Guelph Public Library

Visit the Guelph Public Library’s website at for 24-7 access to the library’s catalogue.  Here you can check your account online, renew your items or even place a request on various library items.  You can also find out details about the GPL’s hours of service including the Bookmobile schedule, view the Archives photo gallery, and discover the many program offerings available for children, teens, and adults.  There is something for everyone at your Guelph Public Library!

The Guelph Public Library has deep cultural roots in the historic heart of Guelph. In 1832, the first circulating library began operation in the backroom of a merchant’s store. Eighteen years later on January 14th, 1850, local citizens gathered for the purpose of organizing a Farmer’s and Mechanic’s Institute in Guelph. Within a few months, a library was collected and a reading room was opened for the use of all members. By 1851, this room held 404 volumes and boasted 119 members.

In 1882, the Free Libraries Act was passed allowing municipalities to establish libraries supported by local taxes. The City of Guelph was the first in Ontario to take advantage of this Act. The Guelph Public Library was founded on February 10th, 1883 making its services available to everyone in the city. In 1883, 16,485 books were circulated which has dramatically increased to over 2.1 million items 130 years later.

As the oldest free public library in Ontario, the GPL has evolved to meet the changing demands of our ever-expanding city. 1975 saw an addition to the Main Library and in 1976 the Bookmobile Service was added. The neighbourhood branch system was established in 1984 when Bullfrog Mall Branch opened. This was quickly followed by the Scottsdale Centre Branch in 1986. A third library location was introduced as part of the West End Recreation Centre in 2001 and Westminster Square, the largest neighbourhood branch, opened its doors in November 2006. The GPL’s newest location, East Side, opened in May 2010. This branch is the greenest library in the city with an impressive Gold LEED® certification.

Learn more about the library’s locations and services.

With the continuing expansion of the virtual library and plans for a larger new Main Library, the Guelph Public Library continues to fulfill its mission to serve the changing needs of the city’s population. These enhanced services and facilities serve both as a gateway to the information networks of the world as well as a key cultural and community focal point.

Guelph Public Library Purpose

The Guelph Public Library benefits the entire community by providing lifelong learning opportunities.

We believe in the freedom to read, learn and discover.

Guelph Public Library Vision

The Guelph Public Library Board and staff envision a future where our customers:

Know us. We are on your speed dial, just like your best friend. You visit the Guelph Public Library in person or from the comfort of your home.

Trust us. You come to us when you need reliable information fast! You recognize the Guelph Public Library as an essential part of your daily life.

Are proud of us. You share the library’s story with friends and show us off to visitors.

Inspire us. We see you learning new technologies, doing business and enjoying a good book. You recognize that the Guelph Public Library makes Guelph a better place to live.

This is the future we envision for Guelph.

For more information

For more information about the Guelph Public Library, phone 519-824-6220 or visit