History of Dumbarton Library, Part 2: Dumbarton Area Library Opens

12 May

Dumbarton School, 1936. Photo courtesy of Library of Virginia, School Buildings Service Collection SB 01158

As Henrico County moved forward on its late 1960s plans to establish a library system, finding an appropriate spot for a large library for the Northside proved controversial. Disagreements revolved around the former Dumbarton Elementary School, located on Staples Mill Rd. and Penick Rd. A modern Dumbarton Elementary opened in September 1971. The old building wasn’t vacant, however: the new Hermitage High School building had its opening delayed because of a plumbers’ strike, so for at least one semester in 1971, high school students used the old elementary school.  Some thought that renovating the former elementary school for use as a public library would be cost effective and that the location was a good one. But at least one board of supervisors member thought Staples Mill much too busy a road for a library, and that realizing the property’s commercial value would be more worthwhile. In the end, the plan to use the property for the library went forth. County officials declared the old part of the school unsafe and razed it in June 1973; the part closest to Penick Rd., built in 1956 — the “cafetorium” — remained and was incorporated into the new library as the Children’s Room.

 

1956 Dumbarton Elementary School

Copy of an older photo donated to Dumbarton Library. Cafetorium at left.

Dumbarton Area Library opened for business on November 26, 1976; it was 22,500 square feet and had one meeting room that could hold 120 people. The children’s room, at 2,408 square feet, was just bigger than all of the Lakeside Library. The first two days saw 110 people register for new library cards. At the January 8, 1977, dedication ceremony for Dumbarton Library, Virginia Secretary of Education Robert R. Ramsey, Jr., praised the new facility for supporting an American “need to know.” Furthermore, Henrico libraries recognized our “role and potential as a center of continuing education. . . ” and so Dumbarton would be “a role model of a progressive, modern library. . . .” Ramsey called the reuse of the old Dumbarton School “the rebirth of the soul in a new body.”*

This series anticipates the opening of north Henrico’s new Libbie Mill Area Library in November 2015.

Full bibliography for this series, here

*Ramsey, Jr., Robert R. “The Crowning Glory.” 1977. (typescript remarks from Dumbarton Area Library Dedication Day, library collection).

2015 Twin Hickory Lego Contest Winners!

4 May

Congratulations to this year’s Twin Hickory Library Lego Contest winners! There were over 100 awesome entries and hundreds of votes. Thank you to everyone who participated.

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History of Dumbarton Library: Part 1, Lakeside Library

16 Apr

The Henrico Public Library system traces its roots to the 1960s, when a Citizens’ Committee and the Board of Supervisors began researching contemporary library practices and drawing up strategic plans. The late 1960s saw the opening of libraries in buildings adapted to the purpose: Fairfield Library in a former real estate office, Lakeside Library in the former post office on Lakeside Ave., and Tuckahoe Library in the former Vandervall School (now Pemberton Elementary School). A fourth library, Sandston Branch, joined the county’s library system when the Sandston Women’s Club donated its private library to the county in 1967. Even as these modest locations started serving their communities, long-range planning began for the construction of bigger libraries. In 1973, County voters passed a $1,750,000 bond referendum for new libraries in each of three sections of the county: east, north, and west.

lakeside library location 2015 kroll photo

Lakeside Library building today

The Lakeside Library, located at 6943 Lakeside Ave., occupied the former post office building. The public space was 2,400 square feet. It opened in September 1968, with 69 adults and 42 children signing up for new cards that day. A report from 1974 indicates how tight space had become in just a few years: the branch owned over 33,000 items, but “[b]ecause of limited space, some of the collection is stored in cartons at Tuckahoe.”* Plans indicated that the County could not afford to operate this little library and the new Dumbarton Library, so Lakeside closed on November 19, 1976, a week before Dumbarton opened, having served the neighborhood for nine years.

This series anticipates the opening of north Henrico’s new Libbie Mill Area Library in November 2015.

Full bibliography for this series, here

*[County of Henrico Public Library]. “A Guideline for Expanding Library Services in the County of Henrico 1975-81,” October 22, 1974.

Diaper Drive Results

6 Apr

Thank you so much for donating over 5000 diapers during the month of March!

They will be delivered to the Capital Diaper Bank soon and will be available for babies in the area.

Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

March 2015 Diaper Drive

4 Mar

We are accepting diaper donations at all of our libraries during the month of March. All of the diapers will go to the Capital Diaper Bank for distribution to “infants, toddlers and their families who are experiencing a financial crisis due to homelessness, medical challenges, hospitalization and disasters.”

Help keep babies healthy and happy!

Unknown No Longer

12 Feb

In honor of Black History Month, Dr. Lauranett Lee and Paige Newman of the Virginia Historical Society will demonstrate how to use database, Unknown No Longer: A Database of Virginia Slave Names.

They’ll provide background information about slavery in Virginia; an explanation of how information is extracted; and a question-and-answer session.

Tuckahoe Library – Thursday, February 19, 7pm

Take a look at the video below for more information about the database.

Win a copy of Silver Sparrow!

4 Feb

Enter at your library for a chance to win a copy of this year’s All Henrico Reads novel, Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones.

All you have to do is fill out an entry slip and put it in a box.

Drawings will be held at the end of February and March.

Thank you to our friends at Shared Knowledge Literacy Foundation for donating the prize copies of the book.

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