About

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 at burniva.com.

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

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

MISSION
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.

5 days ago

Education at LVA
Today’s “On This Day in History” is a big one! It’s Constitution Day!!! On September 17, 1787, 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the United States Constitution.Since the Bill of Rights was adopted on Dec. 15, 1791, the U.S. Constitution has been amended only 16 times. Providing an intricate system of checks and balances among the various branches and levels of government, and assuring the basic individual liberties that are essential to a free and democratic society, this remarkable document has proved extraordinarily adaptable to the needs of a changing society. It also has served as an inspiration and a model for other countries around the world. ... See MoreSee Less
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6 days ago

Education at LVA
Do you use newspapers in your classroom? Have you used Newspaper Archive before?The Newspaper Archive database now includes newspapers from all US states and 46 countries! Peruse your historical news in Dutch (Amsterdamsche Courant), Spanish (Gazeta De Mexico), or Kalaallisut (Atuagagdliutit, Greenland). Newspaper Archive is available to onsite visitors, as well as remotely to Virginia residents with a Library of Virginia account. Access the database at lva-virginia.libguides.com/az.php ... See MoreSee Less
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2 weeks ago

Education at LVA
Education at the Library of Virginia joins many in marking and reflecting on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. As events that some of us lived through "become history," it's vitally important that we cultivate and gather a wide variety of high-quality primary and secondary sources that will give future generations the materials they need to understand and untangle what happened in the past.Check out Document Bank for an example of one such resource, which includes this entry highlighting the autograph album of visitors to the museum on September 11, 2002: edu.lva.virginia.gov/dbva/items/show/65 ... See MoreSee Less
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2 weeks ago

Education at LVA
On display in the Library's East Reading Room now through September 17 is a special exhibition from the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and funded in part by the NEH that recounts the events of September 11, 2001, through the personal stories of those who witnessed and survived the attacks. Told across 14 posters, this exhibition includes archival photographs and images of artifacts from the 911 Museum’s permanent collection. ... See MoreSee Less
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