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
Arlington, you really brought it for us! We cannot thank our partners enough for making our fourth and final Brown Teacher Institute of the summer a success.Thank you, Kim O’Connell, for an amazing walking tour of Little Saigon (that ended with dinner, yum!) and thank you to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley for presenting on the hidden Black and queer histories in the region. Special thanks to Karen Wallace, one of LVA’s Brown Teacher Research Fellows, for speaking about her work on free Black women in antebellum Virginia.We are so grateful for all the educators who showed up in Northern Virginia (and in South Boston, Danville, and Richmond) eager to learn more about their communities. Thank you all for an outstanding summer! ... See MoreSee Less
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1 week ago

Education at LVA
Back on our ”home turf” at the Library of Virginia for our Richmond Brown Teacher Institute! What an action-packed two days! Our educators explored the art of storytelling with Ashley Cheyemi McNeill from Full Spectrum Features and discussed the hidden histories of Reconstruction-era Black legislators in Virginia. We beat the heat during a tour of Capitol Square and Shockoe Bottom led by LVA’s own Gregg D. Kimball and finished up the session with an amazing presentation on Massive Resistance by Brown Teacher Research Fellow Pam Plahs. Thanks, educators, for an awesome experience! ... See MoreSee Less
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2 weeks ago

Education at LVA
Josh Schaller, one of our four 2022 Brown Teacher Research Fellows, closed out the Danville/Superintendent’s Region 6 Brown Teacher Institute with an amazing presentation on all the primary sources he worked with this summer. Thanks for all your hard work and enthusiasm, Josh—it was a pleasure following you “down the rabbit hole!” ... See MoreSee Less
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2 weeks ago

Education at LVA
Danville, we see you! Thanks to our friends at Virginia Humanities, Full Spectrum Features, and Our History Matters for making Day One of our Brown Teacher Institute such a success!Special thanks to Karice Luck-Brimmer for an outstanding Civil Rights tour of the city and to the fantastic educators who have joined us for two days of learning, growing, and collaborating. We are so thrilled to partner with you! ... See MoreSee Less
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2 weeks ago

Education at LVA
What a great Day Two of the Brown Teacher Institute at The Prizery, South Boston, Virginia! We learned so much about local stories from community members and our Brown Teacher Research Fellow Kathryn Parkhurst. Heads up Danville educators, we are headed to see you next! edu.lva.virginia.gov/brown/brown-institute/ ... See MoreSee Less
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