Central Library

Central LibraryCentral Library is now in Tier 1 of the COVID-19 Response Plan.
Hours of Service are:
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

Jump to: Programs and Events | Volunteer

Tier 1 Service at Central Library

Patrons should be aware of the following:

  • Masks are requested, not required for all patrons ages 2 and up. If worn, masks must cover the nose and mouth snugly. Bandana masks are not allowed.
  • Branches are back to pre-pandemic schedules
  • Meeting rooms are available
  • Notaries and a host of other services are available
  • Late fines return
  • Capacity limits will be removed along with any restrictions on public computer usage
  • For outside pick-up accommodations, please contact/call the branch

CONNECTING @ YOUR 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? 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.