The Library of Virginia Newsletter
June 2011

Earl Hamner to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Nelson County native Earl Hamner, writer of novels, television shows, and movies and the force behind the semiautobiographical television series The Waltons, will receive the 2011 Literary Lifetime Achievement Award from the Library of Virginia at the 14th Annual Literary Awards Celebration on October 15, 2011.

Hamner grew up in Schuyler, Virginia, with seven brothers and sisters. From an early age he exhibited a love of words and writing. When he was six his poem, "My Dog" was published on the Children's Page of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. His potential was recognized and he received encouragement from his teachers and members of the tight-knit community.

Hamner received a scholarship to the University of Richmond, but midway through his sophomore year Hamner was drafted. He spent time learning to drive tanks and diffuse mines, but his ability to type landed him in the Quartermaster Corps. While in the U.S. Army Hamner began to submit stories for publication.

After his discharge in March 1946 he returned to Richmond and briefly worked for local radio station WMBG. In the fall of 1946 Hamner enrolled in the school of broadcasting at the University of Cincinnati and graduated in 1948.

Shortly after graduation Hamner went to New York City and found work as a radio writer for NBC. His first book, Fifty Roads to Town, was published by Random House in 1953 and in 1961 his novel Spencer's Mountain was published by Dial Press.

He began writing scripts for episodes of the Twilight Zone and CBS Playhouse. The film rights to Spencer's Mountain were purchased by Warner Bros. and Hamner was on his way as a success in Hollywood. In 1970 The Homecoming was published by Random House and became a CBS special starring Patricia Neal and later was the basis of the long-running and hugely popular television series The Waltons. Hamner garnered additional fame as a writer for Falcon Crest, a prime time soap opera, which aired on CBS from 1981 to 1990.
Hamner has received numerous honors including:

  • TV-Radio Writers Award (1967)
  • George Foster Peabody Award for Distinguished Journalism (1972)
  • Virginian of the Year Award from Virginia Press Association (1973)
  • An Emmy for Best Drama Series for The Waltons (1974)
  • National Association of Television Executives Man of the Year Award (1974)
  • Virginian Association of Broadcasters Award (1975)
  • Frederic Ziv Award from the University of Cincinnati for Outstanding Achievement in Telecommunication
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iTunes Education Spotlight

Beginning April 12, the Education Spotlight in Apple's iTunes focused on the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. To commemorate this date, iTunes created a collection of material from various institutions including the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Harvard's Houghton Library, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Library of Virginia.

The Library of Virginia in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education created an ePub, Union or Secession: Virginians Decide, which presents private letters, public debates, and other Library of Virginia records that allow Virginians who experienced the crisis between the autumn of 1860 and the summer of 1861 to explain their thoughts, fears, and decisions in their own words in an electronic publication format. Union or Secession: Virginians Decide contains 15 chapters and is available as a free download for iBooks. The Virginia on iTunes U portal provides a venue for the K-12 audience to access instructional content. It is anticipated that additional ePubs will be created showcasing the remarkable educational resources of the Library of Virginia using the Virginia on iTunes U portal.

Through iTunes U for K-12 education, students, teachers, and other interested users can "learn on the go" by downloading audio and video content onto an iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone from any computer with Internet access. The Virginia on iTunes U portal is part of a larger effort by the Commonwealth to harness the power of digital media and mobile devices to expand and supplement classroom-based education.

Virginia on iTunes U may be accessed at if iTunes is downloaded on the computer (PC or Mac). A free download of iTunes is available at

-submitted by Betsy Barton, Virginia Department of Education

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Voting for the People's Choice Awards Continues through June 30

This year's fiction finalists for the People's Choice Awards are: Dreams That Won't Let Go by Stacy Hawkins Adams, Stork Raving Mad by Donna Andrews, Mattaponi Queen: Stories by Belle Boggs, The Confession by John Grisham, and In the Company of Others by Jan Karon.

The nonfiction finalists are: When Janey Comes Marching Home by Laura Browder, The Horse in Virginia by Julie A. Campbell, Birthright: The True Story that Inspired Kidnapped by A. Roger Ekirch, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and Bible Babel by Kristen Swenson.

Vote at your local public library or online at the Library of Virginia's Web site, Winners will be announced at the Library of Virginia Literary Awards Celebration on October 15, 2011. Dominion is the sponsor of the 2011 Literary Awards and the Richmond Times-Dispatch is the media sponsor.

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Love the Library of Virginia?

Want to keep it thriving? Become a member of the Semper Virginia Society today! Your tax-deductible gift helps the Library of Virginia Foundation acquire books and documents, conserve threatened materials, digitize documents to make them available worldwide, create new Virginia history resources for teachers, and so much more. The Library of Virginia Foundation relies on the generosity of patrons just like you to help support the most comprehensive collection of materials on Virginia history, culture, and government available anywhere. Please help if you are able. To find out about the benefits of membership, including discounts of up to 20 percent at the Virginia Shop, visit our online registration.

-submitted by Dan Stackhouse, Library of Virginia Foundation

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Library Suspends Job Search and Help Sessions for the Summer

For the last two and a half years numerous Library of Virginia staff members have donated lunch hours several days a week to assist job seekers in writing resumes, searching for jobs online, filing online applications, and even creating e-mail addresses so that resumes and applications can be submitted.

Participation in the sessions has declined in recent months according to Cindy Church, continuing education consultant for the Library of Virginia. "The falling numbers hopefully are a result of an improving job market," she said. "We have decided to suspend the informal training sessions for the summer. We will re-evaluate and decide whether to start again in September."

She estimates that the Library served 1,300 people through the sessions. User feedback was very positive with 95 percent reporting that the assistance was crucial in re-entering the workforce.

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Governor McDonnell Makes Appointments to Library Board

Governor Bob McDonnell has appointed Patricia Thomas Evans, of Fairfax, and Ernestine K. Middleton, of Virginia Beach, to the Library Board. In addition, he reappointed Carole Weinstein, of Richmond, to a second term on the Library Board.

Patricia Thomas Evans, managing consultant for IBM, earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Centenary College of Louisiana, along with a teaching certification. She earned a master's degree in mathematics (with a minor in physics) from the University of Texas at Austin. She received an MBA degree from George Washington University in Washington, DC.

Ernestine K. Middleton, a retired school librarian, is the widow of a former member of the General Assembly, Beverly Randolph Middleton of Virginia Beach. She serves on the Board of the Cultural Alliance in Hampton Roads, whose mission is to stimulate cultural vitality and facilitate the development of healthy and dynamic cultural institutions throughout the region.

The 15-member Library Board is appointed by the governor for five-year terms. The Library Board is a policy board. It determines the scope of the Library's collection; establishes policy concerning what books are to be kept, housed, or exhibited by the Library; promotes education in the area of history and library and archival science in the commonwealth; and enters into agreements with institutions and organizations with similar purposes.

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St. Christopher's Publication Added to High School Newspapers Collection

The Library of Virginia is pleased to welcome the Pine Needle to its growing collection of high school newspapers. The Pine Needle comes to us with commentaries from the boys of St. Christopher's School, which at the time of publication was located on Grove Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. The earliest issue acquired is from March 1924. The paper is published from a literary angle, often weaving strong imagery with wit and humor. Through the articles we learn of a young German refugee attending the lower school in 1939, an overseas trip by one of the students leaving Liverpool on the SS Antonia, and the passing of the founding headmaster, C. G. Chamberlayne, who was revered by many and believed that, "procrastination is the thief of time."

Though some of the paper's vernacular pricks up modern ears, we have the benefit of time to discern its tone and place in history. These issues exhibit a strong sense of honor. The young men are serious writers, opinionated and creative. They are supported by a headmaster's column that stresses the virtues of humility, strength, and hard work. The paper assumed its name from the pine trees sprawling across 30 acres of school grounds.

The school's motto, "initium sapientiae timor domini," printed on the header of the newspaper, translates to "the fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom." The Pine Needle offers an opportunity to gaze into the lives, interests, and thoughts of young men from the early part of the 20th century.

-submitted by Rachel Hilton, Virginia Newspaper Project volunteer

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Library Celebrates Service of Peggy Stillman Stalnaker

Margaret P. "Peggy" Stillman Stalnaker attended her last Library of Virginia Foundation Board of Trustees meeting on May 19, ending a long and distinguished period of service to the Library. Initially appointed to the State Library Board in 1986 by Governor Gerald L. Baliles, she served on the board for two five-year terms before joining the Library Foundation. She was vice chair of the Library Board from 1986 to 1987 and served as chair from 1986 to 1987 and from 1993 to 1994.

Her leadership as chair of the Library's Building Committee was instrumental in securing approval for the current library facility. She served as chair of the Library's gala dedication and followed that by leading All Virginia Reads, a statewide reading initiative that culminated in a glittering celebration, An Evening with William Styron featuring Kevin Kline, Mike Wallace, and Meryl Streep as well as Styron.

In 2005 the Library of Virginia Foundation presented Stalnaker with the Semper Virginia Society Award in recognition of her prominent leadership in the public library community and her significant contributions toward the advancement of libraries and literature in Virginia. She served as director of the Chesapeake Public Library from 1985 until her retirement in 2008. Stalnaker first came to the Chesapeake Public Library as an intern, spent more than 30 years building the library system into one of the top-ranked systems in the country, and was instrumental in the development of the Chesapeake Public Library Foundation.

"Peggy has been a source of inspiration, a tireless advocate for the Library of Virginia, and someone who was willing to lead though action not just words," said Sandra G. Treadway, Librarian of Virginia. "The Library of Virginia owes her so much for her hard work and dedication. We look forward to seeing Peggy and her husband at Library events and know that she will always been available when we need advice and direction."

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Commission Publishes Race, Slavery, and the American Civil War

The Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission is proud to announce the publication of Race, Slavery, and the American Civil War: The Tough Stuff of American History and Memory, edited by James O. Horton and Amanda Kleintop. The book is based on the proceedings of the conference of same name sponsored in September 2010 by the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission.

Leading Civil War historians and scholars Ira Berlin, David Blight, Spencer Crew, Harold Holzer, Bruce Levine, James McPherson, Edna Greene Medford, Cassandra Newby-Alexander, Dwight T. Pitcaithley, and Jean Fagan Yellin spoke on race and slavery and participated in discussions and question-and-answer sessions

The 11 thought-provoking essays in the volume address the American memory of the Civil War, individuals and groups that struggled for equality and rights during the war, the myth of black Confederates, and how to address the causes of the Civil War in public history. The 160-page book with black-and-white historic photographs and illustrations can be purchased at for $23.95 plus shipping and handling. A two-volume DVD set of the complete proceedings of the 2010 signature conference is available for $25 plus shipping and handling.

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Announces Digital Literacy Initiative

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke recently announced a digital literacy initiative that works to expand economic and educational opportunities in America. The new Web site provides libraries, community colleges, schools, and workforce training centers with a variety of resources and tools for teaching computer and Internet skills, which are increasingly necessary for success in today's economy. The Web site allows individuals to find free training on a range of digital literacy topics, at different skill levels, including searching and applying for jobs online.

In partnership with nine federal agencies, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) created to provide librarians, teachers, workforce trainers, and others with a central location to share digital literacy content and best practices. These trusted groups can, in turn, improve their community outreach by offering training in the skills today's employers need. NTIA is also partnering with the American Library Association and the Institute of Museum and Library Services to promote the use of the portal by the nation's more than 16,600 public libraries, where, in 2009, more than 30 million job-seekers used computers to search and apply for jobs. In launching, NTIA is building on knowledge gained from managing its broadband grants program in order to provide digital literacy resources to all Americans.

For more information see the Digital Literacy Fact Sheet.

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