History of the Library

The Library of Virginia was created by the General Assembly in 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. The Library occupied rooms on the third floor of the Capitol in Richmond until 1895, when Virginia erected a new Library and office building on the eastern side of Capitol Square. Outgrowing this location, the Library in 1940 moved to a handsome, new art-deco building on Capitol Street, adjacent to City Hall and the Executive Mansion. In 1997, the Library opened to the public at 800 East Broad Street, its fourth home since its founding.

The Library houses the most comprehensive collection of materials on Virginia government, history, and culture available anywhere. The collections illustrate the rich and varied past of the commonwealth, documenting the lives of Virginians whose deeds are known to all, as well as those of ordinary citizens whose accomplishments are the foundation of our heritage.The Library’s printed, manuscript, map, and photographic collections attract researchers from across the country and the world, while the Library’s Web sites provide collection-based content and access to our digital collections to those at great distances who are not able to travel to Richmond. In addition to managing and preserving its collections, the Library supplies research and reference assistance to state officials, provides consulting services to state and local government agencies and to Virginia’s public libraries, administers numerous federal, state, and local grant programs, publishes award-winning books on Virginia history, provides educational programs and resources on Virginia history and culture for students and teachers, and offers the public a wide array of exhibitions, lectures, book-signings, and other programs.

In addition to the main Library building, the Library manages the State Records Center in Henrico County where inactive, non-permanent records of state agencies and local governments are housed.

About the Library

The Library of Virginia will inspire learning, ignite imagination, create possibilities, encourage understanding, and engage Virginia’s past to empower its future.

As the Commonwealth’s library and archives, the Library of Virginia is a trusted educational institution. We acquire, preserve, and promote access to unique collections of Virginia’s history and culture and advance the development of library and records management services statewide.

Today in 1864, Elisha O. Drake Wrote to His Wife. bit.ly/29ZGrqI

Elisha O. Drake. Letters, 15 June–21 August 1864, Accession 39170, Personal Papers Collection, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.
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Today in 1998, a school superintendent wrote on the responsibilities of driving. Check out the letter that accompanied this handbook here! bit.ly/2a0SLkx

Parent/Student Driver Education Handbook, (Chesterfield, Va.: Chesterfield County Public Schools, 1998) TL152.66.U5 V87 1998, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.
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A great photo of our Virginia Women in HIstory Essay Contest winners. Congratulations to all. ... See MoreSee Less

Read the winning essays by middle and high school students from the 2016 Virginia Women in History student writing contest, sponsored by VFH and our Encyclopedia Virginia -- viewable on pg. 8 of the Library of Virginia's latest issue of Broadside: www.lva.virginia.gov/news/broadside/2016-Summer.pdf

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Today in 1830, the will of Thomas Worsham was presented to the court. bit.ly/29Zvllz

Amelia County (Virginia) Will of Thomas Worsham (on slate) July 1830, Barcode 1149135, Local Government Records Collection, Amelia County Court Records, Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia
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