Just a few more days left for Summer Reading!

26 Aug escape above city

escape above cityIf you haven’t logged all of your reading for the summer make sure you do it by next Monday (August 31st)!

If you’ve met your reading goal you will be automatically entered into the following drawings:

For Kids

For Teens

  • $50 Barnes & Noble or Gamestop Gift Card
    • One $50 Gift Card will be awarded for teens countywide – the winner gets to choose: Barnes & Noble or Gamestop

For Adults

  • $50 Restaurant Gift Card
    • One $50 Restaurant Give Card will be awarded at each of our library locations
  • $50 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
    • One $50 Barnes & Noble Gift Card will be awarded countywide

The drawings will take place on Tuesday, September 1st. The prize winners will be contacted as soon as possible. An announcement of all winners will be sent out on Friday, September 4th. You have to log all of your reading to be in the drawings. Make sure you’ve logged all of your reading by Monday!

Our Summer Readers are the absolute best in the history of forever! Thank you for helping make this a great summer of reading!

History of Dumbarton Library: Part 5, the Libbie Mill Area

21 Aug Image courtesy of Trinity Baptist Church

Developer Gumenick Properties named its project at Staples Mill and Bethlehem Roads “Libbie Mill” to emphasize the way the development links together Libbie Avenue and Staples Mill Road. Libbie Avenue, in turn, took its name from Libbie Freeman Thompson, wife of a local businessman. Staples Mill Road is named for the grist mill belonging to the Staples family; it stood in the vicinity of present-day Dickens Road and Staples Mill Road in the 19th century. The fourth boundary of the site is a creek named Jordan’s Branch.

Image from 1880, when A.R. Courtney owned the Staples property, from “Richmond Then and Now” blog

One hundred years ago north Henrico was rural — mostly farms and woods. It was so open, the well-to-do could enjoy a “drag hunt” — horseback riding with dogs across country, but following a  scent, not chasing a fox. One drag hunt held in 1914 had “no falls to mar the sport,” and included checkpoints at places with familiar names: Lakeside, Staples’s Mill [sic], Dumbarton, and Libbie Avenue.* As the 20th century progressed, the railroad and horses became less common ways to get around and paved roads and cars began to dominate. As formerly rural areas became more accessible to city dwellers, developers subdivided old farms and put up homes and, eventually, apartments.

Long-time residents of the area remember the property that’s now Libbie Mill as home to the Suburban Apartments from the 1950s until 2002. A church was built there, too. The congregants of Trinity Baptist worshiped there from 1951 until 1980. In 1980, the building became the property to the First Mennonite Church of Richmond, which met there until 2004.

Although the Suburban Apartments complex was emptied in the early 2000s, and demolition was complete in 2006, the recession slowed development. Development kicked into high gear with last year’s opening of Southern Season, and the filling of office spaces. Henrico County Public Library expects to bid farewell to Dumbarton Area Library on October 17 and welcome patrons to the new Libbie Mill Area Library on October 29, 2015.

*Richmond Times Dispatch, March 8, 1914, p. 3.

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

Full bibliography for this series, here

Be a hero. Help fight hunger this summer!

30 Jun

2015-FoodDrive-200pxDuring the month of July, we will be collecting food donations for FeedMore’s Central Virginia Food Bank at any of our locations.

Please help the Central Virginia Food Bank feed children and seniors living in poverty and many others in need in our community. Visit feedmore.org to learn more about the fight against hunger.

Some of the most needed items are:

  • Peanut Butter
  • Canned Tuna and Chicken
  • Low Sodium Veggies
  • Fruits Packed in Juice
  • Spaghetti Sauce (no glass)
  • Canned or Dry Beans
  • Hot & Cold Cereals
  • Whole Grain Snacks

History of Dumbarton Library, Part 4: What’s in a Name?

29 Jun
Dumbarton Grange courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, VCU Libraries

Dumbarton Grange. Photo courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, VCU Libraries

The name of our new library, Libbie Mill Library, brings together two local street names. Dumbarton Library, too, seems to be named for a street, but there is a little more to it than that. From the 1830s, the land in the vicinity of current-day Dumbarton Road and Staples Mill Road was known for the grist- and saw-mill operations there, run by the Staples family. When Francis Staples died, the large operation was divided up and offered for sale. Ads for the 1859 land sale reveal other operations such as ice houses for collecting and selling ice from the mill pond, a blacksmith shop, and a distillery. The ad described the house itself as “a comfortable dwelling”*  Another selling point: the land had access to the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad, the most modern way to move goods and people. People continued to call the area Staples Plantation or Staples Mill until the late 1860s, when Alfred Courtney purchased some of the land. Courtney named the portion of the land that he bought Dumbarton Grange, after a family property in Scotland. This area came to be called simply Dumbarton. For instance, another real estate sale ad, from 1898, describes the sale of a “suburban store and residence property at Dumbarton.” The ad noted it was a “convenient location” at which “six trains stop daily.”** After the Courtneys, Emmett Shepard bought the Dumbarton Grange property; upon his 1910 death it went to his wife, Rebecca Priscilla Bradley. In 1913, Bradley married noted author James Branch Cabell. Cabell did much of his writing at their Dumbarton Grange home. The Cabells moved to Monument Avenue in 1925, and the property was divided and sold in 1929, a time when the area began the transformation from farms to suburbs. Just as Staples Mill Road took its name from its notable destination, so are Dumbarton Road and Dumbarton Area Library named for the farm and community called Dumbarton.

Read more about James Branch Cabell here.

*Daily Dispatch, September 15, 1859.

**Daily Dispatch, December 11, 1898

Looking for a new author? Check out the Henrico Community Authors Showcase!

22 Jun

HCAS-headerAre you interested in finding a new author to read? How about an author that lives around here? Look no further! The Henrico Community Authors Showcase is the place for you! Every Thursday a local author will be at one of our libraries reading, discussing and sharing his/her books. It’s a great way to meet and support the many authors that live in our community.

Bring the library to you!

4 Jun

We provide different ways for you to get information about library news and events. Select any of the options below to get library updates delivered to you.

General Information

Information for Teens

Information for Families

History of Dumbarton Library, Part 3: Changing Collections, Changing Technology

15 May

In 1977, Dumbarton’s first full year of operation, Henrico Library patrons checked out books and magazines, of course — and also LP records, audio cassette tapes, and even art prints! A constant theme in public library services is keeping up with changing technologies. Accordingly, in 1978, Henrico Libraries began circulating video tapes; and in 1983 Apple II computers were installed for public use. Patrons paid $1.00 for every 12 minutes of computer time.

“The computer is being used steadily” at Dumbarton, said Mrs. Temple. “There are a lot more knowledgeable people out there than we expected. It’s not at all true that the school kids are the only ones who know how to use the computers.”*

We adopted other emerging technologies, seemingly more rapidly, throughout the next thirty years. Henrico County Libraries never used a card catalog; the first catalog was a list of titles in a set of three bound, printed lists. A contemporary article touted this seemingly complicated book catalog as modern — since a computer generated the lists — and as a space-saver, taking up less room than drawers and drawers of card catalog files. This bound catalog was replaced by a catalog on microfilm in 1983. We acquired an early computer catalog system in 1985, and the current “integrated library system,” including online catalog, dates to 1999. Henrico Library’s first website was launched in fiscal year 1996-97. The end of the 1990s saw us begin to offer Microsoft Office software as well as Internet access: this landmark shows up in the fiscal year 1998-99 annual report.

Returning to the subject of items patrons checked out, Henrico Libraries began circulating CDs in the late 1980s, and DVD movies in fiscal year 2003-04. The annual report noted, “In the first year of this shift to digital format, the library’s collection of DVD’s swelled to more than 2,500 titles, including numerous titles produced in-house by Public Relations & Media Services.”**  Today, Henrico Libraries own over 30,000 DVDs. In 2011, we added downloadable ebooks for library members to read on their smart phones, tablets, etc. This collection replaced a previous collection of electronic books that could be read only on a personal computer. Our commitment to keeping up with the technologies library members use remains a cornerstone of our service.

*“New Tools Joining Books at Libraries” Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 31, 1983

**Henrico County Annual Report, 2003-2004

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

Full bibliography for this series, here


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