March Diaper Drive 2018

1 Mar


We are accepting diaper donations at all of our libraries during the month of March. All donated 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!

HCPL Staff Picks: Best of 2017!

28 Dec
HCPL Staff Picks 2017

Our most frequently favorited titles of 2017!

Librarians read a lot – it’s kind of our thing.  So when we asked HCPL staff to compile their favorites from 2017 and share them with you, we ended up with quite a list!  Read on to discover your local librarians’ picks.  We hope you’ll discover something great to read that you may have missed last year!

From all of us at HCPL, we wish you a happy new year and, as always, happy reading!

If you’re interested, check out our Children’s List and Teen List, too.

Alicia A. – Library Administration

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2) by Seanan McGuire – This novella series features children who have gone through the enchanted doorway and come back into the real world changed is strange and mysterious ways. Some struggle to return to their enchanted land, others never want to return but none fit into everyday life. The stories are haunting and inventive and are the best I have read in recent years.

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui – Timely and relevant, this graphic novel will break your heart in the best possible way. (also available on Hoopla)

Dirty Dancing at Devil’s Leap by Julie Anne Long – I have always liked Julie Anne Long’s historical romance novels but her contemporaries really shine. They feature genuinely likeable characters with lots of witty banter and believable situations. Highly recommended!

Ame H. – Training Librarian

Hunger: a Memoir of (my) Body by Roxane Gay

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Amy C. – Tuckahoe Area Library

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Amy S. – Tuckahoe Area Library

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

Ann T. – Collection Management

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Barbara B. – Libbie Mill Area Library

Spell on Wheels Vol. 1 by Kate Leth; Megan Levens (Illustrator), Marissa Louise (Colorist), Jen Bartel (Cover Artist), Nate Piekos (Letterer) – Adult graphic novel, like Charmed but on a road trip.

Believe Me: a Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard – Excellent on audio! The footnotes!

Things to Do When You’re Goth in the Country by Chavisa Woods – Like my favorite bizarre dream of teenhood, surreal and snarky.

Catharine S. – Tuckahoe Area Library

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

Chris M. – Sandston Branch Library

My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris

What the Hell Did I Just Read: a Novel of Cosmic Horror by David Wong

Deborah L. – Libbie Mill Area Library

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Diane B. – Fairfield Area Library

Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock Series) by Sherry Thomas – Hard to believe that the second title in this series is better that the first but it is true. Non-stop action with emotional depth.

Gay Lynn V. – Twin Hickory Area Library

The Ninth Hour by McAlice Dermott

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Caesar’s Last Breath by Sam Kean

Greta S. – Twin Hickory Area Library

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Elizabeth H. – Varina Area Library

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Hayley D.– Twin Hickory Area Library

The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina RiggsThis book will slice you open and gut you like a silvery fish. It will wring you out like wet laundry, flap you out to dry in the sunlight, and fold your heart into a neat, soft square, it will slide you into a cold, dark, wooden drawer. This book will break you. As Lewis once said of Tolkien’s work: “Here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron. Here is a book which will break your heart.” Nevermind The Lord of the Rings, I think Lewis was looking far into the future to The Bright Hour and its lovely, painful meditations on Ralph Waldo Emerson (her great-great-great grandfather) and Montaigne and mortality and motherhood. I am still breathless and gutted from reading this.

Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria and Iraq by Sarah GliddenThe next time someone scoffs at graphic novels as a legitimate genre that can be taken seriously, I’m going to hand them this book. There are other serious graphic novels out there of course (Maus, Persepolis, to name two of the biggies) but this one feels so incredibly timely, and the artwork itself is incredible. Quiet watercolors in multiple styles (one style for the overall story, but more lifelike renditions of people’s family photographs lend a particularly haunting quality to the work overall) make this read both powerful and reverent.

The topics, too, are vast, and yet somehow roll together just-so. The history of the book is important and timely, but so are the explorations of journalism as a whole, both big-picture and little-picture. The point of journalism, what makes a story worth publishing, the history of the Iraq invasion from multiple perspectives, the fist-curling frustration of wanting someone to change and seeing them just….not.  Ultimately, I keep going back to the artwork itself, though. The panels are delicate, lovely, haunting, beautiful, stark and sad all rolled into one. The medium is what elevates this nonfiction work over other works about similar topics.

The Best We Could Do by Thi BuiThis graphic memoir of a Vietnamese family’s journey from Vietnam to America, told in back-and-forth chapters between the two very different experiences of Bui’s mother and father, is beautiful and touching, and incredibly nuanced. I was shocked to learn this is Bui’s first graphic novel, as it’s a master work (and as of this staff note, is in the final round of GoodReads’ contestants for best graphic novel of 2017!)

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi CoatesThis collection of brilliant, devastating essays spans a portion of Coates’s writing career and President Obama’s terms as President, and dives deep into the topics of race and life in America.

How to Murder Your Life by Cat MarnellThis book is one part master class on narrative voice, one part enraging, one part fascinating, and one part hilarious.  It’s both brilliant, and a brilliant bonfire of ego, addiction, and excess.

Hillary B. – Twin Hickory Area Library

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – Loved it!  Great story, the wonderful quirky character of Eleanor, and a nice story twist to surprise the reader.

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter – There have been so many good World War II novels recently, but I thought this title brought something new to the field. It’s based on the true story of the author’s family who were separated when the Nazis invaded Poland.

John D M. – Twin Hickory Area Library

It’s Not Dark Yet by Simon Fitzmaurice

Ascension of Larks by Rachel Linden

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Bluebird, Bluebird: A Novel by Attica Locke

Kareemah H. – Varina Area Library

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee – Technically YA but great crossover appeal. The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy due out in 2018.

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson – If you liked Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next and Daniel O’Malley’s The Checquy Files you will probably like this book.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy – Be prepared to have your heart broken, mended, and broken again.

Leslie O. – Sandston Branch Library

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown

Lindsey H. – Libbie Mill Area Library

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado

There Are More Beautiful Things than Beyonce by Morgan Parker

Lisa K. – Glen Allen Branch Library

Paper Girls, v. 3 by Brian K. Vaughn (also available on Hoopla)

Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

Maggie A. – Programming Librarian

The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott

Meghan C. – Libbie Mill Area Library

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado

Michael B. – Libbie Mill Area Library

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Meddling Kids: A Novel by Edgar Cantero

American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse

Pam M. – Collection Management

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Rachel S. – Libbie Mill Area Library

Radium Girls: The Dark History of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore

Rick S. – Youth Services

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

Meddling Kids: A Novel by Edgar Cantero

Savannah C. – Collection Management

Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen (also available on Hoopla)

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson – Recommended specifically in audio because he reads it!

Sharon C. Fairfield Area Library

Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile – Hands down my favorite read from the Black Authors Book Discussion 2017 list.


Terry H. – Gayton Branch Library

Rise: How a House Built a Family by Cara Brookins

Theodora D. – Glen Allen Branch Library

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of an All-American Town by Brian Alexander

The River of Consciousness by Oliver Sacks

Tyger B. – Libbie Mill Area Library

My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris

Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process by John McPhee

Clade by James Bradley


Over 250 Marvel Comics now available on Hoopla!

12 Dec

static1.squarespace.jpgExciting news for fans of all ages: over 250 Marvel comics have been added to Hoopla from Henrico County Public Library! All you need is an internet-connected device and your library card.

You never wait for holds with Hoopla, meaning all of your favorite Marvel comics, plus eBooks, eAudiobooks, music, movies, and television shows, are ready for you to download on demand.

Hoopla makes reading comics and graphic novels awesome with the “Action View” feature, which allows you to read either panel by panel, or page by page. Hoopla also has an ever-expanding collection of comics, with over 13,000 currently available.

We hope you’ll give Hoopla a try and check out your favorite X-Men, Thor, Avengers, Black Panther, and other Marvel comics to read during holiday travel and winter break!

Introducing Custom Book Lists for Kids!

27 Nov


Henrico County Public Library (HCPL) is pleased to announce Custom Book Lists for Kids, an online book recommendation service for children and their parents.  The service allows parents and caregivers to fill out an online form to receive personalized book recommendations from HCPL librarians within one week.  The Custom Book List will contain links to the library’s catalog where users can place items on hold, meaning patrons will not need to make a trip to the library until their book is available.  E-book and E-audiobook users can get expert recommendations and start reading anywhere they have an internet connection.

While HCPL anticipates getting requests mainly from parents and caregivers who are looking for a little help finding that perfect book for their child, the library also welcomes kid-initiated requests.  Librarians are pleased to offer this service in anticipation of the holidays, when busy families may need to stock up on reading materials for trips and entertainment on winter break days.  HCPL debuted online book recommendations two years ago with the Teen 3 Books 4 Me service, and began offering Custom Book Lists for Adults last spring.  Custom Book Lists for Kids builds off the successes of those services, while incorporating new features designed to best serve children and their caregivers.  For example, Custom Book Lists for Kids focuses on making recommendations based on developmentally appropriate practices. Librarians understand and are trained to work with the great variety in reading ability among children, and HCPL staff will use their expertise in combination with information collected through the online form to match each child with books they can successfully enjoy.

Another important feature of Custom Book Lists for Kids is that it serves not only avid readers, but aims to find materials suitable for reluctant readers as well.  The online form for Custom Book Lists for Kids includes a section where parents whose children do not like to read, or do not read often, can list their child’s favorite TV shows, movies, hobbies, and interests so that librarians can make suggestions for engaging reading materials.

Custom Book Lists for Kids is intended to help children from birth to grade 5 grow their love of books and reading. If a child needs help finding books for a homework assignment, or if a teacher needs help finding books for their class, we suggest a phone call or visit to the library.

We hope you take advantage of this new service during the busy holiday season!

You can find Custom Book Lists for Kids at

Glen Allen Branch Library: An Expanded Definition of Library

9 Nov




As Henrico Libraries turn 50 this year, here at Glen Allen Branch Library we’re celebrating our community’s past and our place in it. Thanks to the Friends of Glen Allen Library, prints of scenes from old Glen Allen have been newly framed and hung. We’ll celebrate their arrival at an event on Saturday, November 18 at 2:00 p.m. That afternoon, artist Edith Schermerhorn will make brief remarks about her prints, and local history expert Bob Lehr will speak about the Glen Allen community. Refreshments will follow, provided by the Friends of Glen Allen Library.

While the Glen Allen community and its beloved school have created a sense of place for generations, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the population in this part of the county warranted a public library. An early advocate for a public library branch in the northwest section of the county was Brookland District supervisor Richard Glover; he remained a strong supporter of and good friend to Henrico Libraries until his death earlier this year. Henrico voters indicated their approval for a new building project when they voted for a bond referendum in 1989. Construction of the 12,000 square foot building began in the last half of 1994 and was completed the next year. The Richmond Times-Dispatch described the August 7, 1995, opening this way: “More than 400 people joined about 25,000 books last week for the dedication ceremony and grand opening of the Glen Allen Library….The library, which is organized around a high central space, accommodates print and electric media. A public access computer center will feature computer classes and electronic research.”(1) As Supervisor Glover pointed out in remarks about the library in 1996, “Literacy, of course, no longer means just reading and writing. It also encompasses computer proficiency and an understanding of automated systems. Glen Allen Library was designed with this expanded definition of literacy in mind.”(2)

After just 10 years, rapid growth in the area indicated the need for a larger library and so plans to renovate were included in a 2005 bond referendum which voters again passed. PSA-Dewberry designed the current building and doubled the size to 25,000 square feet. The refurbished building maintained the craftsman-style details of the smaller building; it reopened in October 2010. During the expansion, many energy saving and environmentally friendly changes were incorporated, earning the library Silver Certification in the U.S. Green Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. We’re proud that Glen Allen Library is Henrico County’s first general government facility that attained a LEED designation.

Whether old building or new, Glen Allen Library has always had interesting features beyond the book, movie, and magazine collections. The 1995 building had Henrico Library’s first computer lab with 10 personal computer running early Microsoft programs, and with Encarta and World Book encyclopedias available in CD-ROM format. To use the “Computers 4U” lab, patrons needed to present their library card and “demonstrate a knowledge of microcomputers or complete an orientation given by a staff member.”(3) The National Association of Counties presented Henrico Libraries with an Achievement Award for the innovation shown in making computers available to its citizens.

An unusual feature of Glen Allen Branch that was retained after the expansion is our time capsule, which you can find at the front of the library between the courtyard gate and the entrance. We look forward to opening it on August 7, 2045! You can learn more about it – spoiler alert: the contents are listed! – on this page. Two special features of the new building are our gas fireplace, which creates a cozy feel to a sizable building, and the Founding Fathers collection. Inspired by Supervisor Glover, the Founding Fathers section presents multimedia items for all reading levels on the founding of the United States. The collection ranges from picture books to works such as The Papers of Thomas Jefferson which are used by researchers. A reproduction of John Trumball’s 1819 painting “The Declaration of Independence” demarcates the section housing the Founding Fathers collection.

Whether you’re looking back to the founding of the country ,or deeper back in time; whether you’re thinking about the real 2045 future when we’ll open a time capsule, or a speculative future depicted by your favorite novelist, Glen Allen Library’s been meeting your research and recreational needs with media and the most modern electronic formats for 22 years.



(1) Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Newest Library Opens,” August 16, 1995.

(2) Glover, Richard, “Remarks … Time Capsule Placement Ceremony.” 1996 (typescript in library collection)

(3) Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Library Branch Computer Lab is Open for You,” May 8, 1996).

2017 Henrico Christmas Mother Book Drive

31 Oct

christmasmother1-blog300The Henrico Christmas Mother donation season is here, and our Teen Advisory Boards are asking for your help. They want to be able to deliver A LOT of books this year to the Christmas Mother and would appreciate your donations of new books for children and teens. Last year you donated over 900 books. Can we beat that number this year?

Who is the Christmas Mother?

Since 1942, Henrico Christmas Mother has provided food, new clothes, toys, books and other gift items to Henrico families with children, seniors age 65+ and disabled adults during the holiday season.

Henrico County Public Library contributes by receiving your book donations during the month of November. When the Christmas Mother starts taking their donations in December, we deliver the books we have collected to the Christmas Mother’s warehouse, where they will be distributed to children in the county.

During the month of November, bring your donations of new children’s and teen books to any library location. We have donation boxes for collection. Thanks for your support in helping make Christmas a little bit brighter for children in need!

Please drop off your donations by Thursday, November 30th.

For more information about the program, please visit the Henrico Christmas Mother Website.

Get out and explore this fall with one of our nature backpacks!

27 Sep

Explore the fun of fall with one of these handy backpacks! They are full of nature guides, gear, and great fun for the entire family. Check one out, pack the car, and explore the world around you this fall!

Nature Exploration Backpacks


Each backpack is designed to make any outdoor visit a fun learning experience and can be checked out for 14 days. Contents include:

  • Parking Pass for free parking/entrance to all Virginia State Parks
  • Pocket Naturalist guides:
    • Bugs and Slugs
    • Animal Tracks
    • Virginia Birds
    • Mammals
    • Virginia Trees & Wildflowers
  • Port-A-Bug Field Observation Container
  • Magnifying Lens
  • Dip Net
  • Laminated activity cards

Check our catalog for availability and check out your Nature Backpack on reserve today!

Birding Backpacks

birdingbackpacksEach backpack is designed to introduce young children to the joys of birdwatching and checks out for 14 days. Contents include:

  • Pair of child-size binoculars
  • Assorted picture books about birds and birdwatching
  • Easy-to-use field guide of Eastern birds
  • Laminated activity cards

Check our catalog for availability and check out your Birding Backpack on reserve today!

Stop by our children’s departments for your very own starter Birding Life List and information on Henrico parks located on the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail.