Library celebrates revitalized Black Heritage Collection

It’s been 23 years since the Markham Public Library (MPL) launched the Black Heritage Collection at Milliken Mills Library. The revitalized collection now has more than 1,200 items.

“The Black Heritage Collection, developed in consultation with the local Black community, provides identity-affirming books with stories and information told through the experiences of Black people,” says MPL CEO Catherine Biss.

MPL remains the only York Region library system with a dedicated Black Heritage Collection. “The creation of this collection takes an equity informed approach to our collection development and is a critical part of MPL’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Strategy,” she says.

The collection, updated last year in consultation with Markham’s Black community, now includes more items written by Black authors and is more reflective of Black perspectives and voices, the MPL reports. The collection includes fiction and non-fiction titles, graphic novels, children’s books and audiobooks. It covers a range of topics as well as stories that tell the contributions of the Black community to society.

“As Canada’s most diverse municipality, we are continually looking for impactful ways to elevate the voices of our community,” Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti says. The MPL celebrated the revitalized Black Heritage Collection at Milliken Mills Library, which is located at 7600 Kennedy Road, with a ceremony that featured story time with author and storyteller Sandra Whiting, speaking remarks by community builder Mary Anne Chambers and a drumming performance by local musician Richard Best.

Titles in the Black Heritage Collection are part of a permanent Black Heritage display at Milliken Mills Library but can be found at all Markham branches. A dedicated web page includes community information, programs and events as well as recommended reading lists. It will be updated regularly with fresh content and new titles.

Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Deputy Mayor Michael Chan, Councillors Isa Lee and Juanita Nathan, Markham Public Library (MPL) Board Members and members from the Markham African Caribbean Canadian Association celebrate the launch of MPL’s Black Heritage Collection at Milliken Mills Library on May 6.  Photo courtesy of the City of Markham.

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