The Library of Virginia Newsletter
December 2009

Homemades by Suzanne to Operate Library Café for Three Months

Great Foods to Go at the Library of Virginia has closed. The Library will begin the process to secure a new vendor as soon as possible, but working through the procurement steps means that a permanent replacement will not be secured for a few months.

In the interim the Library of Virginia Foundation has arranged for Homemades by Suzanne to begin serving lunch at the Library of Virginia lobby café. Homemades by Suzanne will operate the lunchtime service for three months while the General Assembly is in session under a temporary contract with the Foundation.

Homemades by Suzanne offers quick homemade sandwiches, deviled eggs, side salads, and deep-dish pies and layer cakes for pick up. Homemade soups, garden salads, chicken Caesar salads, and their popular quiches also are served. In the morning, coffee, muffins, quiche, and breakfast items will be available. These menu items will be ready for take out or to enjoy in the dining area of the Library.

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Library to Honor 2010 African American Trailblazers

In observance of African American History Month, the Library of Virginia, in partnership with Capital One Financial Corporation, is honoring eight distinguished Virginians as the 2010 American Trailblazers in Virginia History for their contributions to Virginia and the nation. Those being honored this year are:

Gowan Pamphlet (ca. 1750–1807 or 1808), Williamsburg
Baptist Leader

Mary Smith Kelsey Peake (1823–1862), Hampton

Sara Lucy Bagby Johnson (ca. 1833–1906), Wheeling
Plaintiff in Cause Célèbre

Joseph Thomas Newsome (1869–1942), Newport News
Lawyer and Editor

Dorothy Bigelow Hamm (1919–2004), Caroline and Arlington counties
Civil Rights Advocate and Community Activist

Henry L. Marsh, III (1933–  ), Richmond
Civil Right Attorney and Public Servant

Florence Saunders Farley, (1928–  ), Roanoke and Petersburg
Psychologist, Educator, Elected Official, and Artist

Christopher Bernard Howard (1969–  ), Hampden-Sydney
President of Hampden-Sydney College

The men and women featured as Trailblazers offer powerful examples of individuals who refused to be defined by their circumstances. Their biographies are a testament to the determination and perseverance displayed by extraordinary people during challenging times. Through education and advocacy, these individuals demonstrate how African Americans have actively campaigned for better lives for themselves and their people. It is these many contributions that the African American Trailblazers program seeks to share.

Biographies of the honorees will be featured in an exhibition on display at the Library in February; on a poster that has been sent to schools, libraries, and museums across Virginia; and on an educational Web site for teachers and students. To learn more about the individuals honored this year visit our Web site at

The 2010 honorees also will be celebrated at an awards ceremony hosted by the Library on February 25. Seating is limited, so please call 804-692-3900 by February 22 for reservations.

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Library of Virginia to Host Naturalization Ceremony for 75 New U.S. Citizens

The Library of Virginia will host a special naturalization ceremony on January 13 in conjunction with its exhibition The Land We Live In, the Land We Left: Virginia’s People.  Seventy-five people from 33 countries will take the Oath of Allegiance and become U.S. citizens.

The Honorable Roger L. Gregory, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth District, will preside during the ceremony.  Sandra G. Treadway, Librarian of Virginia, will deliver welcoming remarks while
Ja-Nel James, field office director for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in Norfolk, will present the candidates for citizenship.  Chryssi Maria Dessypris, Library of Virginia reference librarian and a naturalized citizen, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.  The cadets of Franklin Military Academy will present the colors.

The new citizens hail from the following countries:  Afghanistan, Antigua-Barbuda, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Hungary, Canada, the People’s Republic of China, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Kenya, Guyana, India, Israel, Jamaica, Laos, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Australia, Rwanda, South Korea, St. Kitts-Nevis, Sudan, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

The Library of Virginia holds the world’s most extensive collection of material about the Old Dominion.  This year’s exhibition runs through Aug. 28, 2010, and will explore the lives of immigrants from a wide variety of homelands who settled in every part of Virginia. 

To highlight the importance of U.S. citizenship, USCIS naturalization ceremonies are often held at prominent national and historic sites nationwide.  During FY2009, USCIS welcomed more than 743,000 new citizens nationwide, including approximately 25,000 residents of Virginia.

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Library Offers Online Guide to Civil War Research Materials

Battle of Williamsburg

Fresh off the anniversary of John Brown's Raid, the Library of Virginia introduces a new resource in conjunction with the impending Civil War Sesquicentennial. The Civil War Research Guide provides researchers with examples of books, manuscripts, digital collections, and other resources found at the Library of Virginia.

Explore the guide using the following link:

Thanks to the following staff members who contributed to the guide: Jason Roma, Kathy Jordan, Renee Savits, Trenton Hizer, Cara Griggs, Sandy Farrell, Dale Neighbors, Kelley Ewing, Lyn Hart, Edwin Ray, Matthew Ball, Gregg Kimball, Brent Tarter, Emily Salmon, and Paige Buchbinder.

—submitted by Craig Moore, Archival and Records Management Services

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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Announces New Support for Public Libraries to Help Provide Broadband Access for More Americans

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed nearly $3.4 million in grants to bolster Internet connections for libraries in five states. It also announced partnerships with 14 additional states to help public libraries compete for federal broadband stimulus funds. Nationally, libraries report that patron demand for high-speed Internet access is growing faster than their ability to provide increased bandwidth. A recent American Library Association study reports that 60 percent of all libraries say their current Internet speed is insufficient.

The Library of Virginia will receive $977,468 to help improve the broadband connectivity in Virginia public libraries though the foundation’s generosity. Virginia libraries eligible for this grant are those that currently do not have 1.5 Mbps broadband connectivity. State libraries in Arkansas ($735,207), Kansas ($363,099), Massachusetts ($367,789), and New York ($947,517) also received foundation funds to execute statewide plans to improve and maintain Internet connections in local libraries. Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, and Washington will participate in the foundation’s new Opportunity Online broadband grant program, which will help libraries develop proposals for federal broadband stimulus funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) established through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

States participating in the foundation’s Opportunity Online broadband grant program will receive technical and consulting assistance to develop competitive funding proposals for BTOP, and will receive federally required matching funds from the Gates Foundation, contingent on a successful BTOP award. Participating states will also receive assistance to help secure additional federal E-rate funding to sustain broadband connection costs in the future.

The foundation solicited letters of interest for the Opportunity Online broadband program from state libraries seeking to acquire significant additional broadband access for libraries in their respective states. The foundation chose to support states that articulated the most compelling and feasible projects aligned with the objectives of the program. The foundation also considered a state’s need for assistance in developing a competitive BTOP proposal.

The five states receiving Gates Foundation grants to implement local broadband improvement plans have partnered with the foundation since early in 2009 to develop strategies for upgrading and sustaining Internet connections in libraries, as well as raising federal E-rate participation rates among libraries. Arkansas, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia were selected to receive foundation grants because they had a high number of libraries without high-speed Internet access that were struggling to increase their bandwidth for patrons. The state libraries of California and Texas also participated in the program and will be eligible for grants early in 2010.

The foundation has invested $350 million in grants and support to install and sustain computers in libraries and train thousands of library staff members in all 50 states and U.S. territories. The foundation continues to support libraries through investments in programs, research, advocacy training, and public awareness efforts that will help libraries sustain high-quality online access for patrons in partnership with their communities. For more information, visit

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Lillian Lambert's Book Launch Set for February 4 at the Library

Lillian Lambert: A Road to Someplace Better

Lillian Lambert, local entrepreneur and speaker, will celebrate the launch of her first book at The Library of Virginia on February 4, 2010 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public.

The Road to Someplace Better: From the Segregated South to Harvard Business School and Beyond describes Lambert’s journey from her rural roots in Powhatan County to her historic achievement as the first black woman to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1969. After Harvard, Lambert continued to break barriers by founding and transforming her own company, Centennial One, into a $20 million operation, employing more than 1,200 employees before she sold it in 2001. Her book interweaves hard-won lessons and life-affirming principles that will inspire people to dream big, act bold, and never be afraid to find their own path. She describes it as “part memoir, part road map.”

In her book, Lambert writes about leaving her family farm at the age of 18, certain that her “someplace better” was New York City. However, armed with only a high school diploma, she could only find work as a maid. Little did she dream that one day she would be the CEO of her own building maintenance company. As she says in the book, “Owning the mop is much different than pushing the mop.”

She realized she needed to get back on track and that meant a better education. She enrolled in Howard University, where she met a professor who became her mentor and guiding light. He convinced her, a girl who had worn flour sack dresses in grade school, that she was “Harvard material.” She was accepted into the business school, blissfully unaware that she was the only black female in her class.

However, her history-making Harvard MBA was not the golden ticket to the top of the corporate ladder at first. In those early days of the civil rights and woman’s rights movements, corporate recruiters did not know what to do with a “double minority.” But Lillian would not let this be a roadblock on her path to success.

“I didn’t set out to make history at Harvard or be in the early entrepreneurial wave of black female CEOS,” Lambert says. “I just wanted to make a better life for myself.” In doing so, she helped knock down barriers for others. But she is quick to acknowledge the many others who walked with her on her journey—family, teachers, professors, employers. “They believed in me and, most of all, they helped me believe in myself.”

She lives in Mechanicsville and remains active in the Richmond community. Lambert serves on Virginia Commonwealth University's board of visitors and is a member of the Metropolitan Business League, the North Central Richmond Kiwanis, the River City Express Network, and the Virginia Chapter of the National Speakers Association. She is also a member of St. Peter Baptist Church in Glen Allen, where she sings in the choir.

Lambert’s February 4 book talk at the Library of Virginia is cosponsored by the Black History Museum, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Community Affairs, and the VMFA Friends of African and African American Art. A reception, sponsored by the Links, Inc., and the Harvard Alumni of Richmond, will follow the talk and book signing.

The Road to Someplace Better will be available through the Virginia Shop at the Library of Virginia. To order a book please call 804-692-3524.

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Selected 2009 Library Acquisitions

The Library’s limited budget for collection development is generously augmented by grants from the Library of Virginia Foundation and donations from individuals and organizations as well as through the Federal Depository Library Program and the State Publications Depository Program. Materials are selected to expand our resources in areas such as Virginia history and culture, southern history, and genealogy, and to complement our archival, manuscript, and special collections. We acquire scholarly works that place Virginia within the context of the wider world, and collect a variety of publications that showcase the commonwealth's literary and cultural life, both historically and in the present. Follow the link to browse a selection of titles acquired in 2009. Items with an asterisk circulate outside the Library building and may be borrowed with a Library of Virginia borrower's card or via interlibrary loan.

—submitted by Mary Clark and Leah Thomas, Collection Management Services

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Snuggle Up with Peter Rabbit

The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce Snuggle Up with Peter Rabbit, a winter reading program focusing on children from18 months to four years old. This is the second year that the Library has offered a winter reading program. For more than two decades the Library has sponsored the hugely popular summer reading program in the state’s public libraries. The winter reading program is designed to instill a love of reading in young children by having the child’s parent or other special adult read to them. The program will begin in February and run through March 2010.

Libraries participating in the winter reading program will receive materials from the Library of Virginia such as reading logs, activity sheets, posters, and activities to help children develop reading skills. Winter reading materials will be available in Spanish. Joining the Library of Virginia in supporting the winter reading program are Smart Beginnings and Read Aloud Virginia.

Reading to children lays the framework for future literacy. A study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood found that young children who had been read aloud to were more likely to enjoy reading. Language and literacy skills both were improved by parents reading to children. The benefits also continued throughout the school years, the research found.

“Reaching out to parents about the importance of reading to young children is critical to ensuring that Virginia’s children have the early experiences with language that translates into success when a child enters school,” said Sandra G. Treadway, Librarian of Virginia. “The use of Beatrix Potter’s beloved Peter Rabbit as this winter’s theme ensures that Snuggle Up with Peter Rabbit will engage both parents and children in reading and in the many programs and activities offered by the state’s public libraries.”

The Snuggle Up with Peter Rabbit winter reading program builds on the special relationship public librarians have with children and the adults who bring them to the library. The desired outcome of the program is the creation of communities where children are ready to learn when they attend kindergarten. The artwork for Snuggle Up with Peter Rabbit is used with permission from Frederick Warne & Co., the owner of all rights, copyrights, and trademarks for the Beatrix Potter character names and illustrations.

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Special Acquisitions Fund Established

A special acquisitions fund was created in honor of Ann N. Harris, Conley L. Edwards III, and Elizabeth M. "Libby" Lewis, three longtime Library of Virginia employees who retired in December. This special fund will be used during the coming year to purchase books, manuscripts, and other items for the collections that the Library of Virginia otherwise would not be able to purchase given the recent budget cuts. Donations will be recognized by placing a special bookplate and mention in the catalog record for the items purchased with this fund; Edwards, Harris, Lewis will be honored and remembered for their service for years to come.

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