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.

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Past Programs & Events

Special Events
Artist File Fair with EMILIA-AMALIA, no. 2
Saturday November 30, 2019, 1 - 3 pm

EMILIA-AMALIA and the Edward P. Taylor Library & Archives at the Art Gallery of Ontario invite BIPOC, womxn, and trans artists to contribute to the AGO’s collection of more than 20,000 artist files that document the practices of artists in Canada since 1915.

This year, EMILIA-AMALIA is working within the framework of HOLES AND HOW TO FILL THEM as an organizing principle and guiding metaphor. Designed as a test-site…

Special Events
Library & Archives Unshelved: Highlights from the Rare Book Collection
Wednesday November 27, 6 - 8 pm (drop-in)

This  drop-in series, hosted by AGO librarians and archivists, gives visitors a first-hand glimpse of highlights from the Edward P. Taylor Library & Archives collection. For this installment, Librarian Larry Pfaff looks back over his forty-four year tenure at the AGO and selects some of his favourite rare books and prints from the vaults. Please visit the…

Special Events
Artist in the Archives: Pamila Matharu in Conversation with Gabrielle Moser
Wednesday November 20, 2019 | 6:00 pm

Join artist Pamila Matharu for a screening of stuck between an archive and an aesthetic, a new experimental documentary recently featured at A Space Gallery as part of the 32nd Images Festival of Independent Film + Video. Mining lost and forgotten voices reverberating inside the institution, Matharu uses event documentation from found videotapes to explore what is…

Talks
Legal Intersections #4: Setting up a Professional Practice
Monday November 4, 6 - 8 pm

Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers, OCADU, 3rd Floor, Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, 115 McCaul

Legal Intersections is a four-part series addressing legal issues of importance to artists, designers, and cultural workers. The series is presented in collaboration with the Artists’ Legal Advice Services, the Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers at OCAD University, and the Edward P. Taylor Library & Archives at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

This last installment in the…

Special Events
Library & Archives Unshelved: Artists at Play
October 26, 6–8 pm (drop-in)

Librarian Donald Rance presents a selection of artist books and multiples, featuring pieces by Yoko Ono and more. This collection will explore the ways that artists have experimented with games and play in their work.

Talks
Legal Intersections #3: Intro to Artist Contracts
Wednesday September 25, 5:30 - 7:00 pm

Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers, OCADU, 3rd Floor, Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, 115 McCaul.

In this third installment of the Legal Intersections series, join Naomi Johnson, Associate Director at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and Paul Sanderson, Barrister and Solicitor, Owner…

Special Events
Library & Archives Unshelved: Kathleen Munn
Wednesday September 25, 6-8 pm (drop in), talk at 7 pm

The Unshelved series gives visitors a first-hand glimpse of highlights from the AGO Library & Archives collection. This month’s event celebrates the Canadian modernist painter Kathleen Munn. Join co-hosts Stephanie Barnes, Koerner Fellow in Painting Conservation, and Amy Furness, Rosamond Ivey Special Collections Archivist and Head, Library & Archives, for a…

Special Events
Michael Bidner Out of the Archives
Saturday September 14, 1 - 5 pm (Talk 3 - 4 pm in Seminar Room 1)

In conjunction with Canzine, join Jason Dickson for a talk on Canadian indie xerox, artistamp, and serigraphy pioneer Michael Bidner. Bidner worked on the bleeding edge of emergent media from the 1970s until his death from AIDS in 1989. Dickson will draw on material from Michael Bidner’s personal archives, held in the AGO Library’s special collections, to discuss the work and legacy of the artist. 

Talks
Legal Intersections #2: Alternative Working & Studio Spaces
Wednesday June 12, 2019, 7 - 9 pm

Join Jordana Wright, Managing Director of Activate Space,  Dave Sorbara,  Founding Partner at Signal and Ryan Martin, Partner at Aura LLP for a discussion about the challenges that arts workers in the GTA face with finding affordable and appropriate working and living spaces. The panel will discuss some of the unique ways creators can set up places to work, create, and live, as well as answer legal questions you may have about these spaces.

Special Events
Library & Archives Unshelved: Historic Grange Park
Wednesday May 29, 2019, 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 May’s event, AGO Archivist Marilyn Nazar presents early pictorial representations of Grange Park, drawn from the archives.

Talks
Rainbow for a Roof: Artists' Housing in Toronto
Wednesday May 22, 2019, 7 pm

Since the mid-1980s, Ric Amis has been instrumental in the creation of artist housing initiatives in Toronto. In this talk, Amis will draw on archival documents recently donated to the AGO to tell the story of how the Beaver Hall Artists’ Housing Coop and the Lakeshore Village Artists’ Coop emerged in response to issues of affordability in Toronto. These stories provide a historical context for the current crisis of affordable…

Special Events
Library & Archives Unshelved: The Youth Council Presents...
Wednesday April 17, 2019 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.  April's event is guest hosted by the AGO Youth Council, who present a selection of documents and ephemera from the council's history uncovered as they prepare to transfer their materials to the AGO archives. Drop by anytime between 6 to 8 pm to chat with Youth Council members and explore their…

 

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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