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.

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.

4 hours ago

Education at LVA
Help us shape the Library of Virginia's website redesign. Share your experience using our website in this 5-10 minute survey.lva-virginia.libwizard.com/f/website_redesign_surveyThe Library of Virginia is working to enhance its website, and your input could help shape the new design and user experience. We’d love to learn how you interact with the site and what we can improve.We invite you to take this 5-10 minute survey to share your feedback.lva-virginia.libwizard.com/f/website_redesign_surveyThe survey closes on Monday, June 17. ... See MoreSee Less
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1 day ago

Education at LVA
May is Jewish American Heritage Month. The Library of Virginia's newspaper collection includes The Jewish South, published in Richmond during the 1890s. Editor Herbert T. Ezekiel described his paper as "devoted to the interests of Judaism," and he reported on events throughout Virginia and around the world as well as publishing sermons and essays on the doctrines of Judaism. Learn more about Herbert Ezekiel and his newspaper in our online exhibition, 200 Years, 200 Stories: edu.lva.virginia.gov/200/stories/92 ... See MoreSee Less
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4 days ago

Education at LVA
70 years ago, on May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas that mandatory racial segregation in public schools was inherently unequal and unconstitutional. Read how two Virginia newspapers responded to the news in our Document Bank entry: edu.lva.virginia.gov/dbva/items/show/295 ... See MoreSee Less
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1 week ago

Education at LVA
On May 14, 1607, the Virginia Company settlers landed at the island they named Jamestown and where they established an English colony. John Smith explored the Chesapeake Bay region and created this highly accurate map based on his travels and Indigenous knowledge. Learn more about Smith’s map and the ways in which Virginia Indian tribal members regard his map today in Document Bank, our online classroom resource of primary source documents: edu.lva.virginia.gov/dbva/items/show/53 ... See MoreSee Less
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