Central Library

Central Library Hours:
Monday - Thursday : 9am - 9pm
Friday - Saturday : 9am - 5pm
Sunday - 1pm - 5pm
(Closed Sundays Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day)

Phone: 434.979.7151
Fax: 434.971.7035

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Programs for Adults


Central Virginia writers discuss their latest works on Sundays at 2pm. Come support the homegrown writers and enjoy an afternoon of discussion. Program listings are below.


The Reference staff will provide one-on-one tutorials on basic computer skills and online job searching and applications. Participants must get a JMRL Library Card. For an appointment call 979.7151 ext 4


Films are shown on the 4th Thursday of the month except for December. Come view and discuss documentary films on current issues. Light refreshments will be provided. Sign up to be added to the film email list: central@jmrl.org

Want a list of the films already shown? Try Searching the calendar. After being shown, check the online catalog to borrow the film. Program listings are below.


On the third Thursday of the month bring your lunch and discuss fiction and non-fiction books. Library staff will provide value-added content and lead the discussion. Drinks and desserts will be provided. Sign up to be added to the book email list: central@jmrl.org (RSS for Events)

Want to see what has already been read? Try Searching the calendar. Program listings are below.


On the third Tuesday of the month join Central Library’s newest monthly book group with a focus on African American authors. Refreshments will be provided. Sign up to be added to the book email list: tduck@jmrl.org

Poem in Your Pocket Day

April 24, 2014

No registration required
Pick a gift-wrapped poem for your pocket. Unwrap it and read it to your mom, your little brother, or a librarian - or keep it in your pocket for a rainy day.

Documentary Film Series - in partnership with the Sierra Club

MovieA CHEMICAL REACTION directed by Brett Plymale (2009)

April 24, 2014
6:30 pm

Canada has spoken and toxic lawn and garden pesticides are now banned in most of the nation. A Chemical Reaction examines how Hudson, Quebec, became the first town in North America to ban these products and inspired hundreds of others to follow suit.
more info

Poetry on the Steps

April 24, 2014
7:00 pm

No registration required. Sign-up to read begins at 7 pm and will be ongoing throughout the evening
Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day with an open mic poetry reading. Meet us under the spreading oaks on the Library steps to read some of your favorite poems or something you wrote yourself, or just come to listen. Refreshments will be served. Rain site: Children’s Room.

JMRL Board Meeting

April 28, 2014
1:00 pm

The Board of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library usually meets the 4th Monday of every month. Some months this will change. The location is usually at the Central Library but the agenda (PDF) will show if the meeting is at a different location.

Central Library Closed

May 01, 2014

Central Library will be closed for staff training. Regular hours will resume on May 2nd. For assistance, call any other branch of JMRL.

Regional Author Series

book coverTHOMAS JEFFERSON, FROM BOY TO MAN by Jayne D’Alessandro-Cox

May 04, 2014
2:00 pm

If you think you've read it all about our founding father and third president of the United States, then think again! Join author, Jayne D'Alessandro-Cox, as she unlocks the mystery that surrounds one of Virginia’s most beloved sons.Check the Catalog arrow

Brown Baggers Book Group

book coverMR. PENUMBRA'S 24 HOUR BOOKSTORE by Robin Sloane

May 15, 2014
12:00 pm

After a layoff during the Great Recession sidelines his tech career, Clay Jannon takes a job at the titular bookstore in San Francisco, and soon realizes that the establishment is a facade for a strange secret. Check the Catalog arrow

Future Readings:

Regional Author Series


May 18, 2014
2:00 pm

Join Otis Lee, Jr. as he talks about his memoir From South Boston to Cambridge: The Making of One Philadelphia Lawyer, which documents his life's experiences - from his attendance of the Jefferson Elementary School in Charlottesville through his career in law and then back to Albemarle County.
Check the Catalog arrow

Black Authors Reading Group


May 20, 2014
7:00 pm

Traces the parallel lives of two youths with the same name born a year apart in the same community, describing how the author grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, White House Fellow and promising business leader while his counterpart suffered a life of violence and imprisonment.
Check the catalog bullet

Future Readings:



June 07, 2014
10:00 am

The Central Library’s Summer Reading Kick-off party introduces summer reading programs/sign-ups for all ages, including adults. Popcorn, donuts, balloon animals, a mini-book sale from the Friends of the Library, Book character Geronimo Stilton, the JMRL Bookmobile, face painting and more!

History of McIntire and Central Library

Albemarle Library Society
Charlottesville Public Library c. 1922

The first known library in downtown Charlottesville was created in 1823 by a group of citizens that included Thomas Jefferson. The “Albemarle Library Society” boasted an initial collection of 238 titles. This village library was located at “Number Nothing” in Court Square (a site now occupied by 224 Court Square). A public subscription library, the society was incorporated by the Virginia General Assembly and lasted at least until 1834. It was not until 1919 and the generosity of Paul Goodloe McIntire that a truly public library was formed. McIntire donated not only the land and the construction costs, but the furniture and the first 5,000 books for the new library as well. The cornerstone was laid in November, 1919, and the new “Charlottesville Public Library” opened its doors to the public on May 30, 1921.

The Regional Library Evolves

Original site of the library, now the Historical Society
Original site of the library, now the Historical Society

With the development of bookmobile service to Albemarle County in 1947, the name of the library was changed to the “Charlottesville-Albemarle Public Library”. In 1958, six years after the death of Mr. McIntire, the main library building and the system itself became known as the “McIntire Library.”

Additional branches in Scottsville, Crozet, and on Gordon Avenue in Charlottesville took some of the pressure off of the small McIntire Branch in the early 1960s, and, in 1972, with the addition of branches in Louisa and Nelson counties, the library system became the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library. Greene County joined the system in 1974.

Market St. Post Office Building
Market St. Post Office Building

In October 1977, the Market Street Post Office building was purchased by Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Under Director Christopher Devan, a 17-month renovation project took place. Total cost of the project reached $2.25 million. After moving the McIntire collection of 90,000 volumes into the building on Market Street, the new Central Library opened on February 2, 1981 to patrons eager for a larger facility. Along with administration and technical services, the third floor of the new building offered the community three meeting rooms, one of them dedicated to Mr. McIntire.

In May 1987, the Albemarle County Historical Society's Library and the Central Virginia Genealogical Association consolidated their resources with those of the Central Library and moved the newly formed Charlottesville-Albemarle Historical Collection to the mezzanine of the Central Library where it remained until 1994. That year, after extensive restoration and renovation, the Historical Collection moved out of the Central Library and into the former McIntire Library.

Beyond the Printed Page

In the late 80s, the Library Board and Director Bill Swinson had committed the library system to obtaining the benefits of emerging modern technology. By February 1989, under Director Donna Selle, the card catalogs at all branches were replaced with on-line computer catalogs for the public and JMRL fully implemented its automated circulation system.

In order to continue to integrate technology into the library system, the Central Library was again renovated in 1995. The opening of a public computer lab for internet access and the development and implementation of a community information network, Monticello Avenue, were initiated. The public lab currently houses many internet stations and access is also available in the Central Reference Department where extensive electronic resources complement the print and microform collections.

Current Director John Halliday oversees the entire JMRL system from his office on the third floor of the Central Library.