The Library of Virginia Newsletter
September 2008

Holiday Schedule

The Library of Virginia will be closed from noon on Wednesday, December 24, through Saturday, December 27, 2008, for the Christmas holiday. We also will be closed from Thursday, January 1, through Saturday, January 3, 2009.

New & Noteworthy at the Library of Virginia

Book BindingOn display at the Library through February 21, 2009, is a lovely collection of stamped book covers from B. F. Johnson & Company. This collection is a recent donation to the Library of Virginia. In 2008, the owner's grandson donated examples of B. F. Johnson's stock to the Library of Virginia. Popular from about 1880 until about 1910, the stamped cover presented an appealing design in gold leaf or colored inks to entice buyers.

Until early in the 1800s, bookbinding was a labor-intensive handicraft. A bookbinder attached boards to the pages of text, or text block, by cords and then covered the boards with leather or paper, occasionally decorating the cover by hand. In the 1830s bookbinding became more mechanized. Book covers were prefabricated with a cloth covering as a case and then attached to the text block by glue. These mass-produced book casings lent themselves to stamped decoration using metallic leaf or, later, colors that enlivened covers and enticed readers to buy the volume.

Virginia Shop hosts Virginia's Finest Fridays on selected Fridays in December

The Virginia Shop at the Library of Virginia is proud to host vendors whose Virginia-made products have earned the Virginia's FinestT trademark distinction of top quality.

On Friday, December 5, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Cocoa Mill Chocolates returns with their award-winning gourmet chocolates, made from select ingredients and prepared in small batches to ensure freshness. Cocoa Mill's Valentine truffles were recognized by The Wall Street Journal as "best overall," above the likes of Godiva, Sees, and Harry and David.

On Friday, December 12, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Gracie's Garden offers the best in pickled condiments. President Frank Foster will share samples inspired by his mother, Gracie, who for years preserved the bounty of her garden and shared her wonderful creations with family and friends.

Library of Virginia Joins the Plinkit Collaborative

The Library of Virginia has become the fifth state to join the Plinkit Collaborative. Plinkit is software that helps libraries create smart, new Web sites for their patrons. It was a co-recipient of the 2008 Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies Leadership and Professional Achievement Award at this year's American Library Association conference in Anaheim, Calif. Colorado, Illinois, Oregon and Texas are already members.

Plinkit stands for "Public Library Interface Kit." Library Web sites can be created and edited directly through the Internet, using built-in text editors and other powerful features that make it easy for library staff members to keep their site's content current. The Plinkit platform allows small libraries with limited funding to develop a professional-looking Web site that gives patrons quick access to catalogs, databases, calendars, information, and events.

"Virginia is pleased to offer this hosting service at no charge to our library systems," said Elizabeth M. Lewis, director of Library Development and Networking at the Library of Virginia. "Plinkit helps fulfill a longstanding goal to improve accessibility to Internet resources including the statewide database project, Find It Virginia. In the current economic climate, maximizing all resources is essential."

The goal of the Plinkit Collaborative, created in Oregon in 2006, is to pool funds in support of software development, training, documentation, and marketing activities. For more information, visit or e-mail

Library Works to Preserve Record of Civil War

A team from the Library of Virginia visited the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville on November 22 to evaluate and scan family records containing original manuscripts from the Civil War.

The preservation effort is a project of the Library in collaboration with the Virginia Commission on the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, which was established by the General Assembly in 2006 to plan and commemorate the anniversary of Virginia's participation in the Civil War. The Danville Civil War Sesquicentennial Planning Committee and the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History assisted the Library on the project. The Library will make the family manuscripts and images available to the public through its Web site and that of the Virginia Commission on the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War.

"The visit to Danville revealed how many individuals have Civil War materials that shed light on everyday life during the war and reveal the human face of those involved in the war," said Lyndon Hart III, an archivist with the Library of Virginia. "We hope to secure grant funding to make this scanning effort a statewide effort to preserve these letters and documents." The project is a pilot and will be used to support an application by the Library of Virginia and the Sesquicentennial Commission for federal grants that will allow the same type of research in every county in the state.