Library celebrates 50th anniversary

Markham Public Library (MPL) turns 50 this year. The library will share virtual programs and activities throughout the year.

To celebrate this milestone birthday, MPL will be removing barriers to access for users by eliminating fines for children and teens.

Children and teens will no longer be charged overdue fines for borrowed library materials that are returned late. MPL’s Fine Free Program removes a barrier to access and ensures that children and teens of all economic backgrounds can enjoy equal opportunities to imagine, create, learn and grow. To qualify, library users will need to update their library card profile by contacting the library. Originally meant to encourage the timely return of borrowed materials, recent studies have shown that overdue fines actually deter people from borrowing from the library.

“This year marks an important milestone for the City of Markham and Markham Public Library as we celebrate 50 years of delivering exceptional services to residents while continuing to do what we do best, innovating,” Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti said. “Markham Public Library is a celebrated institution in our city and has been on the forefront of change throughout the years. I encourage residents to participate in the various programs and services that they have planned to mark this golden anniversary.”

Celebrations continue with the launch of MPL’s new eCard. Residents who are reluctant to leave their homes during COVID-19 or who wish to only use the library’s digital materials will no longer be required to visit a library branch to get a library card. Instead, they can apply for their eCard from the safety and comfort of their own home, minimizing in-person interactions with others as everyone continues to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. MPL’s eCard is environmentally-friendly and provides the same great access to all of the library’s digital collections, resources, and programs. Library users who already have a physical library card do not need to get an eCard. You can apply for your eCard by visiting

Every great birthday bash has some fun activities. The library team has a variety of free virtual programs and activities planned for the rest of the year. Residents are also invited to sign MPL’s digital birthday card at and to follow #MPL50 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for fun facts, flashbacks, contests and other exciting information throughout the year.

Over the past 50 years, MPL has grown with the City of Markham to become an essential player in community success – focused on customer experience, community engagement and innovation. From a union of three individually operated libraries in Markham, Unionville and Thornhill, MPL now enjoys the highest borrowing rate per capita in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) with eight branches across Canada’s most diverse city – serving 351,000 residents. In addition to lending out books, MPL also champions literacy, promotes digital literacy, operates as a community hub, and provides residents with the latest technology in their Makerspaces such as 3D printing, laser engraving, digital media and more.

“MPL is delighted to be marking our 50th anniversary,” said Catherine Biss, CEO of Markham Public Library. “We are proud of what we have achieved over the past 50 years. Since its inception, MPL has been committed to providing excellent library services to the community. Today we are more than just a place to borrow books, we are the community hub where Markham comes together to imagine, create, learn and grow as individuals, neighborhoods and a city. By providing equal access to collections, resources and opportunities for everyone in Markham, we help to build a thriving city.”

MPL was one of the first libraries in Canada to heavily invest in technology to achieve efficiencies and improve customer service, including fully implementing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. It was also the first library in Canada to implement self-service returns. MPL continues to lead by being the first public library in the GTA to lend tools, instruments and household items through the Lendery, and it is also the only public library in York Region to lend toys and bicycles to the community.

During the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020, MPL’s Keeping Connected program, a multilingual phone check-in service supporting seniors, was expanded to include socially-isolated residents of all ages. This program, along with many other award-winning initiatives, are being emulated by surrounding library systems for their positive impacts on the community.

For more information about Markham Public Library and its services, visit


Photo: Kids unlocking their imagination with a 3D printer in the Makerspace at Aaniin Library Branch.


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