Gordon Avenue Library

Gordon LibraryHours
Monday: 9am - 9pm | Tuesday: 9am - 6pm
Wednesday: 12 -9pm | Thursday: 10am - 6pm
Friday - Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday - Closed

Phone: 434.296.5544
Fax: 434.295.8737

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Programs for Adults


Meets at 10 am on the first and third Fridays of each month to discuss literary classics. The group meets from September to May. For further information, contact Eileen Stephens: emstephens@comcast.net Program listings are below.


This group meets at 7:30 pm, the second Wednesday of each month to share insights on a variety of classic and contemporary fiction. Program listings are below.

The Giving Tree

November 25, 2014

Share your love of reading with a child enrolled in the local Head Start program. Select a name at a participating library in early November and buy a picture book to return to the library by Friday, December 5

Reading Poetry


December 03, 2014
7:00 pm

The Live Poets Society meets the first Wed of every month (except April & November) at 7pm. Come and share original poetry, or just listen. For more information, contact Tony Russell at 293.7838 or go to the society blog.

For DIY People


December 04, 2014
3:00 pm

If you're crafty, this is the group for you. Chat, snack, and meet your neighbors, as we knit, stitch, bead, and sew. Bring any project you're working on, or come just to be inspired. All ages and levels of experience welcome. Call or visit the library for details, or to be added to the handcraft email list.
Meets monthly on Thursdays.

Literary Masterpiece Book Group

book coverLETTERS FROM THE EARTH by Mark Twain

December 05, 2014
10:00 am

Letters from the Earth is one of Mark Twain's posthumously published works. The essays were written during a difficult time in Twain's life; he was deep in debt and had lost his wife and one of his daughters. The book consists of a series of short stories, many of which deal with God and Christianity. Check the Catalog arrow


December 06, 2014
2:00 pm

Registration Required
Make a gift of a soup, cookie, or tea mix in mason jars. All supplies provided. Space is limited. Call 434.296.5544 to register starting November 15.

In partnership with PVCC

Getting Started at Piedmont Virginia Community College

December 08, 2014
6:30 pm

Denise McClanahan, PVCC Outreach Manager discusses PVCC degrees and certificates (many you can complete in less than two years), resources to help you succeed in the classroom and beyond, PVCC placement tests (receive free practice test materials!) and financial aid opportunities. For more information, contact Denise McClanahan at 434.961.5275 or dmcclanahan@pvcc.edu.

Wednesday Evening Book Group

book coverALL THE BIRDS, SINGING by Evie Wyld

December 10, 2014
7:30 pm

Living in voluntary isolation with only a disobedient collie and a flock of sheep for companions, a woman on a storm-battered British island struggles with memories about her haunted past and endures fear of an unknown assailant that has been targeting her sheep. Check the Catalog arrow

Literary Masterpiece Book Group

book coverKIM by Rudyard Kipling

December 19, 2014
10:00 am

Kim, an Irish orphan, journeys throughout India and accompanies a holy man on his quest for a mystic river. Check the Catalog arrow

Literary Masterpiece Book Group

book coverPOETRY by Pablo Neruda

January 02, 2015
10:00 am

A collection of poems by the Nobel Prize-winning author features translations, many of them specially commissioned, of almost six hundred works. Selections TBA Check the Catalog arrow

Future Readings:

  • January 16 Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
  • February 6: The Book of Ruth from the Old Testament
  • February 20: The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty
  • March 6: After Many a Summer Dies the Swan by Aldous Huxley
  • March 20: Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor. Meeting at the Central Library
  • April 3: TBA. Meeting at the Central Library
  • April 17: short stories by Alice Munro. Readers' choice.
  • May 1: Tales of Genji. Meeting place TBA.
  • May 15: Tales of Genji


January 10, 2015
2:00 pm

Registration Required
Learn how to get free audiobooks and eBooks for your electronic devices from the library. Call 434.296.5544 to register starting December 20.

Wednesday Evening Book Group

book coverGILEAD by Marilynne Robinson

January 14, 2015
7:30 pm

As the Reverend John Ames approaches the hour of his own death, he writes a letter to his son chronicling three previous generations of his family, a story that stretches back to the Civil War and reveals uncomfortable family secrets. Check the Catalog arrow

Future Readings:

History of Gordon Avenue

The Gordon Avenue Library opened for public service on November 19, 1966. It was the McIntire Library's first major addition built expressly for library purposes since 1921. The construction was funded jointly by the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, which had been contributing to the operation of the Bookmobile since 1946 and had joined smaller branches in Scottsville (1960) and Crozet (1964) to the city's system.

At the time, this new branch was sorely needed to serve a growing population west of the city, to ease crowded conditions at the McIntire Library (which occupied the building now housing the Albemarle County Historical Society), and to provide a headquarters for the Bookmobile operations.

Gordon Avenue Library
Gordon Avenue Library

Designed by the architectural firm of J. Russell Bailey in Orange, Virginia, the two-story red-brick trim 12,384 square foot building was designed to hold 25,000 volumes (with an additional 10,000 in the Bookmobile "garage" downstairs), seated 38 in the Adult Room and 26 in the Children’s Room and boasted three public meeting rooms, seating 134 in all. The original architect’s rendering can be seen hanging on the wall behind the circulation desk.

The Perry Foundation donated the site. Forty-five percent of the construction costs or $120,262 was provided by Federal Library Aid through the Commonwealth. Charlottesville and Albemarle County appropriated $75,000 each. Additional funds were donated by individuals and groups, notably the America Association of University Women, who helped equip the meeting rooms, and the Friends of the Library who purchased a film projector and screen.

The Seventies & Eighties: A Time of Growth

Gordon Avenue interior
Gordon Avenue interior

During its first full year of operation, Gordon Avenue was open for 48 hours per week and circulated 49,748 volumes. The staff of five included three professionals, a library clerk and a janitor. The branch experienced remarkable growth in the 1970’s. By 1975, Gordon Avenue offered 73 hours of service a week (5 hours on Sunday).

When the new Central Library opened in May 1981, Sunday hours were dropped at the branch, and budget cuts in 1982 made further cuts necessary. The book collection continued to grow, however, and by 1988 the library had squeezed in 54,000 volumes, twice its designed capacity, and had to reduce seating by a third. The South Room, one of the public meeting spaces, and the Bookmobile area were given to the Friends of the Library in 1984 for storage and sales space for their remarkably successful annual book sales. Gordon Avenue Library now serves as a donation center for Friends of the Library in addition to hosting the book sales twice a year.

The Nineties and Beyond

Gordon Avenue Children's program
Gordon Avenue Children's program

With the opening of the Northside Library in 1991, Gordon Avenue Library lost its role as the largest branch, but it has retained its reputation as a welcoming, accessible neighborhood library. Programs for children are varied and well-attended, and the strong collection and relative flexibility of a smaller branch allow for innovative programming. As many as eight programs a week are offered for infants, preschoolers, school-age children and teens, including a drop-in storytime every Saturday morning. Adults, as well, can enjoy a variety of programs such as book discussions, movies, and community groups for handcrafts or games. Library staff offers instruction for all ages in basic computing and navigating library resources such as databases and downloadable eBooks and audiobooks.

A bestseller collection to allow quick access to the most popular books; the African-American collection, named for Roland Beauford, an original staff member; and a varied and well-appreciated jazz cd collection; are some of the (more) successful unique offerings at Gordon Avenue Library. Now, the eight public computer workstations and public wireless access are used for everything from job searching to social media, educational research and communication.

In 2012, Gordon Avenue Library houses a collection of over 69,000 items and circulates over 15,000 items in an average month. Presently, five full-time and two part-time staff members serve the public for 52 hours per week. Gordon Avenue Library sits as an integral part of this vibrant neighborhood alive with preschools, Venable Elementary School, businesses, homes and the University. Filled with natural light and a cozy atmosphere, it is a place for students, families, retired people and anyone to stop and stay awhile, discovering favorites old and new.