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.

Come see the designs for the new Fairfield Library!

14 Sep

Fairfield Planning Presentation slider

Last Spring we hosted a series of community meetings with BCWH architects to gather input on the design of the new Fairfield Library from members of the community. They received lots of input and, after working with Henrico County government officials, Library administration, and staff they are ready to unveil their designs!

On Wednesday, September 27 at 7:00 pm at the Eastern Recreation Center BCWH architects will reveal the schematic design for the new Fairfield Library. At this first look at the new library’s design, you can learn details of the new library design from the architects, see how it incorporates the many suggestions they received, and ask any questions you may have.

The new Fairfield Library will open in October of 2019 and will replace the current facility with a 43,000 square foot building at the intersection of Laburnum and Watts Lane.  The new library will have expanded adult and children’s areas, a dedicated teen area, a Digital Media Lab, reservable study rooms and conference rooms, a reservable meeting room, ample parking, landscaped green space, walking paths, and more.

We hope you can make it to this unveiling of the design for the new Fairfield Library, what we hope will become a landmark community resource.

World Book Encyclopedia Online

12 Sep

b2ap3_thumbnail_world-book-logoHave you taken a look at the online version of The World Book Encyclopedia lately? The online version provides the same level of coverage you will find in print plus lots more.

You will find three different encyclopedias: Early World of Learning for preschool learners, Kids for early elementary students and Student for everyone else.

There are lots of extras too! Timelines that introduce important dates/people in a wide range of studies and Discover which breaks down subjects into topics for a more browsable experience. They even have a Spanish version, Enciclopedia Estudiantil Hallazogs.

No matter which option you choose, you will find great information. Maps, illustrations, videos and more! Let The World Book Encyclopedia be one of the first places you visit when starting a report or project.

Back to school!

8 Sep

HomeworkHelp_slider_1xSchool is back in session and homework will be rolling in soon. We’ve got great resources to help with all levels of homework needs.

When you’ve got questions take a look at some of these resources:

Online Databases

The library pays for access to these quality resources, which provide up-to-date information that you can trust.

Databases like:

All you need is your library card for access to thousands of articles from newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and more.

Here are all our databases and our suggested databases for kids.

Getting (free) LIVE Homework Help from a REAL TEACHER

Teachers are available to help students in grades 3-12 with Reading, Writing, Science and Math using Credo’s Homework Help.

Look for the “Tutoring in Math, Science, English & SAT” box on the right side of the page, then enter your first name, grade level and subject to get started.

Your Local Librarians

Don’t forget to visit your closest library when it’s homework time. All of our libraries have books and other resources to help with a wide variety of homework assignments. Best of all we have a great staff who can help connect you with the best resources for any assignment.

You can also get help from HCPL staff from home via email, text or chat with our askHCPL service.

We want this to be a successful school year for everyone so do not hesitate to ask us for help. It’s what we do.

Congratulations to this year’s Summer Reading Club winners!

5 Sep

Picture of prizesThe Summer Reading Club ended last week, we held our grand prize drawings and the winners are…

  • Grand Prize – $500 Gift Card to Great Wolf Lodge – JT V.
  • Code-A-Pillar – Declan L.
  • Ozobot – Benjamin K.
  • Makey Makey – Michaela C.
  • JBL Clip 2 – John S.

Congratulations to them and thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s Summer Reading Club. We hope you read some good books, attended some great library programs, and had a fun summer!


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