Special Collections

The Jefferson-Madison Regional Library System has combined holdings of over 400,000 items and a yearly circulation of over 1,600,000 items. There are several distinct collections within the library system including:

Adult Literacy/ESL Collections

The Central Library and Northside Library each have an Adult Literacy/ESL Collection. These collections include "high/low" (high interest/low reading level) stories at various levels, bilingual dictionaries, grammar and language instruction books, audiobooks, DVDs, and other materials of interest to adults increasing their reading skills, English as a Second Language learners, and to adult literacy/ESL tutors. There is a complete list here.

Albemarle - Charlottesville Historical Collection

The Albemarle - Charlottesville Historical Collection in the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society building at 200 Second St., NE, contains over 2,000 books and bound periodicals, as well as photographs, manuscripts, maps, pamphlets, newspapers, and vertical files relating to the history of our community.

Bestsellers Collection

When you just HAVE to read the latest best-seller, it’s worth a visit to the Central Library, the Crozet Library, the Gordon Avenue Library,  the Greene County Library, Louisa County Library, Nelson Memorial Library or Northside Library to take advantage of the Bestsellers collection.

Here’s how it works:

  • select a book from the special Bestsellers Book Shelf - this contains "High-Demand" titles
  • 7-day loan period, no renewals
  • Bestsellers can be returned to any branch
  • a $.50 per day late fee will apply
  • NO HOLDS are allowed on Bestsellers books.

Community Journals

Community Journals are a way to create community through journaling, as library users read what others have to say about a topic, and then add their own perspective. These journals are dedicated to housing the thoughts, feelings, ideas, and creativity of the entire JMRL community. Join the conversation! See the list of journals available.

Jazz CD Collection

The Gordon Avenue Library has almost 300 compact discs devoted to jazz music, tracing the history of this art form from its inception to the present day. The collection was initially seeded by a gift from the Carter Beauford Family and enhanced by a grant from the Bama Works Fund of the Dave Matthews Band. There is a complete list here.

Learning Kits

There are currently two categories of learning kits: Health Kits & Maker Kits:

  • To promote healthy living choose from six different kits available; read the Health Kit brochure to learn about the kits and then visit the catalog to place a hold on one today.
  • The Maker Kits allow you to learn a new technology or a skill at your own pace and in your own place by providing materials and instructions. Read the Maker Kit brochure detailing the 10 different kits available then visit the catalog to place a hold on one today.

Local Voices Collection

The Local Voices Collection supports and showcases the creativity of the JMRL community and contains donated material from local writers, musicians, and filmmakers. Currently, Local Voices Collections are maintained at the Central, Crozet, Louisa, Nelson, and Greene branches. More information about Local Voices can be found here, and a list of all items in the collection can found here.

Microfilm & Microfiche

Microfilm of the Daily Progress from 1894-present, the New York Times 1940-2007, the Wall Street Journal (1973-2002) and the Washington Post (1973-2003) are held at the Central Library. In addition, back issues of many magazines are accessible on microfiche, including Time (1950-1997), Newsweek (1950-1997) and US News & World Report (1962-1997).

Memory Kits

The Memory Kits were designed by a pair of Outreach librarians who were taking programs to senior communities. Kathryn Leide and Lynne Martin Erickson found themselves accumulating materials for different workshops and realized how much it would help to have the materials all together and available; Bi-Folkal Kits were born.

The kits are meant to be used with groups of seniors, of varying capabilities, to create interactive experiences. Each kit contains a variety of things for the senses including a dvd, a cd with sing-along booklets, things to touch, and things to smell. As the participants handle materials and hear familiar songs, it's not unusual for them to share their own memories.

To find them in the catalog, search "author" Erickson, Lynne Martin or "author" Bi-Folkal. Each kit comes in a bag which includes a list of everything inside. Some of the kits we offer are:

Museum Passes

JMRL offers admission passes for two local museums:

  • Virginia Discovery Museum - Check out a pass for free general admission for up to four people. A limited number of these passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis at each branch, and they may be used multiple times during the loan period. Passes may be returned to any branch or dropped off at the Museum; they cannot be immediately renewed. Check availability.
  • Frontier Cultural Museum - Check out a pass for free entry for up to 6 people. Loan period for these passes is 3 (three) weeks. Passes must be returned to the Library after your visit and cannot be returned at the Frontier Culture Museum. Check availability.

Play Collection

The Central Library has a collection of over 400 scripts from Dramatists Play Service and Samuel French, Inc., as well as plays in collections. Everything from Abie’s Irish Rose to The Zulu and the Zayda. There is a complete list here.

Roland E. Beauford Sr. African-American Collection

The Gordon Avenue Library houses the Roland E. Beauford Sr. African-American Collection. The collection includes a selection of the best books and other materials, fiction and non-fiction, by or about African-Americans.

Toy Library

toy helicoptor.

The Toy Library is a collection of 40 different toys that will encourage imaginative and dramatic play, promoting early literacy skills. All toys are cleaned and disinfected by volunteers at the University of Virginia Madison House after each check out. See what's available.

Virginia State Park Backpacks

The backpack comes with a parking pass that allow access any Virginia State Park at no cost. Backpacks also feature pocket guides to bugs and slugs, animal tracks, Virginia birds and mammals, and Virginia trees and wildflowers; port-a-bug field observation container; Big Foot Leave No Trace Ethics Card; magnifying lens; dip net; and laminated sheets with suggested activities designed by both Virginia State Parks and the Science Museum of Virginia.

Check availability.