerged between 1976 and 1986 in Toronto.

Using network analysis, Tayler creates visual images that map the social ties among writers, designers, editors and others who…

Special Events
Library & Archives Unshelved: Artists' Books, Multiples, and Ephemera
September 26, 6-8 pm (drop-in)

This monthly drop-in hosted by AGO librarians and archivists gives visitors a first-hand glimpse of highlights from the AGO Library & Archives collection. For September's event, Librarian Donald Rance has assembled a display of artists’ books, multiples and ephemera. Ranging from the historical to the contemporary, the selection features works by the Fluxus Group, General Idea, Becky Singleton, Lise Melhorn…

Special Events
Library & Archives Unshelved: Canzine Edition
Saturday September 22, 1-5 pm

In conjunction with the Canzine festival, the E.P. Taylor Library & Archives is hosting a special edition of the Library & Archives Unshelved series. This drop-in hosted by AGO librarians and archivists gives visitors a first-hand glimpse of highlights from the AGO Library & Archives collection. For this event, Librarian Donald Rance has assembled a display of artists’ books, multiples and ephemera. Ranging from the historical to the contemporary,…

Special Events
Frances Loring and Florence Wyle: Their Wills and Testaments, and The Sculpture Fund
Wednesday July 4, 6-8 pm

Join Vancouver-based 221A Fellow Amy Nugent at the E.P. Taylor Library & Archives for a special Toronto Art Book Fair Week event devoted to the Wills and Testaments of sculptors Frances Loring (1887–1968) and Florence Wyle (1881–1968). The event centres around a reading of the artists’ wills, highlighting their unfulfilled wishes to have a Sculpture Fund for Canadian art…

Special Events
Library & Archives Unshelved: Documents from Toronto's Artist-Run Centres
Wednesday June 27, 6-8 pm (drop-in)

This monthly drop-in hosted by AGO librarians and archivists gives visitors a first-hand glimpse of highlights from the AGO Library & Archives collection.  In June’s event, Archives Assistant Hannah Johnston presents materials from the Special Collections documenting the history of artist-run centres in Toronto. The display will feature materials produced by Mercer Union, Gallery 44, Factory 77, and Workscene Gallery. Please visit at…

Special Events
Wikipedia Wednesday: Recap
Wednesday June 6, 5-9 pm (tutorial 5:30-6:30)

Calling all writers, editors, and Wiki enthusiasts!

The Art Gallery of Ontario Library & Archives is hosting a Wikipedia editing session to continue the work of diversifying visual arts content and editorship on Wikipedia. 

For our June event, we welcome past collaborators and new editors to help build Wikipedia content on topics related to visual artists and artist collectives in all disciplines. People of all sexualities, gender identities and expressions are welcomed and…

Library & Archives Unshelved: Photo-Based Artist Books
Wednesday May 30, 5-7 pm

This monthly drop-in hosted by AGO librarians and archivists gives visitors a first-hand glimpse of highlights from the AGO Library & Archives collection. For May's event, librarian Donald Rance presents a selection of historical and contemporary photo-based artist books. Please visit at any point from 5 to 7 pm to enjoy a personalized encounter with this collection.

Special Events
Know Your (Copy)Rights!
Wednesday May 23, 6:30 - 7:30 pm

The E.P. Taylor Library & Archives welcomes the AGO’s Copyright Assistant Eva Athanasiu, from the Collection Information department, for an information session on intellectual property for emerging artists. In this workshop Eva will outline how copyright affects artists in their early careers, and what resources they can use to protect their work and grow their artistic practices.

Please note this is an information session, and Eva is unable to provide legal counsel. If you have a specific…

Special Events
Library & Archives Unshelved: The Gallery in 1918
Wednesday April 25, 6-8 PM (Drop-In)

This monthly drop-in hosted by AGO librarians and archivists gives visitors a first-hand glimpse of highlights from the AGO Library & Archives collection. For April's event, Archivist Marilyn Nazar looks back to the planning and construction of the AGO's first building - completed 100 years ago this month - through architectural plans, drawings and photographs.

Special Events
Library & Archives Unshelved: Unheralded Women Artists in the Archive
Wednesday March 28, 6-8 pm (drop-in)

This monthly drop-in hosted by AGO librarians and archivists gives visitors a first-hand glimpse of highlights from the AGO Library & Archives collection.  For March’s event, Head of Library & Archives Amy Furness explores the plentiful archival traces of artists whose work may not be widely known, looking at photographs, questionnaires, sketchbooks and published illustrations. Please visit at any point from 6 to 8 pm to enjoy a personalized…

 

Contacting the Library & Archives

Location

We’re located on the concourse level of the AGO, accessible through the Weston Family Learning Centre or the new south entrance in Grange Park.

View a map of the gallery.

View the AGO location and directions.

Contact us

Phone: 416 979 6642
Fax: 416 979 6602

Email: Library.Archives@ago.ca

Art Gallery of Ontario
E.P. Taylor Library & Archives

317 Dundas Street West
Toronto, Ontario
M5T 1G4

 

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