The Library of Virginia turns 200 this year! Join us in 2023 as we celebrate our anniversary with a series of events and programs and 200 Years, 200 Stories, an exhibition and multimedia experience celebrating Virginians whose fascinating narratives are housed in the Library's collections and together reflect the stories of Virginia.
The Library was founded by the General Assembly on Jan. 24, 1823, to organize, care for and manage the state's growing collection of books and official records. Since then, the collection has grown to 2 million books, newspapers, maps, prints and photographs, as well as 130 million manuscript items, making the Library the most comprehensive resource in the world for the study of Virginia history, culture and government. View our Timeline of the Library of Virginia’s 200 Years of Service to the Commonwealth.
Jan. 24–Oct. 28, 2023 | Exhibition Gallery & Lobby
This exhibition and multimedia experience celebrates 200 Virginians whose fascinating narratives are housed in the Library's collections and together reflect the stories of Virginia.
Every photograph, letter, text, social media post or other artifact that we create, manipulate and save or discard tells a story about ourselves. The Library of Virginia has collected literally millions of pages and hundreds of terabytes of such data during its 200-year history. But what are the compelling tales contained within the records, images and artifacts?
Our anniversary exhibition draws on the human stories that Library staff members, researchers, educators, students and visitors have teased out of this cacophony of materials. Rather than a Top Ten or a Who's Who, we present an assemblage of captivating stories of Virginians of all stripes: heroes and villains, the famous and infamous, the powerful and the powerless—reflecting the sweep of Virginians' experiences.
Join us to explore the narratives of Virginians like Ethel Bailey Furman, one of the first Black female architects in Virginia; David Martin, founder of the Martin Agency and creator of the famed tagline “Virginia is for Lovers”; Chinese immigrant Ow Chuck Sam, who became a naturalized citizen and served in the armed forces during World War II; and many more.
The Library of Virginia is heading your way with LVA On the Go! A custom-made vehicle equipped with state-of-the-art technology will bring the vast resources and staff expertise of the Library across the commonwealth. Partnering with public libraries and other organizations, our Library ambassadors will help you engage with local history, family history, educational materials and more. Events will vary by location, but may include genealogy help, reference tutorials, library card registration, oral history recordings and children's activities, as well as presentations on resources like Virginia Untold: The African American Narrative database and VirginiaChronicle.com, which provides access to over a million newspaper pages. Every community has a story to tell and our LVA On the Go project will recognize and celebrate local history and culture as we connect with every corner of the commonwealth. View visit locations by map here.
Saturday, March 25, 2023 | 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
North Suffolk Library
2000 Bennetts Creek Park Rd., Suffolk, VA 23435
Saturday, April 15, 2023 | 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Washington County Public Library System, Abingdon Library
205 Oak Hill St., Abingdon, VA 24210
Saturday, April 22, 2023 | 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Halifax County-South Boston Public Library, Halifax Branch
177 S. Main St., Halifax, VA 24558
Saturday, April 29, 2023 | 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library, Meadowbrook Public Library
267 Alleghany Spring Rd., Shawsville, VA 24162
Saturday, May 6, 2023 | 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Essex Public Library
117 North Church Ln., Tappahannock, VA 22560
Saturday, May 20, 2023 | 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Northumberland Public Library at the Heathsville Farmers Market
73 Monument Place, Heathsville, VA 22473
Saturday, June 10, 2023 | 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Botetourt County Libraries, Fincastle Library
11 Academy St., Fincastle, VA 24090
Saturday, June 24, 2023 | 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Prince William Public Libraries, Chinn Park Library
13065 Chinn Park Dr., Prince William, VA 22192
Saturday, July 22, 2023 | 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Lynchburg Public Library
2315 Memorial Ave., Lynchburg, VA 24501
Saturday, August 12, 2023 | 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Jefferson Madison Regional Library, Nelson Memorial Library
8521 Thomas Nelson Highway, Lovingston, VA 22949
Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023 | 12:00–4:00 p.m.
Massanutten Regional Library
174 S. Main St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023 | 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Blue Ridge Regional Library, Martinsville Branch Library
310 East Church St., Martinsville, VA 24112
Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023 | 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Chesterfield County Public Library at ChesterFest
11801 Centre St., Chester, VA 23831
Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023 | 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Central Rappahannock Regional Library, Fredericksburg Branch
1201 Caroline St., Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023 | 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Russell County Public Library, Lebanon Library
248 W. Main St., Lebanon, VA 24266
Join us for an event or program to celebrate our bicentennial! Watch for more details and events to be added soon.
Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023 | 12:00–1:00 p.m. | Conference Rooms | Free
200TH ANNIVERSARY LECTURE
The Library of Virginia was founded by the General Assembly on Jan. 24, 1823, to organize, care for and manage the state's growing collection of books and official records, many of which date back to the early colonial period. Join us on this momentous anniversary date for a talk by historian and author Brent Tarter on the origins of the Library's book collections. A few books from the Library's earliest days will be on display and our new exhibition, 200 Years, 200 Stories, will be open for viewing. Learn more and register.
Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023 | 6:00–7:30 p.m. | Lecture Hall & Lobby | Free
BLACK HISTORY MONTH PANEL DISCUSSION
Join the Library of Virginia and Virginia Humanities to celebrate the completion of a signature project to
document the lives and achievements of Virginia's first Black legislators. Editors of the Library's
Dictionary of Virginia Biography joined this project in 2011 in collaboration with the commonwealth's
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission to research and write the definitive life histories of the 92 African
American men who served in the General Assembly from 1869 to 1890. Their stories are now part of the collective
digital story of our state thanks to the collaboration with Encyclopedia Virginia, a rich online resource
published by Virginia Humanities. Panelists for the program, moderated by Virginia Humanities executive director
Matthew Gibson, will include the Honorable Viola Baskerville, one of the founders of the project; Lauranett Lee,
public historian and University of Richmond adjunct assistant professor; Ajena Rogers, supervisory park ranger
at the National Park Service's Maggie L. Walker Historic Site and a descendant of Black legislator James A.
Fields; and historian and author Brent Tarter, a retired editor with the Library of Virginia.
For more information, contact Elizabeth Klaczynski at 804.692.3536 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, March 3, 2023 | 5:00–8:00 p.m. | Lobby & Conference Rooms | Free
Venture east from Richmond's Arts District for quarterly First Fridays at the Library of Virginia! Join us to enjoy refreshments and view an art exhibition by Virginia artists as well as our 200 Years, 200 Stories exhibition; listen to open mic poetry, prose or music; and take part in a “creation station.” March's theme is Collections Show and Tell. Learn about archival preservation—you can bring in your own items for evaluation and conservation recommendations—and see displays of Library items to spark ideas for creating something with your own collections. Learn more.
Wednesday, March 29, 2023 | 6:00-7:30 p.m. | Lecture Hall | Free
WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH PANEL DISCUSSION
In 1923 the first women won election to the Virginia House of Delegates. In the century since then, 109 women have served in the House, with a record number of 37 women in 2023. Join the Library of Virginia in celebrating a century of Women in the House. Jennifer L. Lawless, Commonwealth Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, will moderate a discussion with Del. Carrie E. Coyner, Del. Charniele L. Herring and Del. Vivian E. Watts on the challenges, opportunities and changes they have experienced in Capitol Square. Register here.
Friday, June 2, 2023 | 5:00–8:00 p.m. | Lobby & Conference Rooms | Free
Venture east from Richmond's Arts District for quarterly First Fridays at the Library of Virginia! Join us to enjoy refreshments and view an art exhibition by Virginia artists as well as our 200 Years, 200 Stories exhibition; listen to open mic poetry, prose or music; and take part in a "creation station." June's theme is Maps: Your Place in Virginia. Make your own map listing places lived in Virginia, your path to the commonwealth or your favorite locale. Learn More.
Friday, July 7, 2023 | 5:30–8:00 p.m. | Lobby & Lecture Hall | Free
The Library of Virginia and the Virginia Folklife Program of Virginia Humanities present a two-day celebration of Virginia's rich folklife heritage. On July 7, 5:30–8:00 p.m., join us for a reception, a screening of short documentary films and a stage program honoring four Richmond-area teams in the Virginia Folklife Program's apprenticeship program. The program supports artists in the continuation of living traditions. Featured artists include artisans, musicians and dancers. Register here.
Saturday, July 8, 2023 | 12:00–4:00 p.m. | Lobby | Free
The Library of Virginia and the Virginia Folklife Program of Virginia Humanities present a two-day celebration of Virginia's rich folklife heritage. On July 8, 12:00–4:00 p.m., join us for performances, displays and activities highlighting old and new Virginia musical traditions including blues, Bomba and Plena, fiddling, shape-note singing and more. The Library will also display rare items from our music collections and provide activities for young visitors.
Friday, Aug. 4, 2023 | 5:00–8:00 p.m. | Lobby & Conference Rooms | Free
Venture east from Richmond's Arts District for quarterly First Fridays at the Library of Virginia! Join us to enjoy refreshments and view an art exhibition by Virginia artists as well as our 200 Years, 200 Stories exhibition; listen to open mic poetry, prose or music; and take part in a "creation station." August's theme is Your Virginia Story. Use prompts and hashtags to record your own story. Learn more.
Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023
Over the past 25 years, the annual Virginia Literary Awards have become the commonwealth's premier celebration honoring Virginia writers and their contributions to literature. Award categories are nonfiction, fiction and poetry, as well as People's Choice Awards for fiction and nonfiction. Our special 2023 edition will celebrate past award finalists and winners. Mark your calendar for our Literary Awards Celebration and help us wrap up our anniversary year in style.
Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 | 5:00–8:00 p.m. | Lobby & Conference Rooms | Free
Venture east from Richmond's Arts District for quarterly First Fridays at the Library of Virginia! Join us to enjoy refreshments and view an art exhibition by Virginia artists as well as our 200 Years, 200 Stories exhibition; listen to open mic poetry, prose or music; and take part in a "creation station." December's theme is Capture Your Traditions. View cookbooks, scrapbooks and music ephemera from the Library's collections and create your own mini-book. Learn more.