The Library of Virginia Newsletter
November 2014

Smith, Varon, and Mackinnon Receive 2014 Library of Virginia Literary Awards

Lee Smith

The Library of Virginia is pleased to announce the winners of the 17th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards, sponsored by Dominion. The October 18 awards celebration was hosted by award-winning Virginia author Adriana Trigiani. Awards categories were fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and literary lifetime achievement. Winners of the Library of Virginia’s Annual Literary Awards receive a monetary prize and a handsome engraved crystal book.

Lee Smith is the recipient of the 2014 Emyl Jenkins Sexton Literary Award for Fiction for Guests on Earth, which the judges felt explores the interplay of talent, beauty, character, and illness in the lives of a fascinating spectrum of Southern women. Set at the Asheville, North Carolina, hospital where Zelda Fitzgerald and eight others perished in a tragic fire in 1948, Smith’s Guests on Earth is “ambitious and utterly charming,” according to the judges.

Smith grew up in Grundy, located in the Appalachian Mountains of southwestern Virginia. She spent her last two years of high school at St. Catherine’s School in Richmond and attended Hollins College. Since 1968 she has published 13 novels and four collections of short stories, and has received a host of awards including recognition by the Library of Virginia as recipient of the 2010 Literary Lifetime Achievement Award.

The other finalists for the fiction prize were: The Last First Day by Carrie Brown and River of Dust by Virginia Pye. The judges praised Brown for an exquisitely written story of a woman’s life in its twilight, looking back on a harrowing childhood and on the unaccountable love and happiness that emerged from it.Pye’s book, set on the windswept plains of northwestern Chinain 1910, was judged a remarkable first novel with a deep resonance for the human condition.

The judges also recognized Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine as honorable mention in the fiction category. Written as a young adult novel but with appeal to all ages, Seeing Red is a powerful story of family, friendship, and race relations in the rural south.

The winner of the 2014 Literary Award for Nonfiction is Elizabeth Varon for Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War, which deftly narrates the moment the Civil War ended with Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House. The judges felt that Varon expertly traces the shock as news of the surrender spread and spawned a three-way American debate over the meaning of the war that still reverberates today.

Varon, the Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia, is a noted Civil War historian. Her previous works include Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789–1859; We Mean to Be Counted: White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia; and Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, A Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy.

The other nonfiction finalists were: Rose Kennedy: The Life and Times of a Political Matriarch by Barbara Perry and The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772–1832 by Alan Taylor. The judges felt that Perry’s use of newly released materials added nuance and detail to her depiction of Rose Kennedy. Alan Taylor’s Internal Enemy, which examines the escape and emancipation of Chesapeake slaves during the War of 1812, was praised by the judges as “an extraordinary story told in vivid prose and compelling detail.”

Margaret Mackinnon won the 2014 Literary Award for Poetry for The Invented Child. The judges praised Mackinnon’s fearless approach to an enormous variety of subjects, many of them prompted by photographs and art. They felt that Invented Child reveals a reverence for the natural world and palpably natural imagery as it conveys vast emotions with quietly learned allusion.

The Invented Child is Mackinnon’s debut collection of poems. Her work has appeared in Image, Poetry, New England Review, Georgia Review, Quarterly West, RHINO, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Poet Lore, and other publications. She completed the graduate program in creative writing at the University of Florida. Her awards include the Richard Eberhart Poetry Prize from Florida State University, a Tennessee Williams Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and the Graybeal-Gowen Poetry Prize from Shenandoah and Washington and Lee University. She lives in Falls Church.

The other poetry prize finalists were Elegy Owed by Bob Hicok and The Red Wolf: A Dream of Flannery O’Connor by R.T. Smith. The judges called Elegy Owed bold, inventive, and often playful while invoking serious themes with ebullience and conscience. The Red Wolf was cited for embracing an autobiographical stance without sanctimony in a new kind of comedy of errors as a projected backstory to the career of Flannery O’Connor in this often-hilarious re-creation of her world in Georgia.

The winners of the People’s Choice Awards are King and Maxwell by David Baldacci in the fiction category and The Feud: The Hatfields and McCoys, The True Storyby Dean King in the nonfiction category. Winners are chosen by readers voting online and in libraries.

Rita Dove, Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia, is the recipient of the 2014 Carole Weinstein Prize in Poetry. Established in 2005, the prize is awarded each year to a poet with strong connections to the commonwealth of Virginia. The $10,000 annual prize recognizes significant recent contribution to the art of poetry and is awarded on the basis of a range of achievement in the field of poetry. Dove has served as Poet Laureate of the United States and consultant to the Library of Congress and as Poet Laureate of Virginia. She holds honorary doctoral degrees from more than 20 American universities. She has won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and numerous other literary awards and honors, including the Library of Virginia’s 2008 Literary Lifetime Achievement Award.

The recipient of the 2014 Library of Virginia Literary Lifetime Achievement Award is Barbara Kingsolver. She is the author of best-selling novels, nonfiction, and poetry, and is a freelance journalist and political activist.

Born in 1955, Kingsolver grew up in rural Kentucky and earned degrees in biology from DePauw University and the University of Arizona. She has lived in England, France, and the Canary Islands, and worked in Europe, Africa, Asia, Mexico, and South America. Kingsolver has lived in Southwest Virginia fulltime for ten years and in the summers for ten years before that. She and her family live on a farm and raise vegetables and Icelandic sheep.

She is the author of 14 books, including The Bean Trees; Homeland; The Poisonwood Bible (a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the Orange Prize); Pigs in Heaven; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (winner of the James Beard Award); The Lacuna (winner of the 2010 Emyl Jenkins Sexton Literary Award for Fiction); and Flight Behavior. In 2000, Kingsolver received the National Humanities Medal, our country’s highest honor for service through the arts. Kingsolver established the Bellwether Prize in 1998 (now the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction) to promote fiction that addresses issues of social justice and the impact of culture and politics on human relationships.

The second Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award went to The Embrace: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo by Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda This award is presented in partnership with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. This award is presented in partnership with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and was given to Kreiter-Foronda last night at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. This unique award recognizes an outstanding book that demonstrates the highest literary merit as a creative or scholarly work on the theme of visual artists or art. An eligible book may be a work of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or a museum catalog, published in English by an American publisher.

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Budget Cuts to Library Announced

On October 15, 2014, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the savings actions he would use to eliminate the revenue shortfall in the Virginia budget for fiscal year 2015. Due to revenue collections that came in under the projection set in 2013, the governor asked executive branch agencies to submit budget reduction plans of 5 percent for fiscal year 2015 and 7 percent for fiscal year 2016 in order to close an $882 million budget deficit.

Under the plan, our budget for the current fiscal year is reduced by $294,299, which means losing several wage positions and six full-time staff members. Among the other actions taken, the governor closed a correctional facility, a community corrections residential facility, and a diversion center and delayed the opening of a women’s correctional facility. Ninety percent of the 565 employees laid off throughout state agencies are from the Department of Corrections. The state police will sell one airplane and fill only 27 of 68 vacant trooper positions. The Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services will lay off 20 people and the Department of Forensic Science will lose 10 employees.

In other actions to close the shortfall, 146 vacant positions in state agencies will be eliminated and there will be delays in filling other vacancies. Prices on liquor sold in ABC stores will be increased. As part of the budget agreement between the governor and the General Assembly for the current year fiscal year 2015, localities are to return $30 million of local aid to the state. As in previous years, this will very likely include state aid to public libraries.

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Beth Macy to Discuss Factory Man on November 19 at the Library

Journalist Beth Macy will discuss and sign her award-winning debut book, Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local—and Helped Save an American Town, at the Library on November 19 at noon. Her writing has won more than a dozen national journalism awards, including a Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard and Columbia’s J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award.

She worked for the Roanoke Times for 25 years and first wrote a feature for the paper about the central figure in her book, John D. Bassett III, as part of a series on the impact of globalization on Southside and Southwest Virginia. Factory Man looks into the life of the Galax, Virginia, furniture heir and his struggles to keep his family-run Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company alive in today’s economy. Bassett’s family founded Bassett Furniture in 1902 in Bassett, Virginia. He was kicked out of that family business and sent to Galax, Virginia, in 1982 to run Vaughan-Bassett. Today the publicly owned Bassett factories are gone from Bassett, Virginia, and the smaller, privately held Vaughan-Bassett in Galax is thriving, a testament to Bassett’s tenacity and support for his workers and his desire to show up his relatives.

As globalization sent the furniture business overseas to Asia, Bassett fought back and went to court to save jobs and his business. He forged a coalition of furniture manufacturers committed to pursuing an antidumping petition against China, which he won. Bassett used not only lawyers but also efficiencies, grit, and determination to save his company and its jobs.

The book has been positively reviewed by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and NPR. Tom Hanks has bought the movie rights, and a miniseries is in development at HBO. The project will be produced by Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone production company.

Books will be for sale at the event, which is free. The public is welcome. No reservations are necessary.

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Encyclopedia Virginia Is a 2014 Friend of Education

Encyclopedia Virginia (EV), for which the Library of Virginia has been a partner since 2012 with the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, has been selected as the 2014 Virginia Council for the Social Studies (VCSS) Friend of Education.

The award honors organizations or individuals who advocate and provide resources for social studies throughout the commonwealth of Virginia. Encyclopedia Virginia, viewable at, is an authoritative and user-friendly resource on the history and culture of Virginia. The Board of VCSS selected EV as the 2014 Friend of Education because it provides teachers and students in Virginia and throughout the world with high-quality and accessible primary sources, innovative pedagogy, and history scholarship.

Laura Delmore Lay, VCSS president, explained that EV’s “continued and supportive presence at [the VCSS] annual conferences, both by presenting and exhibiting, has ensured that thousands of teachers and students now use Encyclopedia Virginia on a regular basis.”

EV publishes topical and biographical entries written by scholars, edited for a general audience, and vigorously fact checked. Content creation is a work in progress, with more than 900 entries live on the site and new entries published regularly. EV also includes more than 500 primary documents and numerous media objects, including images, audio and visual clips, and links to Google Street View tours of historic sites.

In 2001, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities a grant to study the feasibility of creating a comprehensive online resource on the history and culture of Virginia. After years of consulting with similar ventures, fund-raising, and infrastructure- and partnership-building, EV published its first entries late in 2008.

In 2012, the project partnered with the Library of Virginia to become the digital publisher of the Library’s ongoing, multivolume Dictionary of Virginia Biography, one of the most authoritative resources on Virginia history ever published. The Library of Virginia also supplies some of the images and maps that appear on Encyclopedia Virginia.

In collaboration with the Virginia Indian Heritage Programs at VFH, EV created the Virginia Indian Archive, a repository of images, documents, and audiovisual resources related to the history and cultural experience of Virginia Indians since the colonial period.

With increased financial support and readership, EV continually expands and serves as an essential resource for connection and discovery in the commonwealth.

–submitted by Maggie Guggenheimer, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

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Public Comment Period Open until December 5 on Library's Proposed Regulation

In accordance with the Governor’s Regulatory Review Initiative begun in 2012, the Library of Virginia conducted a thorough review of its regulations. As a result, the Library has proposed a new regulation, 17 VAC 15-61 Standards for Permanent Instruments Recorded by Hard Copy, which combines three current regulations into one, simplifies the language of the rules, improves the organization, and removes obsolete sections. The development and review of this regulation is guided by the Administrative Process Act.

The three current regulations that the Library proposes to repeal are:

  • 17 VAC15-60 Standards for Plats
  • 17 VAC15-70 Standards for Recorded Instruments
  • 17 VAC15-80 Standards for Paper for Permanent Circuit Court Records

Public comment is sought on any issue relating to this proposal. The public comment period runs through December 5, 2014. Comments must include the commenter's name and address (physical or e-mail) in order to receive a response.

Comments may be submitted online (preferred method) to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall at

Comments may also be sent to:
Glenn Smith, Records Management Analyst
800 E. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23219

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"Making History: Transcribe" Makes History Accessible

“Making History: Transcribe” ( lets users transcribe documents in the Library of Virginia’s collections in a collaborative online workspace that hosts a few projects at a time. So far, more 1,940 pages have been transcribed by individuals within Virginia, across the United States, and around the world!

The need for transcription vastly outstrips Library staff time. What better way to solve this problem than to engage the public in areas of interest? Today’s open-source transcription tools make it possible for users to assist cultural institutions in improving access to and understanding of historic documents.

Among the first projects posted for transcribing were documents from the Civil War 150 Legacy Project (, broadsides from Special Collections, and documents related to Gabriel’s Conspiracy (!tours/view/id/1797/title/Gabriel%27s%20Conspiracy), a failed Richmond-area slave uprising in 1800.

Work has also begun on documents in the African American Narrative Project. These documents contain the stories of African Americans—enslaved and free—who lived in Virginia prior to the end of slavery in 1865. Taken as a whole, the individual stories form a narrative of a people that has not been fully told because of the difficulty of accessing the records. With funding from Dominion Virginia Power, the Library has begun work to make these stories more accessible. Records scanned and indexed so far include coroners’ inquisitions, freedom certificates, and freedom suits.

In the future, we’ll post documents from collections related to Library exhibitions and programs and other items that relate to our goal of bringing Virginia’s history into the digital age in meaningful ways. If you have any feedback about “Making History: Transcribe,” please contact us at

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Dominion Virginia Power.

–submitted by Sonya Coleman, Information Technology

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Diana Rosapepe Receives 2014 Lewis Award

Virginia’s public library directors have awarded Diana Rosapepe, director of the Roanoke County Public Library, the 2014 Elizabeth M. “Libby” Lewis Award, named for the former director of public library development at the Library of Virginia. Also nominated for the award were Sam Clay, director of the Fairfax County Public Library, and Sandy Whitesides, director of the Shenandoah Public Library.

The annual award is given to the Virginia library director who most embodies the qualities of enthusiasm, nurturing spirit, and love of libraries. The award was presented at the recent annual meeting of the Virginia Library Association in Williamsburg.

Rosapepe was recognized for leadership in opening two new libraries in the past three years and in planning to open a third in 2015. She is known by staff and patrons alike for her hard work, boundless energy, and ingenuity.

She was nominated by Ann Tripp, a former employee of Roanoke County Public Library and now director of the Salem Public Library. Tripp praised Rosapepe’s treatment of staff volunteers, and public. Rosapepe served as Tripp’s role model and a mentor—always willing to answer questions and share her time, knowledge, and experience.

Rosapepe was instrumental in engaging the public and building excitement about the library building projects. The needs of the library system and county citizens were her top priorities. Through her efforts, the South County Library has become a revolutionary resource for the area, with dedicated children’s spaces, advanced teen areas full of technology, a coffee shop, quiet meetings spaces, an auditorium, and multiple fully staffed service areas. The library changed patrons’ expectations and led to similar projects for other branches. Without Rosapepe’s leadership, area libraries would not be the community-oriented centers that they are today.

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