COVID-19 Response & Available Online Resources

*UPDATE* Monday, May 18 at 4:45pm

Following the Governor of Virginia’s phase one guidelines, JMRL plans to move into Tier 4 of their COVID-19 response on Tuesday, May 26.

JMRL branches (with the exception of Nelson Memorial Library due to ongoing construction) will reopen with a contactless curbside pick-up only option for library holds from Tuesdays-Saturdays between 10am and 2pm.

More information is located in the May 18 blog post.

JMRL is currently observing Tier 5 of the COVID-19 response (no services or operations) as of 6pm on Monday, March 16.

Library systems across Virginia have taken the unprecedented step to close for several weeks and JMRL has chosen to follow suit to prevent gatherings of people and the potential spread of infection.

All JMRL facilities, including library branches in Charlottesville, Crozet, Greene, Louisa, Nelson, Northside, Scottsville, and the Bookmobile, are closed until further notice and nothing will be due until two weeks after JMRL re-opens.

If you need assistance, chat, email, text, or call JMRL using Ask a Librarian. You can still request personalized reading recommendations through What Do I Read Next?

During this time, patrons are encouraged to use the variety of eResources available on

This includes digital access to resources, such as books, magazines and movies, through the use of providers like Overdrive/Libby, RBdigital, Freading, Kanopy, and more.

Look for New Downloadable EBooks and New Downloadable Audiobooks.

Is your card expired? Contact with your name and birthdate and we can renew it the same day.

Don’t have a JMRL library card? Sign up online for a temporary elibrary card!

To sign up for this card, please visit

If a patron already has a JMRL library card, they do not need to sign up for a temporary elibrary card.

For more information and to keep updated with future changes, visit and follow JMRL on social media.

If you are in the Charlottesville area and seeking aid or a place to offer aid, visit Support Cville.

For the list of digital resources previously listed in the post, please visit this page.

5 Sensory Activities for Babies & Toddlers

sensory activities for babies & toddlers

If you’re missing your sensory play programs at the library, here are five ideas from Children’s Specialist Margaret Lake (of Crozet Library’s It’s Bin Fun Sensory Play fame) that you can do with many household items that you may already have on hand.

  1. Fill a large bin with dry beans.  When the child is done playing, snap on the lid and slide the bin under a bed.
  2. Put two primary color paints in a gallon Ziploc bag.  Use packing tape to tape the bag to a low window, such as a sliding glass door.  Or you can tape it to a table. The child can press on the bag to mix the paint and scribble lines and circles.
  3. Lay a blanket on the floor and place the child in the center.  Two adults can each grasp two corners and lift the child from the floor.  Then you can do some gentle swinging and bouncing.
  4. Hold the child on your lap and sing some songs. Some fan favorites include: Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Pat-a-Cake, and Yankee Doodle.
  5. Put some dry instant mashed potatoes in a large bowl.  The child can play with them dry.  When they start to get bored with that, gradually add water so they can explore it at different consistencies.  You can also add food coloring at different stages.


JMRL moves to curbside pick-up

Following the Governor of Virginia’s phase one guidelines, JMRL plans to move into Tier 4 of their COVID-19 response on Tuesday, May 26.

JMRL branches (with the exception of Nelson Memorial Library due to ongoing construction) will reopen with a contactless curbside pick-up only option for library holds from Tuesdays-Saturdays between 10am and 2pm.

Northside Library will offer pickup at the drive-up window.

During this phase, no special kits (such as toy kits), will be available to check-out.

Patrons can once again place holds on the JMRL website and the return due date for all library materials has been extended until June 24.

Please be aware, there may be delays in holds due to the 72-hour quarantining of materials and limited delivery.

If patrons no longer want their holds, they should cancel them by going online or calling their branch.

Beginning May 26, specific instructions will be posted outside of each branch detailing how patrons will collect their materials and patrons can call their library branch for more details. Specific branch details are also located on (under the “Branches” green tab).

Book returns must be made through the book drops.

Patrons should continue to follow social distancing guidelines while participating in the curbside pickups, including no contact and no access to the library buildings.

JMRL is still not accepting donations of books or media at this time.

More information, including access to virtual storytimes and other events, is located on

TIER 4 COMING SOON Sign Social Media V2

Tier 4 services info v2

“The spider’s web is a home and a trap.”

there thereBooks on Tap met virtually to discuss There There by Tommy Orange. Using the perspective of twelve characters, Orange explores modern urban Indian life as they all converge at the Big Oakland Powwow. Together, their stories explore identity, generational trauma, expectations and survival. Specific life experiences are used to create a story that resonates universally. The title calls back to Radiohead’s song of the same title and Gertrude Stein’s quotation “there is no there there” in likely reference to Oakland, where she was raised. 

Orange confronts stereotypes of Indians and both dismantles them and examines their underlying basis. Orange uses his characters to prove that Indians don’t just belong to the past and that their stories extend past the history books. However, since he wrote the book for a Native audience, he refers to historical events that may be vivid for his intended reader but were unfamiliar to some of our readers.  He uses the example of the old television test pattern of an Indian man in a headdress to compare how the same image can be read differently. He likens it to a man targeted in a gun scope, constantly under threat. Some of our readers could barely remember the image from their youth and hadn’t given it any thought, reinforcing the idea that Indians are at best seen as historical stereotypes (a chief in a headdress) or are invisible, something to put on tv when everything else has been presented for the day. Locally, those threads converge in the Monacan tribe, just recently recognized federally, 400 years after whites came to Jamestown.  Orange does more delicate work with the stereotype of the drunk Indian. The characters are in the throes of addiction, in hard-won recovery, and harmed by addicts. We discussed how the author uses their stories to examine how generational trauma in the form of genocide and subjugation would make a population vulnerable  to all addiction not only to alcohol but to cocaine and opioids. We compared the uneven application of drug laws to whites and people of color in terms of cocaine and crack, opioids and alcohol. 

Non-Indian readers were expecting to learn of tribal traditions. Orange points out that continuing tradition is tricky. The young people in the novel frequently use the internet to explore their Indianness. Some don’t know their tribes because they aren’t in contact with their Indian parent. Others were adopted by white families. Still others are raised with and by Indians, but those caregivers chose to downplay their identity to shield their children from the racism that they themselves suffered while growing up. 

Story fills this void. We talked about the many ways that stories are used for survival. Dene is collecting stories from Oakland-area Indians, paying them to tell any story they want but almost always hearing painful stories. Jackie returns to AA meetings but is bored of the stories  repeated there. Orvil, Tony and Edgar quietly search the internet to learn about traditions that, had they been able to absorb them in a dominant culture that supported and celebrated them, would have insulated them from the identity cries they are in the  midst of.  As a book club member pointed out, we have an Own Voices author demonstrating the importance of stories told by and for a community. 

Everyone who attended found the novel moving and eye opening. We parted ways over the ending. Some found it frustrating, depressing and too violent while a few found hope in the ambiguity. The characters converge at the powwow, some reluctantly. A robbery turns violent and the chaos is rendered  realistically and arrestingly through multiple asynchronous viewpoints.  The scene is reminiscent of massacres mentioned earlier in the book and it isn’t at all clear who is still alive at the end. However, Orange is working on a sequel which many of us are eager to read. 

Books on Tap will meet again on June 4th via Zoom. For information, please contact Krista Farrell (kfarrell at jmrl dot org). 

More Information:

About the author 

About the book 

Upcoming sequel 

Interview with the author 

Similar Titles 

Sherman Alexie especially The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian and You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

Here by Richard McGuire 

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot 


Next Meeting:

  • Clock Dance by Anne Tyler (June 4)
  • Vote here  to choose titles for this summer’s virtual meetings.