Here's how Toronto Public Library's programs can help get you through the new year

The Toronto Public Library has a variety of programs and services to help Torontonians navigate through the challenges of a changing workforce and economy.  (Michael Wilson/CBC - image credit)
The Toronto Public Library has a variety of programs and services to help Torontonians navigate through the challenges of a changing workforce and economy. (Michael Wilson/CBC - image credit)

Though celebrations for a new year are coming up, the financial and social hardships of the pandemic will continue to be felt by many.

The Toronto Public Library (TPL) has a wide range of programs that can provide support. Whether it's with help navigating finances or a second set of eyes on a resumé, your local library is there for you to use for free.

Speaking recently on CBC Radio's Metro Morning, TPL's adult programs manager Craig Todd-Langille said the library is a judgement-free zone, which eliminates a major barrier many low-income individuals experience when seeking help.

"We're excited to enter a new year and serve Torontonians toward continued post-pandemic recovery," Todd-Langille said.

"Our services and programs support key needs such as social inclusion, personal and professional development, and access to space and resources."

In-person and virtual TPL programs

In 2020 TPL launched its strategic plan titled Vital to Toronto, with the goal of "building more resilience, success and well-being for our city and its residents," their website states.

Part of TPL's mission is to keep up with Torontonians' changing needs. The current programs highlight some of the primary struggles brought on by the pandemic, such as feelings of social isolation, lack of digital access and growing financial stress.

Below is a small selection of in-person and virtual TPL programs that may ease the transition into the new year.

1. Personal Finance

TPL has regular workshops and seminars to help you make the most out of your money while spending less.

The program page says: "We help you focus on maximizing your income through all stages of your life, from student loans to living on your RRSP."

Some of the recent programs included managing finances in retirement and how to move ahead financially after losing your job.

Coming up after the holidays is an educational seminar on the powers of attorney and the importance of making a will. It will take place on Jan. 16 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Malvern branch.

Shutterstock / Morakot Kawinchan
Shutterstock / Morakot Kawinchan

The Humberwood branch will hold a financial literacy seminar on Jan.17 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. that will include advice on how to set and achieve savings goals.

On Jan. 19 there will also be a virtual seminar on stock market basics from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

TPL also recently introduced a pilot project called the Financial Empowerment Program, as part of the city's Poverty Reduction Strategy. Customers can register for support in a variety of categories, such as filing taxes, budgeting and navigating benefits. Financial support agents are currently available at the Riverdale and Downsview branches. Appointments can be made online or in-person.

2. Youth Hubs

Several TPL branches have spaces just for youth. All age groups were impacted by the pandemic, including young people who missed out on certain educational and social experiences during crucial stages of their development.

The library offers programs for young people to help build back these essential life skills.

The Fairview branch will be hosting a workshop on building interview skills on Jan. 9 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. There will be another in-person workshop at the Albion branch on Feb. 4 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Teens can learn the best practices for job searching in a workshop at the Albert Campbell branch on Jan. 16 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The session will include how to search for jobs on online engines such as Indeed and LinkedIn.

Parents may also be interested in having their teens attend a safety and prevention seminar with Toronto Police Services at the Cedarbrae branch on Jan. 19 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

3. Workforce development

Workforce and job skill development is a major focus in TPL's goal of equipping individuals with tools needed to thrive in Toronto's changing economy.

The Lillian H. Smith branch will be conducting a class in creating resumés with Word on Jan. 16 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., which includes formatting and using grammar and spell-check tools.

Personal branding is gaining importance in the workforce, but to many it's a new concept. The Deer Park branch will be holding a workshop for building your own brand on LinkedIn. It will be hosted by social media influencer and author Adam Rodricks and will take place on Jan. 24 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

If you're interested in learning about how to use transferable skills to land a job, career coach Esther Shin will be leading an online workshop Jan. 25 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Additional programs coming up include effective public speaking, networking and PowerPoint basics.

More information about the programs are available on the TPL website.