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
Have a safe Thanksgiving! This armored turkey is from the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry Safety Posters in the Visual Studies Collection at the Library of Virginia. As a reminder, the Library will be closed from noon today, Wednesday, Nov. 24 through Saturday, Nov. 27. Read more about this collection of illustrated posters: multipleexposure.virginiamemory.com/2011/10/21/collection-of-virginia-department-of-labor-and-ind... ... See MoreSee Less
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5 days ago

Education at LVA
Livi the Library Fox went on her first adventure to Special Collections and discovered all these historic Thanksgiving postcards! She and everyone else on the LVA Education Team wishes you and your loved ones a peaceful and happy holiday!Livi also suggests checking out this article about how you can make your Thanksgiving more meaningful this year by learning more about Native American history: www.iup.edu/news-events/news/2021/11/make-your-thanksgiving-more-meaningful-with-history-you-neve... ... See MoreSee Less
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1 week ago

Education at LVA
The Library of Virginia's "Columbia Pike: Through the Lens of Community" exhibition is on display through January 8. Come by to see some stunning photos and learn the stories of people like Margaret Chung!“My family immigrated here from Korea when I was 10. When I came here, I only spoke a little English. I had to learn. I think my experience as an immigrant helps me relate to the students. When you move to a country and you’re not familiar, and you’re having to learn a new language and customs, and you don’t fit in, I know what it feels like. To learn how to find your identity, and to figure things out. It takes time.” –Margaret Chung, principal of the Arlington Career CenterVisit “Columbia Pike: Through the Lens of Community” before it closes on January 8, 2022. This unique exhibition of photographs celebrates the extraordinary cultural diversity found within a single community in Northern Virginia. edu.lva.virginia.gov/columbia-pike ... See MoreSee Less
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1 week ago

Education at LVA
This weekend a state historic marker will be unveiled near the Falls Church home of basketball pioneer and civil rights activist Edwin Bancroft Henderson, one of our Strong Men & Women in Virginia history honorees of 2018.#basketballislife #fallschurchva An unveiling ceremony will convene this Saturday, Nov. 20, at 1 p.m. for a state historical marker that highlights the career of Dr. Edwin Bancroft Henderson, known as the "Father of Black Basketball." (Weds. Nov. 24, marks the 138th anniversary of Henderson’s birth.)The dedication will be held at the marker’s location alongside Henderson’s former residence at 307 South Maple Ave, Falls Church (22406). The Dr. Edwin Bancroft and Mary Ellen Henderson House is listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register.Dr. Henderson’s work was foundational in organizing leagues and associations for Black athletes and referees in the early 20th century and fostering African Americans’ participation in athletics. Additionally, Henderson’s civil rights advocacy led him to assist in organizing the NAACP’s first rural branch, in Falls Church, and serve as president of the Virginia NAACP; he fought segregation in education, housing, and public facilities.Text of the Marker:Dr. Edwin Bancroft Henderson (1883-1977)E. B. Henderson, whose pioneering work fostered African American participation in athletics early in the 20th century, lived in Falls Church from 1910 to 1965. After studying physical education at Harvard, he popularized basketball in his hometown of Washington, D.C., organized leagues and associations for Black athletes and referees, and wrote The Negro in Sports (1939). He helped organize the NAACP’s first rural branch, in Falls Church, was president of the Virginia NAACP, and fought segregation in education, housing, and public facilities. Known as the “Father of Black Basketball,” he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013. ... See MoreSee Less
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