The Library of Virginia Newsletter
May 2016

Dictionary of Virginia Biography Reaches a Digital Milestone

The Library of Virginia's award–winning Dictionary of Virginia Biography (DVB) is transitioning from a printed publication (three volumes to date) to an online resource, and we are pleased to announce that the DVB has published more than 500 biographies online. Biographies of Virginians with surnames from Aaroe through Fiveash, in addition to others further down the alphabet, can be accessed through the DVB Search webpage, or by using the Google search window on the Library's website.

Many of the DVB biographies have been published as part of Freedom to Disfranchisement: The African American Experience in Virginia, 1861–1902, a National Endowment for the Humanities–funded collaboration with Encyclopedia Virginia, a project of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Freedom to Disfranchisement offers the public new and valuable information on people and events from the Civil War through Virginia's Constitution of 1902, which disfranchised half of the state's voters.

The DVB covers all centuries, regions, and categories of Virginia's history and culture, and highlights many women, African Americans, Indians, and others whose lives have never before been studied. Learn about tennis champion and humanitarian Arthur Ashe, social reformer Kate Waller Barrett, Medal of Honor recipient Desmond Doss, or attorney Inez Fields. This dynamic project is rewriting Virginia history one life at a time, and many of the entries offer the first reliable biography ever printed about their subjects. Educators, students, and librarians turn to the DVB for information they can "trust as accurate, an important feature in this digital age." Family historians and genealogists have praised the "invaluable" information found in the biographies, and many family groups have appeared in the DVB, such as the Burwells of colonial Virginia and the Fishburns of 20th–century Roanoke. Scholars, museum curators, archivists, and journalists have also relied on the Dictionary of Virginia Biography in their research.

More biographies are added online each month, so make sure to check back.

—submitted by John G. Deal and Marianne E. Julienne, Public Services and Outreach Division

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2016 Anne and Ryland Brown Teacher Research Fellowship is Open to Virginia 4th–12th Grade History and Social Science Educators

The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce the Anne and Ryland Brown Teacher Research Fellowship. The goal of the program is to enhance knowledge and training in history and social science instruction in the commonwealth of Virginia by providing educators with an opportunity for in–depth study and the development of teaching materials in collaboration with members of the Library of Virginia's professional staff. Over the course of the summer, the Brown Fellow works with Library of Virginia staff members to pursue research on an approved topic and produce educational materials based on the results of his or her findings. The Brown Fellow is also required to make presentations regarding his or her research and finished projects at educational conferences.

This year the Fellowship will focus on research and projects in support of First Freedom: Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom.

The Brown Teacher Research Fellowship includes:

  • A stipend of $2,000 for the recipient
  • Up to $500 reimbursement for travel to an approved conference as a presenter

Eligible candidates for the Brown Teacher Research Fellowship must:

  • Be residents of Virginia
  • Have a minimum of three years of teaching experience in history and/or social science
  • Exhibit the use of creative and engaging teaching techniques in the classroom
  • Demonstrate a commitment to the use of primary sources as a part of classroom instruction
  • Be available to complete two weeks of research between June and September 2016

Applications must include:

  • A résumé
  • A statement of interest in 500 words or less outlining:
    • reasons for applying for the fellowship
    • teaching philosophy
    • what he or she hopes to gain from the experience
  • A letter of support from an immediate supervisor
  • A sample lesson plan and/or narrative description demonstrating creative uses of primary sources, along with examples of student work based on the lesson, if available

DEADLINE: Complete applications should be e-mailed to the following address by Friday, May 6, 2016:

For additional information, please contact Catherine Fitzgerald Wyatt, Education and Programs Coordinator Senior, at or 804-692-3999. The selected Fellow will be notified by May 27, 2016.

For more information, please visit

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Governor McAuliffe Appoints Four to State Historical Records Advisory Board

Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced the appointment of four new members of the State Historical Records Advisory Board. The four are: Audrey P. Davis, of Washington, D.C., director of the Alexandria Black History Museum; Dr. R. P. W. Havers, of Lexington, president of the George C. Marshall Foundation; Garrett McGuire, of Arlington, manager of state government affairs at the Air–Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute; and Dr. Aaron D. Purcell of Blacksburg, director of special collections and a professor at Virginia Tech.

Members are appointed for three years and may be reappointed. The State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) serves as the central advisory body for historical records planning and related projects developed and carried out by the state. SHRAB works to preserve Virginia's irreplaceable documentary heritage. It promotes practices that ensure preservation of and access to the commonwealth's public and private historical records.

Librarian of Virginia and State Archivist Sandra G. Treadway serves as state coordinator for SHRAB. The Board serves as the state–level review body for grant proposals to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, a statutory body affiliated with the National Archives and Records Administration.

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New Partnership Helps Library Users Check Out a Visit to a Virginia State Park

Libraries across Virginia have a new resource available to help families explore and enjoy the natural world thanks to a partnership between the Library of Virginia, Virginia State Parks, and the Science Museum of Virginia. Ninety–five libraries are each receiving four nature backpacks to make available for families to check out and learn about nature in their backyard or local park or at one of Virginia's 36 state parks. More backpacks will be available as other libraries decide to participate in the program.

"Today, children spend very little time outdoors and even less immersed in nature," said Craig Seaver, director of Virginia State Parks. "These backpacks will empower families to venture out to a park."

Each backpack comes with a parking pass that will enable library customers to access any Virginia State Park at no cost. Backpacks also feature pocket guides to bugs and slugs, animal tracks, Virginia birds, mammals, and Virginia trees and wildflowers; a port–a–bug field observation container; a Big Foot Leave No Trace Ethics Card; a magnifying lens; a dip net; and laminated sheets with suggested activities designed by both Virginia State Parks and the Science Museum of Virginia.

"How I wish there had been a resource such as this when my daughter was young," said Librarian of Virginia Sandra Treadway. "The Library of Virginia is delighted to help make these backpacks available to Virginia families through public libraries across the commonwealth."

The Science Museum coordinated assembly of the backpack contents with the help of 20 volunteers from Car Max, and also developed a short survey for backpack users in order to evaluate the program.

This project was made possible in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. With its mission to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement, IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.

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Virginia State Capitol Hosts Exhibition on Winston Churchill's Address to the General Assembly

The Virginia General Assembly, in partnership with the Capitol Square Preservation Council, presents an exhibition in the East Exhibition Gallery of the Virginia State Capitol entitled A Stand for Peace: Winston Churchill and the Call for Unity. The exhibition opened on the 70th anniversary of Churchill's historic March 8, 1946, address to a joint session of the General Assembly in the House Chamber. Churchill's speech came three days after he delivered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, condemning the totalitarian expansion of the Soviet Union. A Stand for Peace uses photographs and the words of participants and observers to look at the events of that significant day at the dawn of the Cold War era. The East Exhibition Gallery is entered from Bank Street.

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Grants Available to Promote Understanding of History and Culture

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) is seeking proposals that promote the preservation and use of historical records to broaden the public's understanding of our history and culture. The Access to Historical Records grant program is designed to support archival repositories in preserving and processing primary source material and in creating online tools that facilitate public discovery of historical records. Grants are normally for one or two years and for up to $200,000. Eligible applicants include U.S. nonprofit organizations, U.S. academic institutions, state or local government agencies, and federally or state recognized Native American tribes or groups. To learn more about the Access to Historical Records program, see

Virginia's State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) formally reviews grant proposals from Virginia institutions and provides recommendations to NHPRC, but also provides a pre–submission review process for draft proposals from any Virginia repository considering applying for an Access to Historical Records grant. The deadline for submissions to NHPRC is June 15, 2016, with grants commencing in January 2017. The deadline for draft proposals to be reviewed by the Virginia SHRAB is May 15. For more information, contact Sandra Treadway, Virginia SHRAB coordinator, at or Barbara Teague, deputy coordinator, at

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Libraries Encouraged to Support the Summer Food Service Program

First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe and the Virginia Department of Health are working to eliminate child hunger in Virginia, and they are asking public libraries across the state to assist in this good work. During the school year, more than 530,000 young people receive free or reduced–price meals to facilitate their learning, but many of these children go without a nutritious meal during the day in the summer months when schools are closed. The staggering reality is that over 300,000 children in Virginia live in food–insecure households. Even though our economy is improving, and job growth projections are encouraging, families are still struggling. Between 2008 and 2015, the number of students qualifying for free or reduced–price lunch in Virginia grew by more than 30 percent. Through Virginia's federally funded Summer Food Service Program, libraries have an opportunity to incorporate a food component into their summer activities for children at virtually no cost to the library, making it possible to nurture children's bodies as well as their minds during the summer months.

In summer 2015, 26 Virginia public libraries served as food distribution sites in conjunction with the Department of Health, feeding minds and bodies through the Summer Reading Program and the No Kid Hungry campaign.

The Library of Virginia is encouraging the state's public libraries to participate in this year's Summer Food Program by offering a free meal or snack in conjunction with their summer reading program or other library–sponsored activity or event. A recent study conducted by the Library of Virginia of the statewide summer reading program revealed that children and teens who participate in reading programs such as these score higher on the Standards of Learning reading test than their peers who do not participate. We also know that children and teens whose brains are still developing learn more easily and behave better when they have access to nutritious meals.

For most children, summer vacation is the most anticipated time of the year. But in Virginia more than one in six children face a constant struggle against hunger. Fewer than 15 percent of Virginia children who receive a free or reduced–price lunch currently participate in free summer meals programs.

To learn more about the No Kid Hungry summer food program and to register your library's participation, please visit

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