About Us

View from the upper level

The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library houses the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections including books, manuscripts and other materials, and the University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services (UTARMS), which holds the official records of the University.

The present building was opened in 1973. It is named in honour of Thomas Fisher (1792-1874), who came from Yorkshire to Upper Canada in 1821 and settled by the Humber River. There he operated a grist mill, and played an active role in the public life of the community. In 1973 his great- grandsons, Sidney and Charles Fisher, donated to the Library their own collections of Shakespeare, various twentieth century authors, and the etchings of the seventeenth century Bohemian artist, Wenceslaus Hollar. Since that time the Library has grown to approximately 800,000 volumes and 4,500 linear metres of archival manuscript holdings.

Our mandate
As one of the leading research libraries in North America, the mandate of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is to foster the search for knowledge by supporting research and learning across all disciplines taught at the University of Toronto. The Library acquires, makes accessible and preserves comprehensive research collections of national and international significance. It serves the faculty, staff, students and alumni of the University, as well as the general public and the broader community.