Fourth Monday of each month (with some exceptions) from 12:00 to 2 pm. Like to Read? Like to Talk? Join us at our Book Club which has been ongoing since 2005. Call the library at 263-5904 for more information. Program listings are below.
Want to see what has already been read? Try Searching the calendar.
August 25, 2014
A portrait of a woman who reflects the conventions of her age even as she defies them and whose transformations embody the decline and coarsening of the American frontier. Check the Catalog
September 22, 2014
An autobiographical portrait of marriage and motherhood by the acclaimed author details her struggle to come to terms with life and death, illness, sanity, personal upheaval, and grief.
Check the Catalog
Library service to Nelson County residents was provided as early as the late 1940’s by volunteers from the Nelson County Garden Club. They maintained a collection of books which had been donated as a memorial to the service men and women of World War II. The books were housed in a former Presbyterian Church (circa 1888) that was owned by the Garden Club.
In 1966, members of the Nelson County Chamber of Commerce and other county organizations met with representatives of the Virginia State Library to explore the possibility of organizing a public library and providing bookmobile service. In 1970, the Chamber commissioned the writing of a book which would tell the story of the devastation in Nelson County caused by Hurricane Camille in 1969. Proceeds from the sale of Torn Land were to be used to build a memorial library.
Encouraged by interest in public library service, the Nelson County Board of Supervisors appointed a committee in 1972 to further investigate the possibilities. They discovered that participation in a regional library system would allow Nelson County to tap into funding sources and library resources not otherwise available to them.
In September 1972, the Nelson Memorial Branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library opened its doors to the public. The white-frame church building on Front Street was an immediate success. The first branch manager was Laura Turner, a former school teacher.
Circulation of books at the Nelson Memorial Library increased dramatically over the years. In 1972-73, there was a circulation of 7,157 books. In 1987-88, circulation was 46,570. Patron usage, program attendance, and bookstock has also shown large increases. It became apparent that the library had outgrown its charming but cramped quarters. The book collection had increased greatly and there was simply not enough room for the books. Attractive programs sponsored by the Friends of the Library often drew crowds of over 100 people.
Around 1980, the County Chamber of Commerce renewed its fund-raising efforts. They actively solicited donations to the Torn Land Fund. In 1985, the C&P Telephone Company donated one of their local buildings. Proceeds from the later sale of this building were added to the fund.
In March 1983, a group of interested volunteers met to organize a local Friends of the Library who sought to push for a new library and increased hours of operation. The Friends also sponsored many programs and fund-raising activities. Land adjacent to Lovingston Elementary School was later donated by the School Board.
In 1986, JMRL and Nelson County were awarded a federal LSCA Title II grant through the Virginia State Library. Other funding was provided by the Nelson County Chamber of Commerce, the Torn Land Memorial Trust Fund, the JMRL and Nelson Memorial Friends, the County of Nelson and numerous individuals and businesses. The new building would be a community effort and a source of pride for all.
Construction began after a formal groundbreaking ceremony in January 1987. In May 1988, the move was made into the new building. In addition to its regular offerings of books, periodicals, videos and books on tape, the Nelson Memorial Branch also provides Internet access to the public, a very popular service initiated by the Nelson County Library Advisory Committee and funded by the Torn Land Memorial Trust Fund. The meeting room, heavily used for public meetings and library programs, doubles as an art gallery with exhibits changing every two months. The Nelson County Visitors Center is located on the lower level of the library and a collection of local history materials and cemetery records is maintained by the Nelson County Historical Society.
In 2013 the Nelson Memorial Library is open for 42 hours per week. The branch is staffed by one fulltime manager and 3 part time staff members who are assisted by dedicated volunteers. Tanith Knight has been Branch Manager since 1977. Approximately 40% of Nelson County residents have a library card. In addition to a collection of 28,000 items, the library offers eBooks through Overdrive for all those patrons who prefer electronic reading or listening. Six computers are available for public use as well as wireless internet service which can also be used outside. Weekly story times for preschoolers as well as numerous summer programs are presented for children and young adults. The library's latest program is a series of movies shown on a large screen.
Since this building was opened twenty-five years ago the collections and services have increased so that the Library has outgrown the available space. The Torn Land Committee and the Nelson County Library Advisory Committee commissioned an architect to assess the current building and to plan for an addition. State requirements indicate that at least double the current space is needed to serve the size of the Nelson County population. A recent community survey reinforced this need, since patrons are asking for more space for computers and seating.
Dedicated to the memory of the Nelson County victims of 1969’s devastating Hurricane Camille, the present-day Nelson Memorial Branch Library is a lasting memorial and, as well, a testimonial to the dreams, dedication, and hard work of the people of Nelson County who love and appreciate their library.