Central Library

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

Phone: 434.979.7151
Fax: 434.971.7035
Email Us

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Art @ Central

October - November 2017: World Art Exhibit
An exhibit of original artworks by refugees who were resettled in Charlottesville, depicting images from the memories of their home countries.


Art. 
Art.

CONNECTING @ YOUR LIBRARY

The Reference staff will provide one-on-one tutorials on basic computer skills and online job searching and applications. Participants must get a JMRL Library Card. For an appointment call 979.7151 ext 4.

Programs for Adults

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 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 John Halliday oversees the entire JMRL system from his office on the third floor of the Central Library.