CvilleStrong: Affordable Housing

CvilleStrong DiscussionOn Saturday, February 24th, the Central Library launched the new CvilleStrong discussion series. Violent events during the summer of 2017 made visible ongoing inequities in the Charlottesville community. By creating a safe space for conversation,  JMRL intends to foster connections among neighbors.

This opening discussion centered around affordable housing in Charlottesville, within the context of the destruction of Vinegar Hill during urban renewal in the 1960s. The displacement of residents of  this vibrant, largely African-American neighborhood immediately created a need for affordable housing. The current housing market is directly influenced by the policies enacted almost 60 years ago. First, CvilleStrong participants watched a short documentary about Vinegar Hill, That World Is Gone. Next, those in the room spoke with  panelists including former residents of Vinegar Hill, a representative from the Public Housing Association of Residents, as well as representatives from three organizations that focus on issues related to affordable housing: Legal Aid Justice Center, The Charlottesville Low-Income Housing Coalition, and Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless. The lived experiences and professional expertise shared by all led to a very well-informed and deeply personal discussion.

CvilleStrong will return a few times a year. Details on upcoming topics will be posted on and JMRL’s social media accounts.

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Event coverage by local news

Wrapped Up in Books for Valentine’s

There’s no need to worry about being alone this Valentine’s Day when you’ve got a great book. Stop by the library to pick up a literary companion today!

Central Library and Gordon Avenue Library are inviting kids to pick out a surprise book wrapped up in paper that piques their interest in reading. At Central, books can be picked out by taking a sneak peek at their first line, while at Gordon Avenue the books are wrapped up as “book buddies” with fun faces from which to choose.

Nelson Memorial Library's Blind Date With a Book Display

Nelson Memorial Library’s Blind Date With a Book Display

At Nelson Memorial Library, teens and adults can go on a “blind date with a book.” The eligible books are wrapped up and have basic details on the plot and setting, and you get to pick which you think will be the most compatible with your reading habits.

These displays will be up until the end of February. Choose a book, check it out, unwrap it at home, and hopefully you’ll be surprised and delighted by the book you got. If you enjoy your experience, be sure to let your librarians know! Feel free to post to social media with #jmrlreads to share which book you got.

Snuggle With a Book: Winter Reading Program

snuggleMost people underestimate how early a child’s language development begins. Interactions with a child begin to impact language skills beginning not at six months, not at three months, but from the day the baby is born. That doesn’t mean you need to try to recreate preschool in your home. Helping your child be ready to learn to read is as simple as talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing!

JMRL’s Winter Reading Program, which runs from February 1 to March 2, is designed to help you do just that. Pick up an activity sheet at any JMRL location, or download it here to get started. This program is for children from birth up to 5 years old.

As you complete the fun activities, let your child color in the mittens on the sheet. When all 11 are complete, bring the sheet back to the library and your child can choose a free book. So brush off your memories of nursery rhymes and head to the library for some fun books to share! For more early literacy activity ideas, check out the family literacy calendar at DayByDayVA.

Don’t forget that your library card gives you free access to great children’s books and activities online as well. If you haven’t already, visit and click “Kids and Teens” on the left-hand side. There you’ll find encyclopedias and other materials made specifically for children.


If you’re looking for a way to keep the momentum going once the Winter Reading Program ends, check out JMRL’s 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. Books read during the Winter Reading Program may also be counted toward the 1,000 books challenge. Stop by any JMRL branch or visit to learn more.