Northside Library

Northside Library

Phone: 434. 973.7893
Fax: 434.973.5876

Jump to: Adult Programs | Teen Programs | Kids Programs | Volunteer

Planning for the New Northside Library

  • Information on Northside Library Project

  • Northside Library AMAZON Wish List: Help build the collection at the new Northside Library by buying books to add to the Library.

  • Interlibrary Loan Requests Suspended until March 17th.
    Requests will be accepted again when the library opens in the new building on March 16.

  • The Albemarle Square location closed on Saturday, February 21st.

  • If you are unable to reach Northside staff by phone during the transition, please call the Central Library at 434-979-7151.

  • Books may be returned to the Book Drop Boxes at Albemarle Square until March 6th. Starting March 7th, books should be returned to the new location at 705 West Rio Road.

  • At noon on Monday, March 16, the new Northside Library will open for business at 705 West Rio Road.

Programs for Adults


A program consisting of a variety of craft and informational programs. Funded by the Friends of the Library. Program listings are below.


Every Monday and Wednesday from 1-3 pm. One-on-one tutorials offered twice a week to answer your specific questions about computer use or to learn how to get free audiobooks, eBooks, and magazines for your electronic devices. Call the Information Desk - 434-973-7893 - to sign up for a half-hour tutorial. more info


This group meets the third Wednesday of each month (not December), 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Program listings are below.

Make & Take Crafts

Enjoy crafts but short on time? Stop by information desk for quick and easy projects to do at your own pace, or take them to go. Materials are provided.

  • January: Bookmarks
  • February: Valentines
  • March: Mehndi
  • April: Blackout poetry
  • May: Magnets

A Virginia Festival of the Book Event

Virginia Book Festival logo.The Stories We Were Meant to Write

March 18, 2015
4:00 pm

Authors Stuart Burkhalter (Catawampus: The Fertility Process from a Man’s Perspective), Kate Gray (Carry the Sky), Thomas Hansen (Remembering Our Oneness: Who We Are, Where We Came From, And How We Got Here), and Ella Murphy (All About Hope) discuss the stories of their books.

A Virginia Festival of the Book Event

Virginia Book Festival logo.Skyline 2015: Celebrating Central Virginia Writers

March 18, 2015
6:00 pm

Readings and discussions of regional critique groups, writing classes, writing retreats, and iBooks by contributors to the annual Skyline 2015 anthology of prose and poetry. Contributers Jody Hobbs Hesler, Linda Levokove, Deborah M. Prum, and Leonard Tuchyner are featured.

Wednesday Evening Book Group- Part of The Big Read

book coverTHE NAMESAKE by Jhumpa Lahiri

March 18, 2015
7:00 pm

A portrait of the immigrant experience follows the Ganguli family from their traditional life in India through their arrival in Massachusetts in the late 1960s and their difficult melding into an American way of life.
Check the Catalog arrow


March 24, 2015
6:30 pm

Connect with other adults during an evening of board games and refreshments. Games will include classic standards and modern favorites. Sessions in March and May will feature tutorials for a different game each month.


March 25, 2015
6:30 pm

A program series consisting of a variety of craft and informational programs. Listings below:

  • Wine Glass Painting: Wednesday, February 4. A reprise of our popular fall program, except this time you’ll be painting red wine glasses. Registration begins January 14. Class size is limited.
  • Climbing Your Family Tree: Wednesday, March 25. (part of the BIG READ) Susan Emert, Central Virginia Genealogical Association, will teach you how to use, a database that can be used in the library, to help you in your genealogical research.
  • Pressed Flowers: Wednesday, April 1. Nature crafter Nancy Campbell has been collecting and pressing leaves and flowers. In this workshop we’ll use them to create a collage worthy of framing. Registration begins March 19. Class size is limited. Ages 14 and up.
  • Hypertufa Planters: Wednesday, May 6. Make hypertufa planters that will look great in your garden. All supplies are provided. Dress to get messy. Registration begins April 15. Class size is limited. Ages 14 and up.
Call 434.973.7893 for more information.


book coverBEHND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS by Katherine Boo

March 27, 2015
12:00 pm

Speaker: Mehr Farooqi, Associate Professor, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Virginia.

Profiles everyday life in the settlement of Annawadi as experienced by a Muslim teen, an ambitious rural mother, and a young scrap metal thief, illuminating how their efforts to build better lives are challenged by religious, caste, and economic tensions.Check the Catalog arrow

Future Readings:

  • April 17: TBA
  • May 15: TBA

Tech Tutors


April 07, 2015
1:00 pm

Trevor Williams from Cville Tech Tutors leads a technology program for iPhone and iPad users on the first Tuesday of each month.

  • January 6: iPhone and iPad Basics Part 1.
  • February 3: iPhone and iPad Basics Part 2
  • April 7: Organizing Your Digital Life
  • May 5: Discovering New Apps
Class size is limited. Register at the Information Desk or call the Library (434.973.7893).


April 09, 2015
2:00 pm

Join us for a monthly meeting in the computer classroom to learn the basics of a variety of web-related tools and programs.
April 9: Email Basics
May 14: Getting Started with Social Media

Wednesday Evening Book Group

April 15, 2015
7:00 pm

Picking books for 2015-2016.


April 21, 2015
6:30 pm

Come explore a world of creative writing with activities and prompts to get your creativity flowing. Feel free to share your work in this non-judgmental environment. Call the Information Desk (434-973-7893) or email to register.

Celebrating National Poetry Month

poem in pocket logo.Poem In Your Pocket Day

April 30, 2015

Stop by the library today and pick out a gift-wrapped poem to carry in your pocket. Unwrap it and read it to yourself, share it with someone close, or just tuck it in your pocket for a rainy day.

partnership with the International Rescue Committee

Citizenship Information Session

May 13, 2015
6:30 pm

Presented by The International Rescue Committee. Learn about U.S. citizenship and the steps to becoming a citizen. Call the library (434-973-7893) to register.

Wednesday Evening Book Group

book coverMAYFLOWER: A STORY OF COURAGE... by Nathaniel Philbrick

May 20, 2015
7:00 pm

A fresh and vivid account of our most sacred national myth: the voyage of the Mayflower and the settlement of Plymouth Colony. From the Mayflower's arduous Atlantic crossing to the eruption of King Philip's War between colonists and natives decades later, Philbrick reveals in this electrifying history of the Pilgrims a fifty-five-year epic, at once tragic and heroic, that still resonates with us today. Check the Catalog arrow

History of Northside Library

A New Branch for Northern Albemarle

Northside Library
Northside Library

It cost a cool million to renovate and equip the 15,500-square-foot space that once housed a Drug Fair discount pharmacy in the heart of the Albemarle Square Shopping Center. The renovation itself came to a mere $210,000. It was the computer system, the subscriptions to 130 magazines and newspapers, the innovative yet comfortable chairs and furnishings and, oh yes, the books that made the difference. When Jefferson-Madison Regional Library’s largest and busiest branch first opened its doors to the public on December 14, 1991, the opening day collection was half a million dollars worth of 24,722 volumes, 14,000 of them children’s books. Nearly all the books were new, in pristine condition. The Friends of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library had donated 1,400 items. An additional 6,000 volumes followed over the next six months. Despite these numbers, there was no escaping the obvious: the shelves looked bare. It would take a long time to reach Northside's capacity, intended to hold close to 100,000 volumes. Of course, of no small contribution to the bareness of the shelves was the curious phenomenon observed by the ever alert library staff. From day one, people kept coming in to check out books. A lot of books. 1,319 volumes in five hours went out the first day, with 57 new patrons registered. By the end of the month, 9,421 books had circulated and a record 400 new registrations had been added. The following month 21,299 volumes went on loan.

Northside had arrived

The plans had long been in the making for establishing a branch in northern Albemarle to meet the needs of the county’s fastest growing communities. The County Board of Supervisors awarded both capital and operating funds to open the new branch, but first someone would have to design and build it. In February 1991, the library board and Albemarle County secured local architect Peter L. Sheeran. He oversaw the development of the building program, from the renovations and modifications to the selections of interior furnishings. Working closely with the contractor, Aerowood Construction of Remington, Virginia, and with senior library staff, Mr. Sheeran created Northside’s open design, an arrangement that heightened public accessibility to the collection while allowing for easy supervision and maintenance. The design also allowed for flexibility, anticipating the many changes in Northside’s services that have occurred and will continue to occur in future years. Among many special features were Northside’s area for young adults (with chairs that rock back—chairs that are supposed to rock back), the sunny reading area for current periodicals and newspapers, and the large meeting room curved toward a dais, easily converted to a lecture hall.

Renovation costs eventually totaled $210,000. Albemarle Square, recognizing a good investment, contributed over $100,000. Grants from the Charlottesville/Albemarle Foundation and the Friends of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library augmented the furnishings’ budget of another $100,000. The strong economy and generous gifts from several donor organizations and individuals afforded the library’s dollars the ability to extend much further than anticipated at the onset of the project. In addition, the Northside Boosters formed that year to support the development of the branch in affiliation with the Friends of the Library. Many volunteers helped raise money, increased interest in the branch, and contributed time to open the library...time spent right up to midnight December 13, shelving books and arranging furniture.

Opening Day, No Hitch

Opening Day
Opening Day

Opening day went off without a hitch, beginning with a dedication ceremony starting at 11:00 a.m. and lasting about 25 minutes. Gary O’Connell, representing the library board, and Frederick R. Bowie, then Chairman of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, spoke before the ribbon was cut, but unfortunately, not before patrons were already lining up to have their books checked out!! Nevertheless, everything went smoothly—if you don’t count the plumbing in the Women’s Restroom that suddenly broke down two hours after the library opened. Ah, but the reception was elegant, and in the afternoon there were programs of music and dance. Folk musicians Pete and Ellen Vigour entertained children and adults alike, as did a local troupe, Chihamba of Dancescape, who performed West African drumming and dance. Then at 5:00 p.m., the door to the delivery dock in the back of the building refused to close, much to the entertainment of no one, least of all library staff who had to stay behind long after closing, waiting for a repairmen. Still you can’t have an Opening without breaking eggs, or something like that. Yes, it all came off without a hitch.

Today Northside Library remains a vital part of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Almost a third of the branch’s patrons are city residents, and the popularity of the branch has attracted many other businesses to Albemarle Square to serve a burgeoning population. As the library system as a whole gears up for more Internet-based services, Northside stands ready and able to meet the exciting challenges of the future.