National Library Week

NLW Judy Blume Banner

Public libraries are much more than just books. They are a staple within the community, offering free and equal access to information for everyone.

Since 1958, the American Library Association has sponsored National Library Week in April, usually during the second full week of the month. This year National Library Week falls on the week of April 13 to19. It is a week dedicated to celebrating all types of libraries – public, school, academic, and special – and the wonderful contributions they give to the community.

The Jefferson-Madison Regional Library (JMRL) enhances the quality of life in our community by serving as a life-long educational resource and fostering the free exchange of ideas. JMRL offers a wide variety of resources to the public, including job search assistance, public computers, homework help for students, online databases, various programs for adults, teens and kids, and of course, books. JMRL patrons have access to a collection of about 472,000 books, 54,000 ebooks, 25,000 audiobooks, and 32 online databases. This collection is growing bigger every day.

While there is speculation that the internet age will render libraries obsolete, the internet is more of a compliment to the library than a replacement. Believe it or not, the internet does not have all of the information that is available throughout the world. Also, some of the information that is on the internet is not free. The library gives people free access to materials online that require a subscription account. The library pays for access to these materials so that the public does not have to pay for information.

JMRL, like many public libraries, strives to keep up with the times. For example, every library in the JMRL system has WiFi, self-checkout stations, and computers that are available for use by the public.  Last year 133,394 people used the public computers available at JMRL branches. People often use the computers to search for jobs, access online government services, type resumes and cover letters, and create and use email accounts. Additionally, JMRL offers training to keep people up-to-date on current technology.

In the spirit of National Library Week, stop by your local branch of JMRL or visit to find out more about the many programs and services that the library has to offer to the community.

Paying Homage to Poetry

The Fall of ArthurPoetry has had a special place in literature, and our hearts, for many centuries. There’s just something about a rhyme that can really stick with you. Of course, not every poem has to rhyme; poems come in all shapes and sizes. Some are long and meticulously detailed, while others are short and sweet. In 1996 the Academy of American Poets decided to dedicate the month of April to celebrate this versatile and timeless art form.

In celebration of National Poetry Month all branches of JMRL will be handing out poem scrolls on Thursday, April 24, which is known as Poem in Your Pocket Day. Poems will also be handed out in various locations in Charlottesville, at UVa and Martha Jefferson hospitals, the Senior Center, ACAC in Albemarle Square, and several businesses along the Downtown Mall. Stop by one of those locations or your local library to pick up your very own poem and read it aloud to yourself, a friend, a coworker or a family member, or just keep it in your pocket for a rainy day. You never know what you’ll get!

If you’d like to have a little poetry celebration of your own, try one of these books from the JMRL catalog:

The Fall of Arthur by J.R.R. Tolkien — Presents the legend of King Arthur in an epic, but unfinished, poem written in Old English alliterative meter.

Dog Songs by Mary Oliver — A selection of new and favorite poems celebrates the canine companions who have enriched the author’s world, exploring how they have accompanied her walks, inspired her work, and served as life guides.

Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins — Presents a volume of more than 50 new poems accompanied by a generous gathering from the author’s collections of the past decade, lending insight into his overall poetic achievements and his use of playful, ironic, and melodic language.

Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die; Cherish, Perish: A Novel by David Rakoff — The NPR radio essayist and award-winning author of “Fraud” presents an edgy novel in verse that traverses the experiences of characters linked by acts of generosity or cruelty throughout major historical events of the 20th century.

The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness into Flowers by Alice Walker — This collection of poetry from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple features verse that pays tribute to Jimmy Carter, Gloria Steinem and the Dalai Lama and also deals with anger, forgiveness and wisdom.

The staff at the library will be happy to help you find the book that is just right for you.

Gardening Guides

Small Space Garden IdeasIt’s officially springtime, and that means it’s time to show your backyard some much-needed love after this especially harsh winter. Before you start planning your garden, consider taking a look at the following books available at JMRL:

Small Space Garden Ideas by Philippa Pearson — Helps home gardeners develop creative ideas for such small spaces as the doorstep, the balcony, outdoor walls, windowsills, hanging baskets, rooftop containers, vertical gardens and more.

Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener: How to Create Unique Vegetables & Flowers by Joseph Tychonievich — Tychonievich (nursery manager, Arrowhead Alpines) shares his experience in plant breeding to show home gardeners how to create tastier, hardier vegetables and more colorful and aromatic flowers. The author guides gardeners through the process of selecting what to breed and how to cross plants, and also explains the basics of genetics and advanced techniques. Case studies provide breeding examples of popular plants such as daffodils and hollyhocks, roses, and sweet corn and tomatoes.

Garden Rescue: First Aid for Plants and Flowers by Jo Whittingham – Presents a guide to diagnosing a problem, discovering options, and then implementing the best course of action to save the plants from diseases and pests.

How to Eradicate Invasive Plants by Teri Dunn Chace — Chace, an amateur botanist, horticulturalist, gardener, writer, and editor, presents a guide for gardeners that details how to eradicate about 200 of the most common invasive plants in North America: water and bog plants; annuals, biennials, and tropical perennials; herbaceous perennials; grasses and bamboos; and vines, shrubs, and trees. She provides profiles of the plants, which contain information and diagnostic photographs for identification and methods for eradicating them, from less toxic options to chemicals.

Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 Ways to get Kids Outside, Dirty, and Having Fun by Whitney Cohen and John Fisher — Raising kids and maintaining a garden can be a juggling act, leaving the family garden forgotten and neglected. But kids can make great gardening companions, and the benefits of including them are impossible to ignore. Gardening gets kids outdoors and away from television and video games, increases their connection to plants and animals, and helps build enthusiasm for fresh fruits and vegetables. This step-by-step guide to working side-by-side with kids will inspire all parents to grow their own little gardener and to get dirty, plant seeds, and enjoy the garden’s delicious rewards.

The staff at the library will be happy to help you find the book that is just right for you.