The Library of Virginia Newsletter
July 2014

Finalists for the Library of Virginia's 2014 Literary Awards Announced

Stories of love, honor, and intrigue. Rhymes of death and mourning. All these and more are included in the finalists for the Library of Virginia’s 2014 Literary Awards.

In the nonfiction category three faculty members from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville are this year’s finalists.

Barbara Perry, a senior fellow and associate professor at the University of Virginia in the Miller Center’s Presidential Oral History Program, claimed one of the top three nonfiction spots for her biography Rose Kennedy: The Life and Times of a Political Matriarch. Critics have praised Perry for this compelling and intimate portrait drawn from newly released diaries and letters of Rose Kennedy.

Alan Taylor was tapped as a finalist for his Pulitzer Prize–winning book The Internal Enemy, a searing account of the slaves who sought freedom by escaping to the British side during the War of 1812. The Pulitzer committee’s citation calls the book “a meticulous and insightful account of why runaway slaves in the colonial era were drawn to the British side as potential liberators. The Internal Enemy’s riveting narrative re-creates the events that inspired black Virginians, haunted slaveholders, and set the nation on a new and dangerous course.” Taylor will begin teaching in August as the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Chair in the Corcoran Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Elizabeth R. Varon, the Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia, is the third finalist for Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War, her thought-provoking examination of the substantive and symbolic meanings of the surrender at Appomattox. In thisengaging scholarly consideration of the ambiguities surrounding the defeat of the South, Varon dispels many of the simplistic myths and explains the ongoing struggle that persisted in the newly united nation into the bitter eras of Reconstruction and Jim Crow.

The three finalists for the Emyl Jenkins Sexton Literary Award for Fiction include a first-time novelist and two much-decorated authors.

Carrie Brown, the Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Hollins University, won the Library of Virginia’s fiction prize in 2001 for The Hatbox Baby and in 2005 for Confinement. She makes the top three list this year for The Last First Day, an exquisitely written story of abiding love. Kirkus Review praises The Last First Day as “bittersweet with nostalgia, surprisingly sensual and sharply nuanced in its depiction of the strains and rewards that shape any long marriage.”

Debut novelist Virginia Pye, whose grandfather was Christian missionary, earns fiction finalist honors for River of Dust, a haunting and intricate look at a missionary couple serving in China. River of Dust was chosen as an Indie Next Pick by the Independent Booksellers Association. Pye, who lives in Richmond, has published award-winning short stories and has taught writing at New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, and in home and school settings. She is a past chair of the James River Writers and currently serves on the JRW Advisory Board.

Lee Smith is the third fiction finalist for Guests on Earth, her engrossing and touching historical novel exploring the treatment of mental illness and women’s independence, which features Zelda Fitzgerald and 13-year-old Evalina Toussaint as characters. Goodreads says, “Lee Smith has created, through her artful blending of fiction and fact, a mesmerizing novel about a world apart—a time and place where creativity and passion, theory and medicine, tragedy and transformation are luminously intertwined.” Smith, a Virginia native, received the Library of Virginia’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

The judges also recognized Seeing Red by Katherine Erskine, of Charlottesville, with an honorable mention.

Bob Hicok, who teaches at Virginia Tech, is a poetry finalist for Elegy Owed, his National Book Critics Circle Award finalist book of poetry. In describing the work, the Los Angeles Times writes, “Death is at the center of Hicok’s writing—not in a maudlin, self-pitying way, but rather as a vivid presence, infusing everything, even the deepest moments of connection, with a steely sense of loss.” Elegy Owed is the work of a powerful poet writing about grief and loss with intensity while at the same time being both absorbing and accessible.

Margaret Mackinnon, of Falls Church, was tapped as a poetry finalist for The Invented Child, her magnificent debut collection of poems. The Invented Child uses the poet’s family along with famous figures from history and fairy tales in a series of beautifully crafted and authentic poems. The Invented Child received the 2011 Gerald Cable Book Award, awarded annually to an author who has not yet published a book of poems.

R. T. Smith is the third poetry finalist for The Red Wolf: A Dream for Flannery O’Connor, a tour de force capturing the intricate details of O’Connor’s life and character. The poems are based on Smith’s long interest in O’Conner and his research at Georgia College and State University where the O'Connor Collection and manuscripts are located. Smith is the editor of Shenandoah and is the writer-in-residence at Washington and Lee University. He has twice won the Library of Virginia Poetry Award, for Messenger (2002)and Outlaw Style: Poems (2008).

The winners in each category (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) will be announced on Saturday, October 18, 2014, at the 17th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards Celebration Honoring Virginia Authors and Friends. This gala event, sponsored by Dominion, attracts authors, publishers, and those who enjoy the written word. Award-winning author Adriana Trigiani will again serve as host for this event. Barbara Kingsolver will be honored this year as the recipient of the Literary Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Metz Is New Deputy of Collections and Programs for the Library

John Metz, current director of the Library’s Archives, Records, and Collection Services Division, is the new deputy of Collections and Programs at the Library of Virginia, responsible for overseeing the Library’s collections, public services, outreach activities, and educational programs. He will coordinate agency activities in the areas of research, reference, archives, records management, special collections, circulation, collection management, publications, exhibitions, outreach, educational programs, library development, networking, and consulting.

He has more than 20 years of experience in historical research, education, collections management, and programming through his work as an archaeologist, historian, and architectural historian for museums and cultural institutions, including the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, the Bermuda National Trust, and the Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier. Metz has written and lectured extensively on Southern history, architecture, and material culture. He earned an undergraduate degree in American history and anthropology from Washington & Lee University, an MA in anthropology from the College of William and Mary, and a PhD in American studies from Boston University. Prior to joining the Library of Virginia in 2008, he was director of historical resources and education at the Henry Ford Museum.

Metz is the author of numerous articles for scholarly journals and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He is the co-author with Louis A. Ferleger of the forthcoming Cultivating Success in the South: Farm Households in the Postbellum Era, publishedby Cambridge University Press. Metz serves on the program committee for the Council of State Archivists and from 2009 to 2014 was a member of the State Review Board of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

“I am delighted to have John serving as deputy of collections and programs,” said Librarian of Virginia Sandra G. Treadway. “He brings a wealth of experience both at the Library and with several other historical organizations to this position, and I am looking forward to working more closely with him to advance the Library’s strategic goals.”

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Peter Broadbent to Serve as Library Board Chair

Peter E. Broadbent, Jr.

Peter E. Broadbent, Jr., of Richmond, has been elected chair of the Library Board. A partner in the law firm of Christian & Barton, LLP, he is a graduate of St. Christopher’s School in Richmond and earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Duke University and a juris doctorate from the University of Virginia. Broadbent chaired the Board previously from July 1, 2003, to June 30, 2004.

Broadbent has held numerous leadership roles in the genealogical and history communities, serving as a director and former president of the Virginia Genealogy Society and the Genealogical Research Institute of Virginia, former director of the National Genealogical Society, director of the Friends of the Virginia State Archives, president of the Society of Colonial Wars in Virginia, and member of the Virginia Commission on the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library Board of Regents.

Ernestine Middleton, of Virginia Beach, was elected vice chair. A retired school librarian, she has extensive experience working with volunteer organizations. Middleton served on the Virginia Symphony Board of Directors, the Virginia Beach Public Library Board, the Friends of the ODU Library Board, and the Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach Historical Society Board.

The next meeting of the Library Board will take place on September 29 in Richmond at the Library of Virginia.

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Women's History Gems Discovered at Antiquarian Book Fair

The Library of Virginia’s Special Collections Department recently added two extremely rare titles to its collection of Virginia women’s history–related materials. The items were purchased at the third annual Antiquarian Book Fair, held at the Library in May.

Girl Scout Troop 35

Girl Scouts in Richmond
Girl Scout Troop 35, Richmond, Virginia, Annual Report for 1937–1938
This annual report details the beginnings of the African American Girl Scott Troop 35, organized and run by Richmond’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, with 33 girls invested during its first year. It contains a brief history of the origins of African American Girl Scout troops in Richmond (first established at Virginia Union University in 1932, with 13 school-age girls); images of the troop and its leaders; a calendar of programs, conferences, educational trips, sports, and outdoor activities; and descriptions of charitable events the troop participated in. It also includes an amusing column, written in rhyme, entitled “Who’s Who in Troop 35.” The troop remained active into World War II, providing candy and cookies at several Richmond USO (United Service Organizations, Inc.) events for U.S. armed services personnel.

Saloons in Roanoke

Saloons in Roanoke
Petition of the Women of the City of Staunton, Va. in Behalf of Closing the Saloons in the City, July 12th, 1907 by the Ladies' Auxiliary Committee to the Staunton Anti-Saloon Committee
This title is an emotional appeal from the women of the community to compel their voting husbands to act to close the city’s saloons, since, according to the women, they “CAN NOT VOTE TO PROTECT OUR HOMES AND OUR OWN BOYS” and because their “sons are too precious to be sacrificed upon the altar of the saloon.” The petition requests that men refrain from voting if they won’t vote the dry ticket, since it would be maintaining an institution (saloons) that ensnares loved ones. The pamphlet’s last seven pages contain printed signatures, with each page containing three columns of names of women in the community. The Anti-Saloon Committee included leadership from several denominations in Staunton: Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, and Presbyterian.

—submitted by Audrey McElhinney, Senior Rare Book Librarian

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2014 Anne and Ryland Brown Teacher Research Fellows Selected

After receiving a record number of applicants this year, the Library of Virginia is pleased to announce that Cathy Nichols-Cocke and Dan Tulli have been awarded the 2014 Anne and Ryland Brown Teacher Research Fellowships. Endowed by Ellen and Orran Brown in honor of his parents, Anne and Ryland Brown of Forest, Virginia, the fund is a legacy to their lifelong belief in the power of education to improve an individual’s well being and that of his or her family. The Brown Teacher Research Fellowship provides Virginia educators the opportunity to research and study a specific aspect of Virginia history and produce educational resources to support the Library of Virginia’s ongoing exhibition and education programs. The award includes a generous stipend as well as an allocation to cover registration fees and travel for conference presentations. Over the course of two weeks during the summer, the Brown Fellows work with Library of Virginia staff members—including consultation with reference and archival staff—to pursue research on the selected topics for the year. The Brown Fellows are also encouraged to make presentations at educational conferences based on their research and lesson plans.

Cathy Nichols-Cocke

Cathy Nichols-Cocke will develop teacher resources that explore the topic of forced migration and the experiences of enslaved Virginians during the 19th century to support the Library’s upcoming exhibition To Be Sold: Virginia and the American Slave Trade, which will highlight Virginia’s role in the interstate slave trade.

Nichols-Cocke taught secondary-level history for 12 years in Virginia and left the classroom to pursue a PhD at Virginia Tech. There she co-taught an education methods course, supervised students pursuing a master’s degree in education, and received a PhD in curriculum and instruction (history and social science) and a graduate certificate in public history. Her research incorporated controversial issues into high-stakes testing and standards-based secondary level U.S. history classrooms. She also researched the intersections of formal and informal learning—using museum resources to enhance classroom instruction. Nichols-Cocke is interested in professional development for teachers and has presented talks at the National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference, the White House Historical Association, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. A resident of Lynchburg, she currently teaches 11th-grade Virginia and U.S. history in Campbell County.

Dan Tulli

Dan Tulli will develop teacher resources that examine Virginia’s Reconstruction Era to support the Library’s upcoming exhibition Remaking Virginia: Transformation Through Emancipation, which will examine the transformation of Virginia society in the years following the Civil War.

A National Board Certified Teacher at L. C. Bird High School in Chesterfield County, Tulli also works part-time as an adjunct instructor of history at John Tyler Community College and Richard Bland College, and received an R.E.B. Award for Teaching Excellence in 2013. He has served as a C-SPAN Teaching Fellow in Washington, DC, and holds a BA in political science (Longwood University) as well as an MEd (College of William and Mary) and MA in history (Virginia Commonwealth University).

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IMLS Releases Report on Public Libraries

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has released its Public Libraries in the United States Report, an in-depth examination of Fiscal Year 2011 survey data with important findings about the state of public library service in the U.S.
For the first time, the agency used statistical modeling to examine the relationship between investments in public libraries and library use and found that, in most cases, when investment increases, use increases, and when investment decreases, use decreases, and that these relationships persist over time.

  • Increases in investments in books and e-books, programs, public-access computers, and staffing were associated with increased levels of visitation. For example, each additional FTE (full-time equivalent) on staff corresponded with, on average, a 3,371.8 increase in the total number of visits.
  • Increases in collections and programs were related to increases in circulation. For example, for every 100 e-books available, an additional 345 items circulated, and for each additional program offered, there was an increase of 61.2 items circulated.
  • Increases in the number of public-access Internet computers were related to increases in computer use and program attendance. For every additional computer, there was an increase of 474 uses and an increase in program attendance of 52.4 attendees.
  • Increases in programs and staffing were related to higher levels of program attendance. Each additional staff person related to an increase of 95.2 in program attendance and every additional program corresponded to 10 additional program attendees.

The findings also indicate the ways in which library service is fundamentally changing. Reductions in physical visits to the library are associated with investments in e-materials such as e-books, which may be an indication that services are moving online, allowing people to perform library transactions such as checking availability of materials, checking them out and returning them online. And, an overall reduction in computer use could correspond with investments in wireless, which libraries have made so that customers can use their own devices.
Among the key findings:

  • There were 1.53 billion in-person visits to public libraries in FY 2011—equivalent to more than 4.2 million visits each day. Although this is a 10-year increase of 23 percent, in-person visitation has fallen by 3.9 percent since FY 2008. Public libraries were visited an average of 5.1 times per person, a decrease in per capita visitation of 3.6 percent from FY 2010. 
  • Public libraries circulated 2.44 billion materials in FY 2011, a 10-year increase of 29 percent. There were 8.1 materials circulated per person in FY 2011. One-third of circulated materials (34.5 percent) were children’s materials.
  • Attendance at public library programs has increased for the eighth year. In FY 2011, 89 million people attended the 3.81 million programs held at public libraries across the nation. This represented a 32.3 percent increase in attendance and 46.7 percent increase in the number of programs since FY 2004.
  • There were 341.5 million usage sessions on public access Internet computers at public libraries in FY 2011. Usage decreased by 7.2 percent since FY 2006.

The full report is available at

–submitted by Giuliana Bullard, IMLS

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Montgomery County Circuit Court Records Project Reaches Midway Point

The end of June marked the midway point for the Library of Virginia’s two-year project entitled “Preserving and Providing Access to the Montgomery County Circuit Court Records Collection,” which is funded in part with a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project employs three archivists to arrange, describe, and preserve 150 cubic feet of archival material in the Montgomery County chancery causes. The project will make index information available through the searchable Chancery Records Index and deliver electronic finding aids on the Web through the Virginia Heritage Project, a finding-aids consortium of 23 Virginia archival institutions.

The effort also serves as a pilot project in which the Library establishes a presence in a locality for the duration of an archival project, rather than moving the locality’s historic materials to Richmond for processing—and leaving the locality without access to the records. This model educates courthouse staff in basic archival management and best practices for future preservation projects, gives courthouse staff increased intellectual and physical control over the other historical documents they house, and builds relationships in the area by involving volunteers from the community and local universities that focus on public history.

Ultimately, the NHPRC-funded project will allow for an estimated 225,000 documents from historic Montgomery County Chancery Causes—dating from the county’s beginning in 1777 through 1912—to be properly processed, indexed, and prepared for digitization. It will also create electronic finding aids for an additional 150,000 loose documents from historical court records found in the clerk’s office in Christiansburg, where they will remain because of the intense interest and frequent use of the collection by local heritage groups.

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Board Releases Meeting Schedule

At its annual meeting in June the State Library Board approved its meeting schedule for the upcoming fiscal year. Meetings of the Board are open to the public, begin at 10:30 AM, and are preceded by committee meetings, which are also open to the public.

The 15-member Library Board will meet at the Library of Virginia in Richmond on:

  • September 29, 2014
  • January 26, 2015
  • April 13, 2015
  • June 25, 2015
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Revamped Kids InfoBits Available to Public Library Cardholders

The Library of Virginia, in partnership with Gale/Cengage Learning, is pleased to provide Virginia libraries with the new and improved Kids InfoBits database, which boasts improved navigation on many platforms (including mobile devices), text translation to 12 languages, Lexile levels (information on text difficulty), and technology that reads the text to the user.

Kids InfoBits provides access to reference content, magazines, newspapers, maps, charts, graphs, and more than 13,000 searchable images. The updated version includes content from Blackbirch Kid's Visual Reference of the United States, as well as information on weather, natural disasters, and more.

This fun and reliable resource is just one of many available 24/7 through Find It Virginia, a collection of databases that provide access to resources such as newspapers, magazine and journal articles, and books such as encyclopedias. Materials are available for all interests and age ranges. A Virginia public library card is the only requirement to use these resources. Virginians can visit their local public library to register for a library card. These online resources are provided by the Library of Virginia through federal funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

–submitted by Carol Adams, Library Development and Networking Services

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