Nelson Memorial Library

Nelson Memorial LibraryHours:
Monday - Tuesday: 10 am - 7 pm
Wednesday - Thursday: 10 am - 5:30 pm
Friday: 10 am - 5 pm
Saturday: 10 am - 2 pm
Sunday - Closed

Phone: 434. 263.5904
Fax: 434.263.5988
Email Us

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Through February 2016: more info on the exhibit

Art by students of Nelson County High School and Nelson Middle School

Art. Nelson Art.

In the Display Case through February 2016: Work by students of Nelson Middle School.

Art. Nelson Art.



Fourth Monday of each month (with some exceptions) from 12:00 to 2 pm. Like to Read? Like to Talk? Join us at our Book Club which has been ongoing since 2005. Call the library at 263-5904 for more information. Program listings are below.


Enjoy fun activities but short on time? Stop by the activity table for quick and easy projects to do at your own pace, or take them to go. Materials are provided. For all ages.

  • January: Woven Snowflakes from Recycled Book Pages
  • February: “Take A Look! We’re in a Great Book” Quiz
  • March: Create one of Tom Angleberger’s Star Wars characters
  • April: It’s Spring . . . Let’s Color
  • May: Book Character Word Search


Movie THE APPLE DUMPLING GANG (1975) directed by Norman Tokar

February 13, 2016
10:30 am

Three orphan children strike gold in 1878 California.
more info

Coffee, Donuts, AND Film

dvd cover. SOME KIND OF BEAUTIFUL (2014) directed by Tom Vaughan

February 20, 2016
11:00 am

A drama about a Cambridge poetry professor who begins to re-evaluate his life of Byronic excess.
more info


ONE SUMMER, AMERICA 1927 by Bill Bryson

February 22, 2016
12:00 pm

The award-winning author of A Short History of Nearly Everything recounts the story of a pivotal cultural year in the United States when mainstream pursuits and historical events were marked by contributions by such figures as Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth and Al Capone. Check the Catalog arrow


Pick up your favorite fairy tale to take home and read to the family. For all ages.

Coffee, Donuts, AND Film

dvd cover. FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (1967) directed by John Schlesinger

February 27, 2016
11:00 am

Bathsheba Everdene, a willful, flirtatious, young woman, unexpectedly inherits a large farm and is romantically pursued by three very different men.
more info



March 01, 2016

Did you know that pigs are among the smartest of all the domesticated animals they are even smarter than dogs? Learn more about them on March 1st. For all ages
No registration required.


March 1 - 26 Create a piece of art that illustrates how you experience isolation, loneliness, or alienation from others, themes that appear in Carson McCullers’ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Pick up entry forms and guidelines at any branch or on the Big Read website. Co-sponsored by Charlottesville Pride Community Network. Winners will be announced and prizes awarded at the finale on April 3 at the Haven.


poetry. March 1 - March 31 Submit a poem for a chance to win a prize in this contest sponsored by JMRL in partnership with WriterHouse. Contest forms and guidelines will be available at all JMRL locations. Winning entries will be read at Poetry on the Steps on April 21st. Ages 18 and up.

Coffee, Donuts, AND Film part of THE BIG READ

MovieThe Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968) directed by Robert Ellis Miller

March 05, 2016
11:00 am

When deaf mute Singer moves to a small city to be near his only friend confined in a hospital, he grows attached to his landlady's sensitive 16-year-old daughter. more info


Movie AN AMERICAN TAIL (1986) directed by Don Bluth

March 12, 2016
10:30 am

While emigrating to the United States, a young Russian mouse gets separated from his family and must relocate them while trying to survive in a new country.
more info

part of THE BIG READ

MovieMR. HOLLAND'S OPUS (1995) directed by Stephen Herek

March 26, 2016
10:30 am

A frustrated composer finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher.
more info


book coverTHE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers

March 28, 2016
12:00 pm

A quiet, sensitive girl searches for beauty in a small, but damned Southern town.
Check the Catalog arrow


Movie SHAUN THE SHEEP (2015) directed by Mark Burton and Richard Starzak

March 29, 2016
4:30 pm

When Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun, he gets a little more action than he bargained for. A mix up with the Farmer, a caravan and a very steep hill lead them all to the Big City and it's up to Shaun and the flock to return everyone safely to the green grass of home. more info


Movie WRECK IT RALPH (2012) directed by Rich Moore

April 09, 2016
10:30 am

A video game villain wants to be a hero and sets out to fulfill his dream, but his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade where he lives. more info


Come share a joke or two with us and enjoy our funny joke book collection. For all ages.



April 25, 2016
12:00 pm

A novel spanning decades, generations and America in the 1940s and today, centers around five women who worked in a Phillips 66 gas station during the WWII years.
Check the Catalog arrow


May 07, 2016

The Library is joining Atlas Comics by handing out free comics at all branches. Stop by to see what's available -- while supplies last.



May 09, 2016
5:30 pm

Did you know that you can download magazines free using your library card and the program Zinio? Come and discover this technology to have magazines available at a touch of your fingertips. No registration required.


Movie LITTLE WOMEN(1994) directed by Gillian Armstrong

May 14, 2016
10:30 am

The March sisters live and grow in post-Civil War America.
more info


book coverTHE WRIGHT BROTHERS by David McCullough

May 23, 2016
12:00 pm

Blending impeccable writing with an absorbing narrative, the author humanizes the two young men from Dayton Ohio whose intelligence, imagination and persistence in pursuit of their dream of flight left a giant footprint on the modern era. Check the Catalog arrow

History of Nelson Memorial Library

After the War

Old Presbyterian Church
Old Presbyterian Church

Library service to Nelson County was provided as early as the late 1940’s by volunteers from the Nelson County Garden Club. They maintained a collection of books which had been donated as a memorial to the service men and women of World War II. The books were housed in a former Presbyterian Church (circa 1888) that was owned by the Garden Club.

In 1966, members of the Nelson County Chamber of Commerce and other county organizations met with representatives of the Virginia State Library to explore the possibility of organizing a public library and providing bookmobile service. In 1970, the Chamber commissioned the writing of a book which would tell the story of the devastation in Nelson County caused by Hurricane Camille in 1969. Proceeds from the sale of Torn Land were to be used to build a memorial library.

Encouraged by interest in public library service, the Nelson County Board of Supervisors appointed a committee in 1972 to further investigate the possibilities. They discovered that participation in a regional library system would allow Nelson County to tap into funding sources and library resources not otherwise available to them.

Early Days

In September 1972, the Nelson Memorial Branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library opened its doors to the public. The white-frame church building on Front Street was an immediate success. The first branch manager was Laura Turner, a former school teacher.

Circulation of books at the Nelson Memorial Library increased dramatically over the years. In 1972-73, there was a circulation of 7,157 books. In 1987-88, circulation was 46,570. Patron usage, program attendance, and bookstock has also shown large increases. It became apparent that the library had outgrown its charming but cramped quarters. The book collection had increased greatly and there was simply not enough room for the books. Attractive programs sponsored by the Friends of the Library often drew crowds of over 100 people.

Looking for a New Home

Around 1980, the County Chamber of Commerce renewed its fund-raising efforts. They actively solicited donations to the Torn Land Fund. In 1985, the C&P Telephone Company donated one of their local buildings. Proceeds from the later sale of this building were added to the fund.

In March 1983, a group of interested volunteers met to organize a local Friends of the Library who sought to push for a new library and increased hours of operation. The Friends also sponsored many programs and fund-raising activities. Land adjacent to Lovingston Elementary School was later donated by the School Board.

In 1986, JMRL and Nelson County were awarded a federal LSCA Title II grant through the Virginia State Library. Other funding was provided by the Nelson County Chamber of Commerce, the Torn Land Memorial Trust Fund, the JMRL and Nelson Memorial Friends, the County of Nelson and numerous individuals and businesses. The new building would be a community effort and a source of pride for all.

The New Building

Current building
Current building

Construction began after a formal groundbreaking ceremony in January 1987. In May 1988, the move was made into the new building. In addition to its regular offerings of books, periodicals, videos and books on tape, the Nelson Memorial Branch also provides Internet access to the public, a very popular service initiated by the Nelson County Library Advisory Committee and funded by the Torn Land Memorial Trust Fund. The meeting room, heavily used for public meetings and library programs, doubles as an art gallery with exhibits changing every two months. The Nelson County Visitors Center is located on the lower level of the library and a collection of local history materials and cemetery records is maintained by the Nelson County Historical Society.

Moving Forward

Current building
Current building

Currently, the branch is staffed by one fulltime manager and 3 part time staff members who are assisted by dedicated volunteers.  Approximately 40% of Nelson County residents have a library card. In addition to a collection of 28,000 items, the library offers eBooks through Overdrive for all those patrons who prefer electronic reading or listening. Computers are available for public use as well as wireless internet service. Weekly story times for preschoolers as well as numerous programs are presented for children and young adults.

Since the current building was opened, the collections and services have increased so that the Library has outgrown the available space. The Torn Land Committee and the Nelson County Library Advisory Committee commissioned an architect to assess the current building and to plan for an addition. State requirements indicate that at least double the current space is needed to serve the size of the Nelson County population. A recent community survey reinforced this need, since patrons are asking for more space for computers and seating.


Dedicated to the memory of the Nelson County victims of 1969’s devastating Hurricane Camille, the present-day Nelson Memorial Branch Library is a lasting memorial and, as well, a testimonial to the dreams, dedication, and hard work of the people of Nelson County who love and appreciate their library.