Ever wonder how much energy those lights use?

9 Dec


Ever wonder how much energy your holiday decorations use?

We’ve got just the thing to help you figure that out. It’s a Kill A Watt energy meter and we have over a dozen you can check out and use to monitor energy usage.

Just plug the Kill A Watt into an electrical outlet then plug  anything you want to measure the power consumption of (like Christmas tree lights) into the Kill A Watt then use the thing you are measuring normally.

After a few days check the Kill A Watt’s display and write down the information you see when each button is pressed then it’s time to do some math. The Department of Energy has a good explanation of how to translate the information from the Kill A Watt into dollars and cents. The knowledge you’ve just gained may help you save some money.

Take a look at the video below for more about how the Kill A Watt works.


2015 Book Drive for Henrico Christmas Mother

2 Nov
Donate books to any Henrico County Public Library by Nov. 30.

Donate by Nov. 30

The Henrico Christmas Mother donation season is coming up, 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 or gently-used books for children and teens.

Who is the Christmas Mother? From their website:

Even in a relatively prosperous county like Henrico, there are many who struggle to provide basic necessities. Since 1942, Henrico Christmas Mother’s mission has been to provide holiday assistance to Henrico families with children, seniors age 65+ and disabled adults in the form of food, new clothing, books, toys and other gift items to those we serve.

Henrico County Public Library contributes by receiving your book donations throughout November. When the Christmas Mother starts taking their donations on December 3rd, we deliver the books we have collected to the Christmas Mother’s warehouse, where they will be distributed to people who will appreciate and love them.

All of our libraries have donation boxes where you can bring your children’s and teen books. We’re not picky; as long as they are in good shape, we’ll take them. Please drop off your donation by Monday, November 30.

We hope you will donate a few books this year. They will make someone’s Christmas a little brighter.

Our Friends are awesome!

20 Oct

FriendsHCPL-4CwebIt’s National Friends of the Library Week and we wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of our Friends! They do a lot and make all of our libraries better by volunteering their time and by providing financial support from their book sales and memberships. Some of the things they sponsor are:

Are you a Friend of the Library? Visit henricolibrary.org/friends to join today!

History of Dumbarton Area Library, Part 7: Farewell

8 Oct

Through its 39 years of service, Dumbarton Area Library has been an active, beloved hub of its region. We improved it whenever we could, whether with fresh paint, an upgrade to the electricity to support computers, or with the furniture donated in memory of library board member M. O. “Moe” Roache, Jr., in 2003. Mr. Roache was instrumental in the establishment of Dumbarton Library. Contemporary needs demand a contemporary building, so as they had in 1973, in 2005 Henrico County citizens showed their enthusiastic support of their public library system by passing a bond referendum to raise money for public library improvements. A new area library to replace Dumbarton was part of this long-term plan.

Library Board member M.O. Roache

Library Board member M.O. Roache, 1975

As it had been in the 1970s, choosing a site was a challenging process, but the offer to be part of the Libbie Mill development off Staples Mill and Bethlehem Roads was too good to pass up. Gumenick Properties, the project developer, donated a 3-acre site as part of an agreement with Henrico County. BCWH Architects of Richmond and Tappé Architects of Boston designed the new Libbie Mill Library building. County officials will seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification status for it. The LEED program, operated by the U.S. Green Building Council, recognizes facilities that are environmentally friendly.

Libbie Mill Library has many features citizens clamor for: collaborative work spaces, places to plug in their laptops and other devices, study rooms, and spacious, dedicated rooms for teen and children’s materials. We also know people will enjoy the variety of quiet places to sit and read — especially the chairs with views of the Libbie Mill Lake! Join us on October 29th at 6:00 p.m. to celebrate the grand opening of Libbie Mill Library, the latest in the chain of libraries to serve the people of north Henrico.


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

Full bibliography for this series, here

History of Dumbarton Library, Part 6: A Miscellany

17 Sep Videos, 1981

This month, we pause in the narrative of Dumbarton Library’s history for a few trivia tidbits. For instance, how many of these items do you remember checking out?

Items Henrico County Public Library has loaned:

  • Framed art prints
  • LPs (records)
  • Polaroid cameras
  • VHS and Beta tapes
  • Book and cassette tape kits
  • Filmstrips
  • Compact discs (CDs), beginning in about 1988
Notice LP records at right in this 1977 photo of the children's room

Notice LP records at right in this 1979 photo of the children’s room

Henrico Libraries keep up with technologies of the times; some notable examples follow:

Videos, 1981

Videos, 1981

HCPL Technologies Timeline

  • 1976 Barcode-based electronic circulation system from National Cash Register acquired; “first of its kind for a public library in the eastern United States, a library spokesman said yesterday.”* This system was used at Tuckahoe Area Library, only.
  • 1978 Video tapes for checking out added
  • 1983 Microfilm catalog introduced
  • 1983 Apple II computers installed for public use; patrons paid $1.00 for every 12 minutes of computer time
  • c. 1985 Computer-automated library system called LIONS for checking out books
  • c. 1996 Library website launched
  • 1999 Current online catalog and integrated library system purchased
  • c. 1998 Free internet and office software
  • c. 2000 First ebooks available (mostly nonfiction titles)
  • 2011 Began purchasing popular title ebooks downloadable through OverDrive
Early library card

Early library card

Computer users, 1990s

Librarian helps computer users, 1990s

First Four Henrico Libraries

  • Fairfield (1968)
  • Lakeside (1968)
  • Tuckahoe (1968)
  • Sandston (established as library for Sandston Women’s Club, 1923; donated to Henrico County, 1967)
First Sandston Library, 1980

First Sandston Library, 1980

“Artifacts” from Opening Dumbarton Area Library

floor plan


ribbon (from January 1977 Dedication?)

Two 1980s Tidbits

A newspaper story from July 1981 reports on a power outage after a thunderstorm — not an uncommon problem. This time, though, power was out for two and a half days, due to some confusion as to whether the power company — VEPCO, as it was at the time — or the County needed to fix the problem. During the outage, then as today, library books returned to Dumbarton couldn’t be checked in with the electronic system and so over 3,000 books piled up. Jokes about the library not paying its electric bill were taken in stride.

Another event that closed Dumbarton for a couple of days was re-carpeting in 1987. Rather than work around the shelves, volunteers — including “six to eight minimum-security work-release inmates”** moved about 80,000 books.

For the move to Libbie Mill Library, professionals will be employed.

This series anticipates the opening of north Henrico’s new Libbie Mill Area Library on October 30, 2015.

Full bibliography for this series, here

*Richmond Times-Dispatch, [untitled], May 29, 1976.

** Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Book-Moving Project Set at Henrico Library,” March 20, 1987.

Congratulations to our Summer Reading Club prize winners!

10 Sep

The Summer Reading Club wrapped up last week and everyone who met their age group’s reading goal was automatically entered into prize drawings. The random drawings were held the day after the club ended and the winners have been contacted.

Some of the prize winners have shared their pictures with us! We’ll add more as we get them.

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Each library held a drawing for a four-pack of tickets to the Friday, September 11 Xfinity race at Richmond International Raceway. The winners are:

  • Miller R. – Dumbarton Library
  • Elijah T. – Fairfield Library
  • Sebastian S. – Gayton Library
  • Eden M. – Glen Allen Library
  • Ashlynn R. – North Park Library
  • Iliana D. – Sandston Library
  • Jake S. – Tuckahoe Library
  • Ben P. – Twin Hickory Library
  • Grayson E. – Varina Library

Another drawing was held at each library for a family four-pack of tickets to House at Pooh Corner at the Virginia Repertory Theatre. The winners are:

  • Kingsley S. – Dumbarton
  • Ricky B. – Fairfield
  • Mason F. – Gayton
  • Reese A. – Glen Allen
  • Austin R. – North Park
  • Teighen O. – Sandston
  • Jordan G. – Tuckahoe
  • Grace B. – Twin Hickory
  • Walter B. – Varina

There was another drawing at each library for a $50 restaurant gift card. The restaurants varied by location. The winners are:

  • Imogene C. – Mobile Library
  • Karen R. – Dumbarton
  • Tiffany O. – Fairfield
  • Gloria A. – Gayton
  • Suzanne L. – Glen Allen
  • Clara C. – Municipal
  • Michelle L. – North Park
  • Debbie N. – Sandston
  • Christy S. – Tuckahoe
  • Julie E. – Twin Hickory
  • Anglia T. – Varina

In addition to these branch-level winners there were four county-wide winners.

  • Izabella T. won the Duplo Batcave Adventure Set
  • Justin D. won the Lego DC Superheroes Set
  • Zoe S. won a gift card to Barnes & Noble or Gamestop
  • Rick B. won a gift card to Barnes & Noble

Thanks for making Summer Reading Club 2015 so super! Fill out the survey for your age (kids, teens, or adults) by September 30 to make next summer even better and be automatically entered into a prize drawing. Don’t forget to print your reading log too!

School is back in session! Looking for homework help?

9 Sep

School started yesterday and the homework will be rolling in soon. We’ve got some great resources to help with all of levels of homework needs. When you’ve got questions take a look at some of these resources:

Online Databases


You can find lots of great information online, but how do you know it is from a source you can trust? We suggest using our premium online databases.

The library pays for access to these quality resources, which give you up-to-date information that you can trust. All you need is your library card for access to thousands of articles from newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals.

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

Ask a Librarian

Give your library a call; or email, text or chat with us via askHCPL

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 Literati’s Homework Help.

Click on the black “Homework Help” tab on the right side of the page, then enter your first name, grade level and subject to get started.


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