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

Jump to: Adult Programs | Teen Programs | Kids Programs | Volunteer



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.

  • May: Book Character Word Search
  • June: Create a Bookface
  • July: Create a Button for Your Favorite Book
  • August: Library Scavenger Hunt


Movie THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) directed by John Huston

May 28, 2016
11:00 am

A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.
more info

Film Noir: “Suffering With Style”


June 04, 2016
11:00 am

A summer series of film noir. For adults only.

  • June 4: This Gun for Hire (1942)
  • June 11: Double Indemnity (1944)
  • June 18: Murder, My Sweet (1944)
  • June 25: Mildred Pierce (1945)
  • July 2: The Killers (1946)
  • July 9: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
  • July 16: Gilda (1946)
  • July 23: The Big Sleep (1946)
  • July 30: Out of the Past (1947)
  • August 6: Criss Cross (1949)
  • August 13: Touch of Evil (1958)
  • August 20: Chinatown (1974)
  • August 27: Body Heat (1981)

Art With Pat

hand drawing.

June 13, 2016
4:00 pm

June 13 & 16, July 7 & 21
Pat Saunders will be teaching four art sessions on sketching and using watercolor pencils for adults and young adults this summer.

Batteau Day


June 20, 2016

The batteaux arrive in Wingina today on their eight day journey from Lynchburg to Richmond. Stop by the library on your way to Wingina and discover some interesting facts about Nelson County and the batteau. For all ages.

Saturday Family Matinee


June 24, 2016
2:00 pm

Snoopy embarks upon his greatest mission as he and his team take to the skies to pursue their arch-nemesis, while his best pal Charlie Brown begins his own epic quest back home to win the love of his life.
more info


book coverALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr

June 27, 2016
12:00 pm

A blind French girl on the run from the German occupation and a German orphan-turned-Resistance tracker struggle with their respective beliefs after meeting on the Brittany coast. Check the Catalog arrow

Family Movie Matinee


July 08, 2016
2:00 pm

In a world where dinosaurs and humans live side-by-side, an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend.
more info

Get Out of the Doghouse Day

dog house

July 18, 2016

Take a look at the many ways that you can get out of or maybe in the doghouse. For all ages.

Saturday Family Matinee


July 22, 2016
2:00 pm

Elliot, Boog and all of the beloved woodland creatures are back in a brand new comedy adventure.
more info


book coverOUR SOULS AT NIGHT by Kent Haruf

July 25, 2016
12:00 pm

A senior-aged widow and widower forge a loving bond over shared loneliness and respective histories, provoking local gossip and the disapproval of their grown children in ways that are further complicated by an extended visit by a sad young grandchild.
Check the Catalog arrow

Harry Potter Party

harry potter.

August 01, 2016
4:00 pm

In honor of J.K. Rowling’s new book release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II you are invited to a Harry Potter Party. Come dressed in your Hogwarts finest (of course you don’t have to dress the part) and celebrate with games, activities, and snacks. For all ages.

Saturday Family Matinee


August 05, 2016
2:00 pm

When a real estate development invades his Arctic home, Norm and his three lemming friends head to New York City, where Norm becomes the mascot of the corporation in an attempt to bring it down from the inside and protect his homeland.
more info


book cover THE BOYS IN THE BOAT Daniel Brown

August 22, 2016
12:00 pm

Traces the story of an American rowing team from the University of Washington that defeated elite rivals at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics, sharing the experiences of such contributors as their enigmatic coach, a visionary boat builder and a homeless teen rower. Check the Catalog arrow

Celebrate 100 Years of the National Park Service

August 25, 2016

Help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service with a display and activities for the day. For all ages.

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.