The Library of Virginia Newsletter
June 2016

Giovanni to Receive 2016 Literary Lifetime Achievement Award from the Library of Virginia

Each year the Library of Virginia grants a Literary Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize outstanding and long-lasting contributions to literature. This year, the Library will honor renowned poet Nikki Giovanni with the award. She uses her poetry to raise awareness of social issues, particularly those of gender and race.

Giovanni grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Knoxville, Tennessee. By the time she received her undergraduate degree in history from Fisk University in 1967, she was an outspoken activist for civil rights and equality issues, organizing Cincinnati's first Black Arts Festival that year. In 1968, when Giovanni was only 24, she published her first books of verse, Black Feeling, Black Talk and Black Judgement. After brief teaching stints at Rutgers University, Queens College, and Ohio State University, she joined the English faculty at Virginia Tech in 1987 and became a full professor in 1989.

Called the "Princess of Black Poetry" by the New York Times, Giovanni uses bold language to address social issues based on her experiences as an African American woman. Since 1968, she has published more than two dozen volumes of poetry, essays, and edited anthologies, as well as 11 illustrated children's books, including the award-winning Rosa, about Rosa Parks. Her autobiography, Gemini, was a finalist for the 1973 National Book Award. In 2004, her album The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection was a Grammy finalist for the Best Spoken Word Album. Giovanni has received numerous awards, including the inaugural Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award (2002), the Virginia Governor's Award for the Arts (2000), and Ebony Magazine's Woman of the Year (1970), although the most unusual honor may be a South American bat species named for her: Micronycteris giovanniae. She is also a seven-time recipient of an NAACP Image Award and was honored as one of the Library of Virginia’s 2015 Virginia Women in History. A devoted teacher, Giovanni has been a visiting professor and poet-in-residence at numerous colleges, and she encourages students of all ages to express themselves creatively through writing.

Giovanni earned an enduring place in the Hokie Nation with a poem she wrote on April 16, 2007, the day mass shootings at Virginia Tech claimed 33 lives, including that of the shooter, and injured 27 others. The poem, which she read at a college memorial service the day after the shootings, began with the words “We are Virginia Tech” and ended with “We will prevail, We will prevail, We will prevail, We are Virginia Tech.” Her poem helped Virginia Tech students and faculty recover from the tragedy.

Giovanni will receive her award on Saturday, October 15, 2016, at the 19th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards Celebration. For ticket information, please contact Dana Brown with the Library of Virginia Foundation at 804-692-3900 or e-mail

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Do You (or Someone You Know) Love Alex and Ani Jewelry?

Mark your calendar to visit the Alex and Ani store at Short Pump Town Center in Richmond on Wednesday, June 15, between 5:00 and 8:00 PM. During that time, 15 percent of the store's sales will benefit the Library of Virginia. Light refreshments will be served and Library of Virginia Foundation staff members will be present to greet you as you shop.

We are grateful for this partnership opportunity with the store to raise funds and awareness for the Library. If you are not familiar with Alex and Ani jewelry, come visit and see what the buzz is all about. We hope to see you there! Please RSVP to

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Dave Grabarek Receives the BIO Biblio Award for his Service to Authors

Biographers International Organization (BIO), the world's only international membership organization devoted to biographers and biography, held its 2016 conference June 3–5 in Richmond. On June 3, conference attendees were at the Library of Virginia for a series of readings from new biographies and a reception, where David Grabarek, an archival assistant at the Library, received the annual BIO Biblio Award recognizing a distinguished local archivist or research librarian. Grabarek joined the staff of the Library of Virginia in 1996. He earned his bachelor of arts degree in English from Johns Hopkins University and his master of library science degree from the University of Maryland. He is known to researchers for his assistance in locating hard-to-find materials and books. His expertise and helpfulness have made him a favorite with patrons and staff.

On Saturday, Kathy Jordan, the Library of Virginia's digital initiatives and web services manager, and Paige Newman, associate archivist for collections processing at the Virginia Historical Society, served on a panel exploring issues in biography and the future of research. The panel discussion, moderated by biographer Marc Leepson, examined trends such as the use of digital archives and the tools biographers may use in the future that go beyond books, manuscripts, microfilm, maps, and photographs.

Other Saturday highlights were the breakfast plenary session featuring a conversation with Annette Gordon-Reed and T. J. Stiles, and panels and solo speakers, including Douglas Brinkley, Thomas Mallon, Stacy Schiff, D. T. Max, Debby Applegate, Blake Bailey, Evan Thomas, Irwin Gellman, Kitty Kelley, Hampton Sides, and Amanda Vaill.

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Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced a new initiative called RUOnlineVA. Led by the Center for Innovative Technology, the initiative asks Virginia citizens and businesses whether they have broadband service and, if so, what kind of service. The goal is to help the governor and other policy makers understand where broadband is needed most.

Citizens in need of Internet service are asked to log on to—or to call the toll-free number 877-969-6685—to participate in a survey with a few questions regarding their need. Responses will be mapped and shared with policy makers to stimulate broadband policy and funding.

Visit your local library to find a flyer describing RUOnlineVA and to use a computer to complete the survey. This project will run until early August.

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Support the Library's Mission with an End-of-Fiscal Year Contribution: Renew Your Support or Become a Member—Today!

As we prepare to wrap up our fiscal year on June 30, the Library of Virginia is most grateful for the support of our members and donors. The Library depends on the support of individuals, like you, who help the Library acquire, preserve, and promote access to our unique collection of Virginia's history and culture.

If you have not yet had a chance to make your gift, or to become a first-time member, now is a great time to make your contribution and join!

Your tax-deductible donation will also give you all the benefits that come with membership, including an annual print subscription to Broadside magazine, 10 percent off all purchases at the Virginia Shops, and future invitations to exciting members-only events and programs.

There are three different ways to make your gift:

Thank you for your support!

—submitted by Dawn Greggs, Library of Virginia Foundation

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Voting for People's Choice Awards Continues

Each year the Library of Virginia solicits nominations of books published during the previous year by Virginia authors (or, in the case of nonfiction, about a Virginia subject) in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. A panel of judges selects the finalists and winners of the juried awards in these categories. For the People's Choice Awards, we encourage readers and book lovers to vote for their favorite books from among five finalists selected with the help of a panel of librarians and booksellers.

The link for the online ballot for the 2016 People's Choice Awards for fiction and nonfiction can be found at

Please help the Library of Virginia by taking a moment to vote—and feel free to share this link. Voting ends July 1.

The Virginia Shop to Hold June Inventory Sale

Help save us from counting our stock! Regularly priced items at the Virginia Shop at the Library of Virginia will be reduced by 25% June 20–24. The Virginia Shop features the work of Virginia artists, authors, and artisans and focuses on products made in, and inspired by, the commonwealth.

Both locations of the Virginia Shop will be closed June 27–30 for inventory.

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