The Library of Virginia Newsletter
May 2009

Voting for People's Choice Awards Begins May 11

Visit your local public library or the Library of Virginia’s Web site between May 11 and June 30, 2009, to vote for your favorite fiction and nonfiction book for the People’s Choice Awards. The five finalists in each category were selected from the books nominated for the 12th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards. Winners of the People’s Choice Awards will be announced at the Library of Virginia Literary Awards Celebration on October 17, 2009.

Summit Goal Is Improving Internet Connectivity and Funding

More than 100 Virginia librarians, community partners, statewide stakeholders, and business leaders will attend a Broadband Summit on May 13 and 14 at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia. The summit is part of an initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve public library connectivity—specifically the foundation wants to bring every public library that has a connectivity speed of less than 1.5 megabytes up to at least that minimum level. Virginia is one of seven pilot states selected to participate in the first round of this multi-year project, and the Gates Foundation has asked the Library of Virginia to be the grant administrator for our state. The ultimate goal of the grant program is to develop sustainability strategies for public libraries to improve their connectivity permanently, after the Gates grant-funding cycle is finished. In many places, a library's best option may well involve partnership with other organizations and entities within their locality and region—so the potential for the strategies developed through this program to have a positive effect on an entire community is very real.

For the country widely credited with inventing the Internet, it is surprising to note that the United States ranks 17th in Internet connectivity speed according to the State of the Internet report, a quarterly study by Akamai Technologies, the U.S.-based Internet content distribution giant. The top 10 nations in terms of average Internet connection speed are South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovakia, and Norway.
The goal of the Broadband Summit is to see that the Internet connectivity speed of public libraries in Virginia is increased and that a secure and sustainable funding stream for connectivity is found.

Do You Want to Be a LVA Volunteer Docent?

The word docent comes from the Latin word docere, which means “to teach.” The Library of Virginia invites you to apply to be a part of its volunteer docent program. Library docents will greet and welcome visitors to the Library. The Library attracts 200,000 visitors annually. Researchers, students, and tourists come from around the Virginia, the nation, and the world to tour the Library or use its incredible collection of nearly 110 manuscript items and more than 1.8 million books, bound periodicals, maps, and audiovisual materials.

Docents also will have the opportunity to guide tours of the Library’s exhibitions, in both the main gallery and the lobby, and answer questions about their content. Additionally, docents will be called upon to serve as educational instructors for school-age visitors, and may assist in the development of the Library’s educational programs.

If you are interested in joining this dynamic, new docent program, please visit our Web site at: for more information and an application. The first docent training session will be held from 10 AM to noon on May 21. Candidates need to complete a Docent Application and be interviewed prior to attending the initial training session. Docents must be 18 or older. Candidates must pass a security background check.

The Library of Virginia is the state’s oldest institution dedicated to the preservation of Virginia’s history. Its collections document the lives of Virginians whose deeds are known to every school child as well as those of ordinary citizens whose accomplishments are the foundation of our heritage. The Library has a vibrant public outreach program, offering book talks by Virginia authors, lectures on Virginia history, and free exhibitions that explore Virginia’s history and culture.
Apply to help the Library of Virginia by becoming a docent. Docents provide an indispensable service to thousands of visitors to the Library. We welcome your application.

Roanoke County Librarian Wins a NextGen Librarian Award

Keri Ostby from the Roanoke County Public Library System won a 2009 NextGen Award in the initiative category from Lyrasis. The first annual NextGen Librarian Award was created to identify and celebrate rising leaders in the library community. Winners will receive an honorarium for travel, hotel and registration to the SOLINET Annual Membership Meeting on May 14–15 in Atlanta, where they will share their innovations and activities in a breakout session. LexisNexis sponsored the 2009 award. Ostby is the only public librarian being honored with a NextGen award as a rising leader in the library industry.

Ostby was nominated as “the epitome of the Next Generation Librarian” for her “technology skills, energy, and positive attitude.” She is responsible for the success of the library’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Also cited in the nomination were her commitment to a responsive cataloging department, her work on the county’s Web 2.0 Committee and development of the library's technology plan, and her positioning of the library as a technology leader.

Other NextGen winners were Tim Gritten, Indiana State University, in the community involvement category; Sarah Steiner, Georgia State University, in the outreach category; Emily Gore, Clemson University, in the technology category; and Stacey Greenwell, University of Kentucky, in the leadership category.
Lyrasis is a regional membership organization for libraries and information professionals. It was formed by the merger of library networks PALINET and SOLINET, and currently serves nearly a third of the United States, including 16 states east of the Mississippi, plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information, please visit

Harry Easterly
A Home for Your Private Papers

Through family papers, business records, church records, organizational records, government records, and genealogical notes, researchers using the Library's extensive collections are able to study and understand the history of families, communities, businesses, and organizations in Virginia and the United States. The private records holdings not only shed light on personal experiences, but also reflect the social, political, economic, religious, and cultural life of Virginia.

Easterly LetterA recent donation by Mrs. Mary Friend Blanton Easterly illustrates the importance of preserving and donating family papers to the Library of Virginia. The collection includes correspondence, diaries, genealogical notes, newspaper clippings, photographs, publications, and scrapbooks. Of note is the correspondence, 1937-1945, between Mary Easterly and her future husband, Harry Easterly Jr., discussing social life, activities in Richmond during World War II, and life at the Virginia Military Institute and at Converse College. By studying these papers, researchers and historians can explore personal experiences as well as social, political, economic, religious, and cultural life in Virginia. In future years, the public (including students, professors, genealogists, journalists, and many others) will find the papers both interesting and of value to their work, helping to put a human face on history. For more information on donating materials to the Library of Virginia, please contact Lyndon Hart at 804-692-3743 or Renee Savits at 804-692-3629.
For more information on donating materials to the Library of Virginia, please contact Lyndon Hart at 804-692-3743 or Renee Savits at 804-692-3629.