Central Library

Central Library Library Hours (including porch pick-up services):
(Closed Sundays Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day)
Monday - Thursday 9am - 9pm
Friday - Saturday: 9am - 5pm
Sunday: 1pm - 5pm

Phone: 434.979.7151
Fax: 434.971.7035
Email Us

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Tier 2 Service at Central

Starting Monday, May 17:

  • Physical visits allowed up to a per-branch capacity threshold, no appointments required.
  • Masks and social distancing are required.
  • Continue to place returns in the outside book drop.
  • Please limit your visit to 2 hours.

Services available at this time:

  • Browsing/Checking out
  • Computers (2 Hour Max)
  • Making library cards
  • Copying, Printing, Scanning & Faxing

Services that are not available at this time:

  • Conference/Meeting Rooms
  • Notary services
  • Donation drop off

Porch Pick-up at Central

  • Place holds on items on the JMRL website at jmrl.org OR call Central Library to have a staff member place your holds.
  • You will be notified by email or phone when your holds are ready.
  • Please call Central Circulation (434.979.7151 ext 2) in advance to confirm your pick-up time/date; specify if you prefer ramp access.
  • Central Library will have tables marked on the front porch.
  • If you prefer to use the ramp, only one "party" at a time can be on the ramp to allow for entry/exit safe distancing.
  • Pick up your labeled bag/requested materials that have already been checked out to you from the table.
  • When you come for pickup, follow all procedures, wear a face covering, stay 6 ft from all people, and please limit the number of people you bring with you.
  • Continue to return all materials in the library bookdrop.
  • Please adhere to social distancing guidelines while participating in pickups, including no contact and no access to the library buildings.

Thank you very much for your cooperation. WeӮre glad to have you back at the library!


Virtual Tech Tutorials

Need help with your device or downloading ebooks and audiobooks to your phone or tablet? Looking for assistance organizing photos, or just have general questions about using your device? Contact Chris at csmith@jmrl.org to arrange a Zoom tutorial with a JMRL Librarian (up to 45 minutes).

Programs at Central

Looking for more programs? All JMRL programs are currently virtual, which means you can participate at any branch no matter where you live. Check the Programs Calendar to see everything available to you. Find previous programs and virtual storytimes on the JMRL YouTube Channel.

History of McIntire and Central Library

Albemarle Library Society
Charlottesville Public Library c. 1922

The first known library in downtown Charlottesville was created in 1823 by a group of citizens that included Thomas Jefferson. The “Albemarle Library Society” boasted an initial collection of 238 titles. This village library was located at “Number Nothing” in Court Square (a site now occupied by 224 Court Square). A public subscription library, the society was incorporated by the Virginia General Assembly and lasted at least until 1834. It was not until 1919 and the generosity of Paul Goodloe McIntire that a truly public library was formed. McIntire donated not only the land and the construction costs, but the furniture and the first 5,000 books for the new library as well. The cornerstone was laid in November, 1919, and the new “Charlottesville Public Library” opened its doors to the public on May 30, 1921.

The Regional Library Evolves

Original site of the library, now the Historical Society
Original site of the library, now the Historical Society

Additional branches in Scottsville, Crozet, and on Gordon Avenue in Charlottesville took some of the pressure off of the small McIntire Branch in the early 1960s, and, in 1972, with the addition of branches in Louisa and Nelson counties, the library system became the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library. Greene County joined the system in 1974.

Market St. Post Office Building
Market St. Post Office Building

In October 1977, the Market Street Post Office building was purchased by Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Under Director Christopher Devan, a 17-month renovation project took place. Total cost of the project reached $2.25 million. After moving the McIntire collection of 90,000 volumes into the building on Market Street, the new Central Library opened on February 2, 1981 to patrons eager for a larger facility. Along with administration and technical services, the third floor of the new building offered the community three meeting rooms, one of them dedicated to Mr. McIntire (in the Fall of 2020, the McIntire room was renamed to the Swanson Case Courtroom, to honor the historic court case that took place there in 1950 to desegregate UVA Law School).

In May 1987, the Albemarle County Historical Society's Library and the Central Virginia Genealogical Association consolidated their resources with those of the Central Library and moved the newly formed Charlottesville-Albemarle Historical Collection to the mezzanine of the Central Library where it remained until 1994. That year, after extensive restoration and renovation, the Historical Collection moved out of the Central Library and into the former McIntire Library.

Beyond the Printed Page

In the late 80s, the Library Board and Director Bill Swinson had committed the library system to obtaining the benefits of emerging modern technology. By February 1989, under Director Donna Selle, the card catalogs at all branches were replaced with on-line computer catalogs for the public and JMRL fully implemented its automated circulation system.

In order to continue to integrate technology into the library system, the Central Library was again renovated in 1995. The opening of a public computer lab for internet access and the development and implementation of a community information network, Monticello Avenue, were initiated. The public lab currently houses many internet stations and access is also available in the Central Reference Department where extensive electronic resources complement the print and microform collections.

Current Director David Plunkett oversees the entire JMRL system from his office on the third floor of the Central Library.