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MDPLS 50th Anniversary Logo

Celebrating 50 Years of Serving the Community

November 2021 - October 2022

The Miami-Dade Public Library System is celebrating 50 years of providing library resources and services to the community. Our yearlong celebration beginning November 1 will include a variety of special exhibitions, events, activities, recommended reads and more that highlight the Library's history and evolution over the decades to serve the needs of Miami-Dade County residents.

Message from the Director

On November 1, the Miami-Dade Public Library System marked a milestone – 50 years of serving the community. It’s a significant anniversary we are commemorating with a yearlong celebration, and we have lots of golden moments to celebrate thanks to the continued support of you, our patrons, and our dedicated team of library staff.

Throughout the past half century, residents of Miami-Dade County have seen their library system grow into one of the largest public library systems in the United States.

As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, we will continue to provide new, innovative, and convenient services to the community that promote lifelong learning and literacy, such as the Libraries @ Your Door Home Delivery ServiceTablet Lending ProgramHomework Help & Tutoring ProgramAdult Learning Academy and Drive-up Wi-Fi. We also encourage you to explore our collection of online content – eBooks, eAudiobooks, movies, music and local and national publications like The Miami Herald, The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports, a wide variety of digital resources, and more.

We invite you to join us during our yearlong 50th anniversary celebration for special programs, events and exhibits. You can find more information at www.mdpls.org/50years, plus follow us on social media to stay up to date on the latest library news and share your library story using the hashtag #MDPLS50.

And don’t forget, all these great services are available with a library card. Don’t have one? Signing up is quick and easy. You can get an eCard or a physical card where you have your choice of designs, including our special 50th anniversary library card.

We look forward to serving you for many years to come.

Thank you for being a library user.


Sincerely,

Ray Baker Signature

Ray Baker, Director


  • Old Naranja Branch Exterior
  • New Library Construction
  • New Naranja Branch Library

Branch Spotlight
Naranja Branch Library


Did you know that the Naranja Branch Library was originally in a small outdoor shopping center when it opened in 2003?

In response to patron demand for more services, a new library facility was built to replace the old storefront location. In this week's Branch Spotlight, we explore the history of Naranja Branch Library. Click the link below to learn more.


Open book with pages curled in the shape of a heart

Tell Us What the Library Means to You by Sharing Your Library Story


What makes the Library a special place for you? As part of our 50th anniversary celebration, we want to share your stories about the library! We invite you tell us what the library means to you by sharing your favorite library memory or experience. We may even feature your story in our weekly eNewsletter!

Click the link below to share your library story with us.


Outdoor book sale

Behind Every Great Community is a
Great Library


The Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library was established in 1974 to channel public support for the Miami-Dade Public Library System. The Friends organization plays an important role in promoting increased awareness of Library services and helps foster public engagement in its development.

Click below to read a special message from Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library President Chad Di Stefano.


Sign up for Our Special Edition 50th Anniversary Library Card!


Sign up for our special, limited edition gold library card commemorating the Miami-Dade Public Library System's 50th anniversary! Get yours today at any library location.

You can also register for an eCard (electronic card) to get instant access to our collection. Click below to learn more about signing up for your library card.


Library History

Fifty Years and Beyond

History of the Miami-Dade Public Library System Through Photographs

Drawing on the Library’s vast collection of historical photographs, this virtual exhibit offers a visual history of the growth of the Miami-Dade Public Library System.

The following images from the Digital Collections highlight the Library's transformation into a key facilitator for education, advancement and community and offers a snapshot into the lives of Miami-Dade County residents over the  decades.

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Old vs new libraries

Timeline of the Library System

More than 50 years of serving the community

The Miami-Dade Public Library System has a long and proud history of providing library services to the residents of Miami-Dade County dating back to the late 19th century. What began as a small reading room in Lemon City in 1894 eventually grew into what is now the Miami-Dade Public Library System, established on November 1, 1971.

Read through a timeline of the library system, from its humble beginnings to the present, to see how library services in Miami-Dade County have evolved over time to meet the informational, educational and recreational needs of all our residents.


Videos
A Visual Narrative of the Miami-Dade Public Library System

(Click on the YouTube icon to expand the video)


West Dade Regional Library's Opening Delayed
The grand opening of West Dade Regional Library, known today as Westchester Regional Library, was delayed over two years due to a bookshelf supply issue. 

Wellness Center Groundbreaking
Groundbreaking ceremony for the Westchester Health and Wellness Information Center.

Construction of the Metro-Dade Cultural Center
News segment covering the construction of the Metro-Dade Cultural Center.

The Artmobile Hits the Road
This story, originally aired in October 1977, introduces the Miami-Dade Public Library's former Artmobile.

Visit our Digital Collections to discover more videos!


Exhibitions at the Library

Libraries Are Timeless


September 15, 2021 – January 29, 2022

Main Library

This exhibit showcases historical objects and printed materials from the Library's archival collections. Learn how library services and technology have changed over the decades as libraries in Miami have transformed from small community reading rooms to the Countywide system we have now.

Throughout all these changes, library workers have been consistent in providing reference services and information to patrons and have shown that libraries are essential to the community. Explore this exhibition featuring artifacts and other items of historical significance to the library system's history.

Historical items in display case

Libraries Open The World

A Virtual Exhibition in Commemoration of the Library’s 50th Anniversary

Edwin Villasmil invites us to dive into the magic of a good book, and escape to a fantastical place where we can find inspiration and learn about our planet and ways to save it. Eco-Art, or Ecological Art, is a contemporary form of environmental art that Edwin Villasmil uses as his super power to engage people to consider environmental issues. Villasmil has used his art as a path to communicate, to stimulate dialogue, to educate, and to contribute to social transformation.

Edwin Villasmil

He began his artistic career in theater and painting. Between 1965 and 1989, he studied at Universidad Pedagogica. In 1972, he moved to the United States and lived in New York and Washington, D.C., while studying graphic arts, sculpture, jazz and theater. In 1975, upon his return to Venezuela, he founded Espacios Culturales and became a teacher. In 1979, he undertook a trip for observations and study through Europe and North Africa. When he returned home, he moved from the city to the country, where he developed a series of environmental projects. In 1998, he received his Bachelors of Arts from the University Fermin Toro in Venezuela. In 2002, he participated in the Antoni Gaudi international festival in Barcelona, Spain. In recent years, he has investigated the relationship between art, society, and nature. During his career, he has been honored with important awards and acknowledgements, his art works are exhibited in museums, and are in private and public collections. In the past, he has been president of the Venezuelan Association of Artists of the Plastic Arts.

He is a member in good standing of the Asociacion Interncional de Artes Plasticas (UNESCO). Since 2004, he resides in Miami, FL.

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Turning Over An Old Leaf
by Laura Villarreal


November 1 – November 30, 2021

Main Library

Turning Over An Old Leaf is more than a mere representation of the altar tradition practiced during Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration. The installation utilizes elements of the celebration - candles, food, flowers of cempasúchil - and a photograph of our beloved newspaper to communicate the effort to bring this media back to life. The scene is appropriated from Mexican popular culture, in which it is believed that an altar allows the individual portrayed to remain spiritually active, although not physically present.

Presented in collaboration with the Mexican Cultural Institute in Miami and the Miami-Dade Public Library System.

    Collection of items

    Paloma Izquierdo's Social Instruments


    October 16 – December 18, 2021

    Main Library

    Social Instruments is an elongated book cart featuring objects activated by artist Paloma Izquierdo and inspired by items from the Miami-Dade Public Library System's historical collection. Her recent works perform, expand, or manipulate time. Through repetition, her sculptures recreate dance, movement, and rhythm by making social actions mechanical.

    The installation will be displayed in different areas of the library for specified time periods:

    • November 1 – 13
      Second Floor, Special Collections Exhibit Area

    • November 15 – 24
      First Floor, Main Library Lobby

    • November 29 – December 18
      Second Floor, Language Section


    Works by Paloma Izquierdo will also be featured in the group exhibition Common Space from October 20, 2021 – January 23, 2022, at Oolite Arts, 924 Lincoln Road, Second Floor, Miami Beach, FL 33139.

    The Vasari Project is supported in part through a grant from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.

    Social Instruments is made possible with support from Oolite Arts.

    Elongated book cart

    Programs and Events

    Check back often as new programs and events are added throughout our 50th anniversary celebration!

    Person typing on keyboard


    Online Calendar of Events

    Be sure to check out our online calendar of events to keep up with all the great events happening at your library!