The slogan is "Virginia is for Lovers", but it's not just Virginia that is for lovers - Libraries are for Lovers too! February is not just the month in which we celebrate Valentine's Day, but February is Love Your Library Month! Please take some time to send some love to your library and our dedicated librarians. Call, email, post, or say an extra thank you when you go for your next curbside pick-up.
This month we are also celebrating President’s Day and Black History Month, and as always, our libraries are ready to offer ways to explore history, whether through virtual events, online materials, live reference help, or a good old-fashioned book. I hope you will be inspired by the great movers and shakers of history you may learn about this month and take a lead in your own community. Be a leader for your library and contact your City of Richmond Council member to ask them to support the Richmond Public Library by reinstating 2019 RPL funding levels in the upcoming City budget process.
President, Friends of the Richmond Public Library
The Way We Were
In 1979, the City Librarian Howard Smith opened the smallest branch of the Richmond Public Library. The Kiosk was a 200 square foot facility housing fiction and non-fiction books for the use of city employees, MCV students, and other downtown workers. It was located across from City Hall at 10th and Marshall Streets and was open from 8 am to 5 pm daily. Mr. Ray Dudley was hired to manage this branch full time. During the lunch break, two members of the Circulation Desk of the Main Branch would cover for Mr. Dudley. Though the smallest branch, it had a wide circulation. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, it was closed by the City Librarian, Mr. Costa, in 1992.
Below: Mayor Marsh at the Kiosk dedication in 1979
Spotlight on Teen Programming at RPL
Area teens continue to benefit from many activities offered by the creative and hardworking Richmond Public Library staff who have shown us all how to pivot during a pandemic. The insanely popular Crafty HourandGet Craftyprograms and accompanying Take and Make kits are the brainchild of Young Adult Coordinator, Jenn Deuell and Library Associate Nicole Byers. Kits of materials are assembled by RPL staff and made available by reservation through the library website, sent to the teen's local library branch for curbside pick-up, and are then all ready for an online crafting session.
RPL teen programs have also been helping Richmond Public Schools with content and learning opportunities for local students. Recently 45 students from two RPS journalism classes attended an online forum called Truth Decay on how to become better news consumers and 150 RPS students from multiple schools attended an online seminar sponsored by the Virginia Credit Union on budgeting for teens.
Even more exciting events are in the works! A series of snapshots about careers in movie and television production is a project the library staff is working on with RPL supporters. How appropriate considering the amount of filming we have seen in the City of Richmond and around central Virginia over the past few years.
Despite not being able to have in-person programs, the Friends are thrilled to support the needs of the Richmond Public Library. Be sure to check out the library website for details about the online programming. Thank you RPL!
The Poetry of Friends
The Friends are proud to be able to continue our tradition of supporting Poetry programming at RPL!
The Brodie Herndon Memorial Poetry Reading was established in November 1979 with a gift from Mrs Herndon in memory of her husband who had died in 1977. Brodie Herndon was the President of the Poetry Society of Virginia and a published poet. The first lecture was by Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Eberhart. Mrs. Herndon continued to support the lecture series until her death in 1980 when she bequeathed $10,000 to establish the endowment for the continuation of the poetry series. The interest from the endowment has been used by the Friends to sponsor events.
In December 2020, The Richmond Public Library partnered with the University of Richmond's Book Art department to create a broadside to celebrate the virtual reading of Danez Smith.
Here is a link to a video about the making of the broadside
We would also like to congratulate the new Poet Laureate of Richmond, Douglas Powell known to the community as Roscoe Burnems.
The Gift of Friends
We are thrilled to report that all the prints have been hung in the branches. Covid restrictions forced these events to be private.
We are so grateful that membership renewals have continued to come in during this time, if you are able please consider making an additional donation. We are hopeful that we will be able to hold book sales in 2021 but until then the Friends are without the funds normally available to give the library for programming.
Congratulations to Natalie Draper who has accepted the position of Library Director in City of Northfield, MN. Natalie worked for the Richmond Public Library for 8 years and initially as a Library Assistant at Ginter Park. She served as Library Community Service Manager at the Hull Street and Main branches. All along the way she did her best, had great success and made the library better.
Deanna Chavez a longtime board member is stepping down from the board but will continue to assist in our online book sales. Thank you, Deanna!!