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Public Libraries in York Region

Welcome to York Region.  One of the benefits of living in our community is that you can use the public library for free.  Public Libraries are funded by your taxes and so all residents are eligible for one free library card in their hometown.  Usually, if cards are lost or damaged, there is a nominal charge to replace the card, but the first card is free with identification.

Information for Library Users

You will need to show staff some personal identification to receive a library card.  The type of identification that is needed to get a card will include a current address and a photo.  The most common type of identification used is the driver’s license.

For children, the parent’s identification is used and the child must be present to receive the library card.

Teens may provide their student card plus a piece of mail with their name and home address.

If you apply for a library card outside your municipality, non-resident charges may apply.


When you visit a public library you may expect to find books for all ages for many interests.  Fiction is very popular, but there are books about almost any topic you may like to explore.  There are books that will help you write a resume, or learn about computers, or how to set up a garden.  There are books that will help with school homework, but no textbooks.

Other Formats

You will also find movies, music cds, magazines, large print books and books on cds.  Sometimes there are video games.  Each library system is responsible for their own collection so you may find something totally unexpected in one library and not another.  Take a walk around your public library and if you have questions, please ask the staff.

Online Resources

In addition to books and materials in other formats, there are resources you can use from the library’s website.  Yes!  This means that you can use the library even when the doors are locked and the staff have gone home.  You will need your library card, and possibly a password.  Speak to library staff about finding ebooks, e-audio books, and a wealth of information from specialized databases.  There is information for researching school projects, health information, leisurely reading up on your favourite movie star, and even how to learn a new language.

Although some of these databases can be found in all Ontario public libraries, each library will purchase additional resources.

The staff at the library is there to help you – ask them to show you where to find all the materials the library has to offer, or perhaps ask for a library tour.


Interesting activities take place in the library for residents of all ages.  The children’s programs are very popular and may include storytimes, baby programs, crafts, homework help and PA Day movies.  Some programs may be free while others may have a small cost.

The same usually applies to programs for adults and seniors.  Author visits, basic computer classes, guest speakers for personal finance, gardening, family history, are some possible programs.

Each library is responsible for offering programs that will be of interest to their own community.  Watch for posters in the library, notices in your local newspaper, or ask staff what’s happening at your library. Many libraries also have social media such as Facebook and Twitter accounts to promote their activities.


Many libraries offer newsletters in print and electronic versions.  These are often the best way to learn about upcoming programs and possible suggestions for your next book, or dvd.

Multilingual & ESL Materials

If you are learning to speak English, the library may have materials to assist you.  Your library may also have a collection of materials in different languages.  Ask about this collection and if the library does not have your language, ask about an inter-library loan service.

Inter-library loans

Sometimes, a public library will not have the item you want, but we will try to obtain what you need from another library.  Some restrictions do apply.  For example, libraries may not lend to other libraries popular items that are in use by their own patrons.  As a general guideline, recently published books (within a year) and DVDs are not usually interlibrary loaned.

Most often, this service is free, but a charge may be applied for inter-library loans not picked up.


Basic service is free.  You may borrow any library material for no charge for a loan period set by the library – usually 2 or 3 weeks.  The Library Board establishes the policies of the library and decides the amount of fines for late materials.  These fines can be very different from one library to the next, so please ask staff about the fines that may apply at your library.

Staff and Library Board


The library is governed by a group of volunteers – the Library Board.  The CEO, or Head Librarian, and the library staff all work to provide the best service possible for the residents of their municipality.  The library is usually a busy place, but be sure to ask staff for help if you have any questions.

We’d like all residents to feel the Public Library is a part of their life.  May you be inspired, informed, and entertained.