About JMRL

Mission Statement

JMRL fosters personal growth and life-long learning for all by connecting people with ideas, information, and each other.


WE SERVE OUR COMMUNITY. Our goal is to deliver exceptional service and honor our place at the center of the communities we support. We are committed to offering you qualified and well-trained staff equipped to meet your information needs. We appreciate diversity and are mindful of the culture and history of our organization, our region, and our communities.

WE PROVIDE FREE, EQUITABLE, OPEN ACCESS TO INFORMATION. We carefully curate a collection of physical and electronic materials that reflects our community. We believe public libraries play a critical role in fostering a democratic society, and we embrace our responsibility to amplify a full spectrum of voices. We advocate for intellectual freedom and make your privacy a priority.

WE INSPIRE LIFELONG LEARNING. We provide education and experiences to community members at every stage of life. We strongly promote reading and writing, and teach critical skills that help you navigate the world of information and technology. We offer free recreational and educational events for kids, teens, and adults where you can indulge your curiosity, explore your interests, and discover new passions.

WE CULTIVATE A WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT FOR COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT. We want our libraries to be comfortable, inviting, accessible spaces where you can work and play. We create opportunities for people to connect, exchange ideas, and discover community resources. Our libraries are inclusive spaces for people of all backgrounds, where everyone is welcomed and respected. We promote kindness and believe in service to the community.

Library History

Public libraries in Central Virginia have a rich heritage derived from the private libraries of leading forefathers -- Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe---who each had extensive personal libraries for their time. Jefferson's famous quotation, "I cannot live without books," continues to influence the support for libraries worldwide.

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.

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. The Young Men's Christian Association was established in 1858 at the University and in downtown Charlottesville in 1872. Both branches featured a reading room and library. Lesser known private libraries include the Belmont Farmer's Club, Friends' Circulating Library, the Women's Exchange, and the Blue Ridge Club.

In 1919, local philanthropist, Paul Goodloe McIntire, offered the community the gift of a library. McIntire's gift included land, design, construction of the building, furnishings and the collection of books. Opening in 1921, this became the community's first public municipal library. In 1934, the first branch library was funded by the City: the Colored Branch at Jefferson School. In 1948 the libraries were integrated.

Albemarle County joined the City in providing Bookmobile service in 1946. Branch libraries opened in Scottsville in 1960, in Crozet in 1964, and on Gordon Avenue in 1966. In 1996, Gordon Avenue Library added a major African-American collection.

In 1972, following General Assembly formation of regional public library systems, the City and Albemarle County joined with the counties of Greene, Louisa, and Nelson to form Jefferson-Madison Regional Library. The Commonwealth provided establishment grants and financial incentives to create larger, more cost effective units of public library service. In 2001 the General Assembly's Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission studied public library services in Virginia and determined that the General Assembly's support of regional libraries was successful in encouraging larger and more economical units of service and the maintenance and development of library standards.

Jefferson-Madison Regional Library grew rapidly. In the late 1970s, Charlottesville and Albemarle County purchased the former Post Office and Federal Building on Market Street and renovated it to become Central Library and Regional Library Headquarters.

In 1979, Louisa County Library moved into the former Girl Scout Building. In 1981, Scottsville Library moved into a new building, constructed after the old building suffered a major fire. In 1984, Crozet Library moved into a renovated train station. In 1988, Nelson County Library moved into a new building, constructed as a memorial to the victims of Hurricane Camille. In 1987, the historical collections of the Albemarle County Historical Society, the Central Virginia Genealogical Association, and Jefferson-Madison Regional Library were consolidated to form the Charlottesville-Albemarle Historical Collection, housed in the 1921 Charlottesville Public Library building, the "McIntire Building." Also in 1987, the regional library migrated from a manual card catalog system to an automated catalog and circulation system.

A new branch library, Northside Library, opened in a rented facility at Albemarle Square in 1991, and eventually became the regional library's most heavily used branch based on the number of items checked out. In 1995, Central Library received renovations to create a public access computer lab for Internet access and the development of a community information service, Monticello Avenue. In 1999, Louisa County Library moved to a new facility of 15,000 square feet, located between the towns of Louisa and Mineral.

In 2002, the library upgraded the catalog and circulation system, going from analog to digital. In 2003, Greene County Library moved into a new facility of 8,000 square feet in Stanardsville. In 2013, Crozet Library moved into a state-of-the-art, LEED Certified building of 18,000 square feet in downtown Crozet. In 2015, Northside Library moved from its rented facility to a new, 30,000 square feet building located north of Charlottesville.

Today, Jefferson-Madison Regional Library serves a population of over 200,000 residents with nine locations and the Bookmobile. With combined holdings of 500,000 items, the library circulates over 1,600,000 items annually. Library users have access to online databases and downloadable books 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Jefferson-Madison Regional Library is a valuable educational resource built on the sustained efforts of local residents over the past two centuries. We think our forefathers would look kindly on what their early efforts created and we look forward to the future progress of Jefferson-Madison Regional Library.

Library Board Committees

Budget/Finance Committee
Tony Townsend, Chair
Wendy Craig
James West
Lisa Woolfork
Aleta Childs
Staff: Lindsay Ideson, AJ Mosley
Meets as needed
Technology Committee
Wendy Craig, Chair
James West
Michael Powers
Staff: Anne Chiles,
Stella Pool, David Plunkett
Meets as needed

5-Year Plan Committee
Lisa Woolfork
Tony Townsend
Staff: Meredith Dickens, Krista Farrell,
Josh Howard, Susan Huffman,
David Plunkett, Stella Pool, Evan Stankovics
Friends of the Library: Proal Heartwell
Meets as needed

Policy Committee
Michael Powers, Chair
Carla Mullen
Tony Townsend
Kathy Johnson Harris
Staff: Krista Farrell, Ophelia Payne, Ginny Reese
Meets before the Board meeting usually every other month
Personnel Committee
Carla Mullen, Chair
Thomas Unsworth
Kathy Johnson Harris
Staff: Margarete Gillette, Chris Smith
Meets as needed
Liaison to Friends Advocacy Committee
Wendy Craig

Jobs at JMRL

Jefferson-Madison Regional Library utilizes the City of Charlottesville Human Resources when posting or advertising library positions. Please see the City’s JOBS BOARD for information about available library positions. The City also advertises in The Daily Progress and includes library positions that are available. Please note that in addition to the City advertisements, Jefferson-Madison Regional Library may also decide to advertise any available library positions for the outlying counties for Greene County in the Greene County Record, for Louisa County in The Central Virginian, and for Nelson County in the Nelson County Times.