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Jefferson-Madison Library is seeking public input on the Library’s 5-year plan

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A planning committee comprised of representatives of the JMRL Library staff, the Friends of the Library, and the Board of Trustees, is working on future plans for the Library for the 2014-2019 five-year plan. The current plan – which covered the period from 2009-2014 -- is available here.

In order to have many voices sharing ideas, the Library is welcoming input from residents who have an interest in the services that the nine branches of the Library -- and the bookmobile == provide. The next monthly meeting of the Board of Trustees is on Monday, December 16, at 1:00 p.m., at the Central Library.

The public is also invited to send comments and recommendations to the Library Director, John Halliday, at: halliday@jmrl.org.

The public libraries here in Central Virginia have a unique heritage, having included some books that had been in the private collections of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe, who each lived close by and had a bounty of materials.

Public library service in this area has roots from the public subscription library established in 1823, called the Albemarle Library Society located on Court Square in Charlottesville. The library was incorporated by an act of the Virginia General Assembly as the Albemarle Library.

Jefferson probably made substantial contributions to this library as some books once owned by it are now in the University of Virginia’s Alderman Library. The Albemarle Library preceded the opening of the University and operated until 1834. Throughout the 19th century, other libraries in Charlottesville and Albemarle County were established and maintained by private clubs and other groups. One of the most noteworthy was the Lyceum, incorporated in 1837. Lyceum was later joined by the National Society of Literature and Sciences, the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society of the University of Virginia and continued to operate throughout the 1850’s but closed it’s doors during the Civil War.

The Charlottesville native, Paul Goodloe McIntire was a very successful investor and was extremely generous in providing land and the building and furnishings and books for a new library which was dedicated in 1921. A connoisseur of music and fine art, he also endowed the University of Virginia’s McIntire Department of Music and donated hundreds of objects to the UVa Museum of Art; and several major sculptures around town such as those of George Rogers Clark on University Ave, Thomas Jackson and Robert E. Lee and their trusty steeds located on East Jefferson St. near Court Square; and the statue of Lewis & Clark and Sacagawea, on West Main Street.

Additional information is available about the history of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library at the JMRL website, which is a great place to explore in order to avail oneself of the many features and services that the Library offers.

Some of the “peer libraries” in Virginia that also serve populations between 150,000 and 300,000 include the Arlington Department of Libraries, Newport News Public Library System, the Norfolk Public Library, and the Richmond Public Library, among others.

The Library’s Mission Statement is carefully articulated:

Jefferson-Madison Regional Library enhances the quality of life by providing equal access to information. The Regional Library serves all ages, promotes reading, serves as a life-long educational resource, and supports democracy by fostering the free exchange
of ideas.

There are five major Library Goals, which each have various objectives and strategies, all further developed on the JMRL website:

Goal #1: To provide and promote access to library services and materials to all area residents.

Goal #2: To standardize the distribution of library technology throughout the J-MRL service area and to provide area residents with state-of-the-art electronic resources.

Goal #3: To employ a sufficient number of well-trained staff and administration who will meet the library needs of all patrons through superior service.

Goal #4: To strengthen the library collections in various media to meet the evolving informational, vocational and recreational needs of J-MRL’s diverse communities.

Goal #5: To obtain the financial resources mandated by state code and to earn J-MRL the “AA” rating.

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