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Nelson Memorial Library is expanding!  The building size will double and our interior space will be renovated.  The hope is to break ground in late spring or early summer.  As a fundraising group our goal is to raise $500,000.00 for computers, media accessories, and additional books for our collection.  In order to accomplish that goal, grants are being written and donations are being accepted. 

Groundbreaking at Nelson Memorial Library

Groundbreaking at Nelson Memorial Library for new addition.
Left to right: Supervisor Larry Saunders, from Jamerson and Lewis Construction Company-Kevin O’Brien, from Architectural Partners – Jim Vernon, NML Branch Manager – Susan Huffman, Nelson Trustee for JMRL-Marcia McDuffie, former NML Branch Manager-Tanith Knight, Supervisor Tommy Bruguiere, Supervisor Jesse Rutherford, Supervisor Ernie Reed, and Assistant JMRL Director Krista Farrell.

New Display

New Library Display

The Grow Nelson Library Committee created a lovely new display for the library. Come by for a visit and check it out – along with a couple of books!

Buy A Book for Nelson Memorial Library

As we begin to build the addition and renovate Nelson Memorial Library, we also need to grow our book collection. One of the ways that you can contribute is to use the “Buy A Book” tab at the top of the Grow Nelson Library website. For every $25.00 you donate you may designate the name to be placed on a special bookplate for that book. You can also choose the type of book to be purchased. This book will then become part of the library’s collection to be shared for many years to come.

This is one of my favorite books!

Grow Nelson Library Wish List

These are the items that we will be purchasing with the funds that are donated to Grow Nelson Library. For example, if you would like to help with our Young Adult “Do-It” Center we could use your donation of $250.00 for the new cookbooks for that area. Should your donation be $50.00 and you want it go towards our “Agricultural Books”, we can do that too.  

Young Adult “Do-It” Center

  • Cookbooks
  • Sewing Machine
  • Digital Camera
  • Digital Keyboards
  • Fashion Design Books
Spooky Cupcake wars

Young Adult “Read-to-Learn” Center – Book Collection

  • Modern History
  • Modern Presidential Biographies: Kennedy through Trump
  • Modern War History: Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria
  • World History: 1940 to Present Day
  • Historical Fiction
  • College Preparedness
  • Finance (living on a budget, balancing a checking account)
  • Organizational Skills
  • Young Adult Periodicals

Agriculture and Farming Book Collection

  • Trees, Woodlands and Tree Farming
  • Conservation Practices
  • Farm Building and Fence Design
  • Grass and Pasture Management
  • Beginning a Farming Enterprise: Market Garden, Poultry/Eggs, Cattle, Pigs, Sheep, Goats
  • Business Practices for Farmers
  • Farming Periodicals: Stockman Grass Farmer, The Shepherd’s Magazine, Tree Farmers Magazine
  • Seed – Sharing
Nature Creatures

Now Hear This!

  • Audio Books both Fiction and Non-Fiction
  • Music CDs
Did you hear this?

Children: Know Your State – Virginia Book Collection

These book subjects are based on Elementary Social Studies Standards of Learning

  • State and Local Government Officers
  • Jamestown
  • Early Immigrants
  • Agriculture and Slavery
  • Williamsburg
  • Colonial Life
  • Richmond
  • Yorktown
  • Civil War
  • Reconstruction

Keep checking back for more wish lists to come.

The History of Nelson Memorial Library

Nelson County Memorial Library: A true community library

1940’s: Volunteers from the Nelson County Garden Club maintained a collection of books donated as a memorial to the service men and women of World War II. The books were housed in a former Presbyterian Church (circa 1888) that was owned by the Garden Club.

1970: The Nelson County Chamber of Commerce commissioned the writing of a book which would tell the story of the devastation in Nelson County caused by Hurricane Camille in 1969. Proceeds from the sale of the book “Torn Land” were set aside to be used to build a memorial library.

1972: New legislation in Virginia supported the establishment of regional library systems. With support from the Board of Supervisors, Nelson County was able to access funding and library resources through the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library (JMRL) system. In September, 1972, the Nelson Memorial Branch of JMRL opened its doors to the public in a white-frame church building on Front Street in Lovingston, the county seat.

1980: With circulation and use of the library growing rapidly, the County Chamber of Commerce renewed its fund-raising efforts, actively soliciting donations to the Torn Land Fund.

1983: A Friends of the Library group formed to advocate for a new library building and increased hours of operation. In support of this effort, the Nelson County School Board voted to donate land for construction of a library adjacent to the Lovingston Elementary School.

1986: JMRL and Nelson County were awarded a federal LSCA Title II grant through the Virginia State Library. Other funding was provided by the Nelson County Chamber of Commerce, the Torn Land Memorial Trust Fund, the JMRL and Nelson Memorial Friends of the Library, the County of Nelson, and numerous individuals and businesses.

1987: Construction was begun on the new Nelson Memorial Library building.

1988: The 4300 sq. ft. Nelson Memorial Library was opened for service in May, 1988. Dedicated to the memory of the Nelson County victims of Hurricane Camille, the present-day library is a lasting memorial and a testimonial to the dreams, dedication, and hard work of the people of Nelson County.

Current service: Circulation of books at the Nelson Memorial Library has increased dramatically over the years. In 1972-73, 7,157 books were checked out by patrons. By 1987-88, when the new Nelson County Memorial Library opened, circulation was 46,570. In 2017-2018, annual circulation of physical materials (books, CDs, DVDs) had reached 76,760, but it was limited by the space for housing materials in the 30-year-old building (currently the smallest branch collection within the JMRL system at 21,239). Despite these limitations, more than 40% of Nelson County residents have a library card and use library services. Because of the rural nature of Nelson County, the free 24-hour wireless internet service for patrons with their own devices is heavily used, and 8 computers are also available during the 48 hours per week that the library is open. One hundred ninety-one educational and recreational programs were offered by the library staff in 2017-2018, and program attendance topped 5,000. However, the library has long outgrown its current space

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2018: The Nelson County Board of Supervisors, recognizing the value of the library in the community and the fact that its services are limited by the space available in the current building, voted to support an expansion and renovation project that will double the size of the library and modernize its infrastructure to support greatly expanded technology services.