Four Remarkable Librarians

As a Waynesboro Public Library patron for more than seventy years, I feel an enormous debt to four library directors—one of whom I never knew. Nonetheless, their character, kindness, purposefulness, and sense of obligation resulted in each of them having a direct and beneficial impact on my life.


When the library opened in 1915, my mother, Courtney Pelter, was a young girl of nine who lived directly across the street at the corner of Walnut Avenue and Eleventh Street. My grandmother recalled that every afternoon my mother would visit the shining new library and come home with an armload of books the librarian had encouraged her to take home, read, and return the following day.

That librarian—she may have been Mary Stevens, Maggie Scanlon, or our family friend Mrs. Lyda Wood—instilled a love of reading and a quest for knowledge in my mother that was passed on vicariously to me. My mother died at 54, but not before she had made me a lifetime “friend” of the library.

I often think about that precocious young girl with the armload of books and the kindly librarian who encouraged her.


Mrs. Dixie Rogers was the second library director who impacted my life.

As a little boy, I was regularly exposed to the then-crowded but ever-fascinating Walnut Avenue library building. It was a rich experience that continued through my years as a grade student at nearby Bethany Lutheran School and later as a Fishburne Military School cadet just across the street from the library.

In those days Mrs. Rogers often managed the entire building single-handedly or at best with only one part-time assistant. She was strict and firm in the discipline she imposed, but she was ever willing to open the vast resources of her own considerable culture and knowledge to the inquisitive mind of a young would-be scholar.

When she saw the opportunity to enlighten a young patron, she was unfailingly helpful and even willing to bend her own rules. She allowed little-used reference books to be checked out for extended periods of time if she thought they would be read and absorbed in the interim.

She opened many doors of knowledge for me and instilled a habit in my life of regular library browsing. A few years later I found that thanks to her, the habit was so ingrained in me that I spent many hours after class roaming on my own through the cavernous stacks and endless riches of Alderman Library at the University of Virginia.

Mrs. Rogers was largely responsible for these exciting adventures.


By 1965, after active duty in the US Army, I returned to Waynesboro as a f l e d g I n g lawyer just as the city had employed a young librarian from Shillington, Pennsylvania.

Her name was Dorothy Anne Reinbold, and her first task was to help plan a new, state-of-the-art library facility to serve the growing needs of a flourishing municipality. For 37 years, Waynesboro Public Library became her wondrous and ever-expanding creation, reflecting her remarkable personality in every aspect of its dynamic operation.

She became one of my friends of a lifetime and was surely one of the most remarkable people I ever knew. She was indefatigable—a collector, archivist, public relations expert, child psychologist, politician, and educator.

She impacted state library policy, built our circulation and collection to record levels, counseled authors and researchers, wrote and edited books of her own on many phases of local history, and for years regularly manned the front desk on Friday nights to maintain an awareness of the demands of the general public. The library’s local history collection that she built and nurtured through the decades literally formed the initial collection of the Waynesboro Heritage Museum.

She helped me, as she helped others, in absolutely countless ways. When she retired in 2002, Waynesboro’s library patrons enjoyed a nationally-recognized institution.


Today’s library director is likewise one of a kind. Mr. Zahir Mahmoud has effectively faced twenty-first century challenges quite different from those encountered by his predecessors, and he has faced them adroitly.

Already skilled and experienced when he succeeded Miss Reinbold twelve years ago, Zahir Mahmoud has applied acuity and professionalism to meeting rapidly advancing technological needs. At the same time he has demonstrated an awareness of changing public needs in library services.

He has created a user-friendly environment that welcomes patrons with a variety of needs and interests. His penchant for sound administration and creative programming has fostered an atmosphere of efficient service and expanded resources in this building.

When the proliferation of printed materials began to overburden the shelf space available, Zahir quickly embraced more efficient on-line alternatives. In areas where nothing could replace the printed word, he saw to the expansion of reading opportunities for children, complementing them with hands-on games and audio-visual experience. Likewise, the library’s nationally-acclaimed genealogical research facilities became the envy of communities across the Shenandoah Valley.

Zahir has never forgotten that public support is paramount to fostering a municipal library’s growth and success. In an era of budget constraints, he was positive and forthright in leading the campaign for voter approval of a million-dollar bond issue for library expansion that garnered more votes than a slate of other worthy civic improvements.

I saw firsthand how his trusted judgment, firm salesmanship, and unflagging campaigning helped accomplish what many deemed an impossible victory. Such is the man who leads our library today.


Now I am well aware that the Waynesboro Public Library is the creation of hundreds and hundreds of loyal staff members, citizen volunteers, organized friends, and general supporters who have served it since it began.

Notwithstanding this indispensable cumulative effort, I believe it can be argued persuasively that the impact of its successive library directors should not be minimized when the century-long saga of this remarkable facility is told.

– Joseph B. Yount III

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The Library and Its Friends — In It for the Long Haul

The Waynesboro Public Library will celebrate its 100th anniversary in July. It was July 15, 1915 when the town dedicated the old library building, built with an $8,000 grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation, at the corner of what is now 11th Street and Walnut Avenue. For 49 of those 100 years, the Friends of the Library organization has supported the library as it, in turn, has served the Waynesboro Community. But in fact, both the library and its friends go back in time for many more years than the one hundred that will be celebrated at the Centennial festivities on July 14, 2015.

The first indications of library activities in Waynesboro have been reported to go back as far as 1817-1818, when the Virginia General Assembly issued a Certificate of Incorporation to the “Waynesborough Circulating Library Company.” The historical record is otherwise silent about this earliest library presence in the “borough.” In the early 1900s, a small group of women from the Philathea Sunday School of the Waynesboro First Baptist Church — the original “friends” of the library — led by Mrs. Mary Channel Stevens, formed a small circulating library at the church. This library quickly outgrew the space available to it, and Mrs. Stevens moved her group of friends and their ever-growing supply of circulating books to a few different, successively larger locations. Mrs. Stevens also successfully lobbied City Council to apply for a Carnegie Foundation grant for the construction of a library building. In order to meet the Foundation’s conditions for the grant, Mrs. Stevens worked with another small group of prominent citizens — more “friends” — to purchase a parcel of land for the permanent library building, and she persuaded City Council to appropriate money on a continuing basis for its care and upkeep. With all this accomplished, the Carnegie Foundation had the wisdom to award Waynesboro an $8,000 grant for its first dedicated library building. The rest, as they say, is history.

Much more detail on all these events is being presented by the Wayne Theatre Alliance in its three-act production of “Ladies of the Library” by Clair Myers. The first and second acts have been presented at the May and June River City Radio Hour performances, while a condensed version of the whole play, including the third and concluding act, will be presented during the Centennial celebration at the library on July 14.

The Carnegie library building at 11th and Walnut served Waynesboro well and faithfully for decades. Residents of a certain age have vivid memories of the old library and how it embraced its patrons as they entered. But by the 1960s, the old library was confronting the same nemesis that had beset its predecessors — it simply was not adequate to meet the needs of a booming community (think General Electric, DuPont, Crompton Corduroy, et al). Indeed, a joint survey by the Association of University Women and the League of Women Voters revealed a general sense of dissatisfaction with library services in town. The survey findings were not without some controversy, but they did crystalize into two positive developments. First, the move to build a new and more extensive library at its present site on Wayne Avenue, which was accomplished in 1969. Second, the impetus to form the Friends of the Waynesboro Public Library (FOL) as a free-standing organization to provide both financial support and volunteer help for the old library and, more importantly, the expanded operation of the new library.

The FOL was chartered in 1966. Early organizers included many from the professional ranks of General Electric and DuPont. For example, the Friends’ constitution was prepared by the General Electric local patent counsel.

The formation of the FOL was accompanied by a surge of enthusiasm that was reported in the extensive press coverage of the time. Reading the back issues of the News Virginian, one learns of the numerous organizing coffees and teas that preceded the first membership drive. The FOL divided the town into districts, appointed a captain for each district and ultimately unleashed 175 volunteers — all women — to conduct a door-to-door membership campaign. Following a May 1 to May 9 drive, the total Friends membership for 1966-1967 stood at 1,280. Annual membership cost $1; family membership cost $5; life membership cost $50; and patrons and organizations paid $10.

The FOL’s first Annual Report, covering April 1, 1966 to March 31, 1967, shows that they raised $2,888.58, with $2,610 coming from membership dues. Early donations from the FOL to the library totaled $1,588, covering items ranging from a record player to a microfilm reader. Also in 1966, the FOL conducted a book drive to replace worn volumes and provide duplicate copies of books at the library. In 1973, the FOL organized a formal volunteer program, preceded by the customary “kick-off tea,” with a chairman to secure and coordinate the volunteer efforts which were — and are today — so important to handling the several library tasks which would otherwise exceed the resources available through the regular library staff.

The major features of the FOL work today — fundraising and volunteer support — can be traced directly back to these early days. While the core of current membership is down from that early 1,280 number, support for the library has increased and strengthened over the years. In 2013, the FOL donated $227,000 to the city to pay for the children’s furnishings, book shelves and other aspects of the recent library renovation. In 2014, the FOL organized and logged over 3,500 volunteer hours in direct support of library operations. In 1991, and again in 2013, the FOL was presented with the Friends Achievement Award by the Virginia Library Association.

The FOL is always attracting new members, but needs more. Membership brochures are available at the library, and everyone is invited to join. The Centennial occasion is an ideal time to follow in the footsteps of Mrs. Stevens and her band of “friends,” as well as the early Friends of the 1960s — grab a brochure and sign up.

The FOL organization is 49 years old and counting. As you can see, the history of Waynesboro and its libraries shows a long and rich tradition of people coming forward to help meet the community’s needs for knowledge, entertainment and self-improvement — first by reading and circulating books and now by availing themselves of a wide array of today’s information, services and, yes, books. Friends of the Library indeed!

Kevin Ryan, FOL President

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Library Renovations

The voters of Waynesboro approved funding for a library addition in 2007. When the architects for the project looked at the building and looked at the requirements for the use of the addition, they realized that the building was adequate, but it needed to be renovated for better use. After much discussion with the staff, the patrons, the board of trustees, the Friends of the Library (FOL) Board, and visits to other recently renovated libraries, a wish list of improvements was compiled. Choices had to be made considering future use and the budget.

In 2009, City council approved a “best case” library renovation plan to be started the next year. In 2010, city council added additional funding for the interior staircase, which was not in the original plan, with the stipulation that the furnishings for the renovated area be bought by the FOL.

In 2010, the FOL Foundation Committee, chaired by Latane Long and Faison Dana, worked with the funds raised from the former stand-alone Foundation Board as their base, to secure funding for the furnishings through The Branch-Out Campaign. Kat Strickland created an attractive brochure and accompanying materials for the project. Art Rottenborn and Paul Dana secured The Giving Tree, which honors and recognizes donors, for the northern interior wall. Room naming opportunities were designated.

Through visitations to prospective contributors, publicity in news outlets and at the library, the need for contributions was spread throughout the community.

With funding through the Branch-Out Campaign, the Change for Children Campaign, and a major contribution from the Friends of the Library, $227,651 was donated for new furnishings.

While the fundraising was going on, plans for the actual construction were being finalized. Connecting the upper and lower floors with an interior staircase was a major goal. Having all of the children’s materials and program areas on the main level was a primary goal, as was a larger patron area in front of the desk. Considerations, such as enough handicapped accessible bathrooms, office space for staff, room for the library archives, computer access areas, plus multiple other needs were put into the mix.

On June 11, 2012, the Grand Opening of the newly renovated library was held.

The Jeane Custin Young Adult Room and the Ann Eckman Internet Cafe were dedicated at this time. On April 13, 2013, the Children’s Room dedication to Ed and Betty Menaker was celebrated.

As patrons of the library know, this first phase of renovation has made a distinct improvement in the library’s accessibility and usefulness for the entire community.

Latane Long

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A Departure from Manual Library Operation to Computers and Online Services

The wave of change was coming in library land as more and more services were switching to technology for better control and efficiency. Computers were utilized in academic settings long before public libraries realized the benefit. In early 1989, library staff and board members were discussing options and products available that would simplify circulation process, provide easier access to library materials, and generally enhance circulation control.   Mr. Kirk Snell, a member of the Library Board of Trustees and a retired engineer, was very instrumental in moving the concept forward.

City Government and library board members moved on this project quickly as they were convinced this was the direction leading to better efficiency. Inlex automated system was for an integrated library system. Computer wiring and installation were done mainly by volunteers, mostly retired engineers from DuPont and GE. The community was excited about the new state of services at their local library. A team of volunteers and the Friends of the Library assisted with barcoding and having the collection ready. The card catalog was kept for several months to ease the transition from the card catalog to online catalog for patrons who were not comfortable using machines.

The vertical file, which was once a popular place for high school students working on their homework assignments, was replaced by microfilm/fisch, followed by CD-ROM products such as InfoTrac, Newsbank, Ebsco Magazine Index, and a host of dictionaries and encyclopedias, etc. Subscription databases followed soon. The Library of Virginia provided four computers through the Bill Gates Foundation grant.

The wave of change did not stop there as networking and wide-band replaced dialup connection. The need for moving the circulation system and online catalog to a web based system was urgent. Staff from three local governments started discussing the potential of a shared system. Augusta County Library, Staunton Public Library, and Waynesboro Public Library issued a statement of agreement and was signed by the three jurisdictions to explore the option of a joint consortium. After several meetings and presentations by vendors, the Library Solutions (TLC) was selected for handling of the consortium’s integrated library system.

The Valley Libraries Consortium went online in April 2003. The system allowed library patrons to use the same card in all locations. The online catalog shows holdings of all three libraries, and patrons can borrow an item no matter where it is located within the consortium. We have maximized technology factor in resource sharing. A courier service was established that routinely moves library materials among consortium members.

Waynesboro Public Library joined the Southwest Virginia Digital Collection Consortium of 26 library systems in 2011. For the first time, e-books and downloadable audio books were made possible through this consortium. Through the Library of Virginia state contract with Recorded Books, library patrons now also have access to e-magazines.

In 2013, based on the library’s long range plans, the use of an RFID (radio frequency identification and securtiy) system for circulation was explored. Among other benefits, the proposed RFID system would provide significant productivity gains through reduction in key labor-intensive workflow processes, enhanced customer service, reduced material losses, reduced incidents of staff repetitive motion injuries, and improved inventory accuracy. A major consideration was to engage library patrons by enabling self-checkout and reduce time waiting in line.

Again, volunteers and staff members helped with barcoding the entire collection using an RFID tag. This project was completed in May of this year after a month of work. The next step will to be install security gates and go live with the system.

Today, 20 computers are available for public access to the Internet, and WIFI is available throughout the building. On average, there are over 3,000 uses of the computers per month. Library staff provides training, in a class setting or individually, for library patrons on Microsoft applications, email set up, and web navigation. Library staff has been at the forefront of technology and helping to narrow the digital gap. Front desk circulation function and other technical processes, such as cataloging and ordering, are all done online. Library patrons have access to self-checkout stations at the library and to their accounts online, allowing them to manage their account from home computers.

Zahir Mahmoud, Library Director

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WPL 1977-1990

It hardly seems like almost 40 years have elapsed since I came to Waynesboro to serve as Assistant Librarian at the Waynesboro Public Library. Shortly before we moved here from Springfield, VA, in the spring of 1977, Joan—my wife— asked me one Sunday morning where Waynesboro, VA was.  I replied that I’d never heard of it.  She said they were looking for an Assistant Librarian.  Since, at that time, I had embarked on a new career (after 22 years in the Army) and was working in an entry-level job in Washington, DC, I figured that I had nothing to lose by applying for the position.  The rest is history.

My comments herein are meant to be retrospective—what the picture was when I was full-time staff (1977—1990). The library Board at the time (1977) was headed by Richard Hupman, himself a reserve Army officer and U. S. Senate Librarian. Board members included Janet Foster, Martha Leys, Jean Mehler, and George Hausler.  Thus started a 13-year relationship, concluded by my retirement—again!—but continuing to work part-time in circulation.

When I first reported in, the Director was Dorothy (“Dot”) Reinbold, a graduate of Drexel University’s Library Science program. The library had been located in its present location for about a decade. Space was a serious problem, but work was underway on expansion of the facility. The existing building was on a slab, while the addition would be two stories with a full lower level, enlarging the structure to over 29,000 sq. ft.  Bookstacks, the circulation desk, and administrative spaces would be on the upper level, while the lower level would include two workrooms, a large garage to house a hoped-for bookmobile (that never happened), and two public meeting rooms (easily converted into one large room).

An elevator connected the two levels, but its use was restricted to staff and handicapped persons. The lower level was kept locked since there were no “permanent” activities or functions in the lower level.

There was, for a time a storefront branch library located on Commerce Avenue, in the former Basic City. This branch was open on weekday afternoons, and manned by a library staff member.

A fair number of patrons who have moved to Waynesboro will tell you that the existence of a first-rate library in the community was very influential on their choice. The statistics about number of patrons, usage, etc. will bear this out. Our community makes very good use of its library.

It was always interesting to observe what happened when really bad weather was in the offing: Folks rushed out to two places:  Kroger, for food and bodily sustenance, and the Waynesboro Public Library for food for the mind and intellect.

The spectrum of library resources typically saw three major areas of focus for special collections and services. Augusta County Library offered bookmobile service throughout Augusta County.  Staunton Public Library ran service for the handicapped, disabled, etc. in the form of spoken-word media, most of it ultimately provided by the Library of Congress’s Blind and Physically Handicapped activity.  Waynesboro has an outstanding genealogy and local history collection.

The Waynesboro Public Library at the time had a considerable back-file of periodicals. Space and other constraints militated against maintaining so much printed material, and other formats, not to mention the Internet, in general, has made it feasible to reduce the amount of printed matter maintained on site.

Public school students made good use of our library. During much of the school year, a special resource person (“monitor”) was on evening duty to keep the library orderly and quiet.  Staff on circulation duty did not have time to meet extra challenges from energetic youth.  For the younger set, the place for reading and study was also a place to socialize.

It has been interesting to look at changes in the library and its services. In the 1970s, school students made very good use of the library’s print resources, and term-paper time was especially busy. Nowadays, much research and reference is done on-line, and the impact of this demand appears to have been reduced to a trickle.  Also, the formats being used for sharing information with the public have greatly expanded.  Many of the formats we use now were not even invented 20-odd years ago.

I look back on my fulltime years as a busy and satisfying time. (Library school, however, never taught me about HVAC!)  Much has happened since then at the Waynesboro Public Library, and the library has continued to be at the center of Waynesboro’s intellectual activity.  What we have all learned is to look now for information and not just books.  That challenge has been, and continues to be, met superbly.

– Pete Rufe

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WPL 1912-1979

The founder of the first library in Waynesboro was Mary Channell Stevens, in conjunction with the Philathea Class of the local Baptist Church. Mrs. Stevens was born March 26, 1874 in Montreal, Canada. She was the daughter of Charles E. Channell and Emily W. Benton Channell. While growing up in Canada, she desired to further her education. She eventually made her way to the United States and attended a School for Christian Workers in Springfield, Massachusetts. One may wonder how a native Canadian ended up in Waynesboro, Virginia.  According to the documentation, she moved to Waynesboro after her marriage to Ezra H. Stevens. Mrs. Stevens then became a Sunday school teacher at the local Baptist Church and got the young ladies interested in books. Soon they discussed starting a library.

The Baptist ladies were informed that the State Library sent out traveling libraries free of charge and they applied for one. They started with fifty books from the State and opened their classroom library to the public in 1912. A committee of three was formed to oversee library operations.  The library committee consisted of Mary Channell Stevens, Eva Ellison, and Virginia Leftwich. The library committee struggled at first because they did not know much about library methods.  However, they were determined to learn and turned to a book called Library Administration by L. M. Stearns.  Under Mrs. Stevens’ competent leadership, the members of the Baptist Sunday school class finally brought their vision into reality. The original members of the Philathea Class were: Minnie Arnold, Charlene Clark, Marion Cook, Evelyn Day, Eva Ellison, Mary Ellison, Hallie Ellis, Pauline Fry, Ammi Glenn, Mary Glenn, Nellie Garber, Stella Harlow, Eunice Hippert, Virginia Hunt, Fanny Leftwich, Anne McComb, Florence Stevens, Maggie Scanlon, Anna Shirkey, Lucy White, Nannie White and Mary Channell Stevens.

Many items were donated from the community and in a short period of time, the library evolved. Eventually, the room was inadequate to accommodate the library collection and visitors.  The ladies of the church realized that if they wanted to continue their efforts, another plan of action had to be taken. They presented their dilemma to the men’s Sunday school class and were offered their larger classroom. At that time, Waynesboro had a population of 1,400. For the month of September it was recorded that the number of books circulated to the public was 321 and the number of visitors was 401.

As attendance increased, the library committee decided once again it was more than they could handle without additional help. They asked the town to take charge of it. In November 1912, the town council adopted a resolution establishing a public library in Waynesboro. The vote was unanimous to support the library.  Mayor W. W. Glass, Jr., appointed nine individuals to serve as a board of directors with William Dugdale as president.  The board of directors consisted of: T. J. Yancey, Professor Augustus Kimler, William Dugdale, William Pratt, Mary Stevens, Eva Ellison, Mrs. George F. Taylor, Mrs. Joseph T. Carr, and Mrs. Fred L. Cooke. The board of directors replaced the library committee of three and began tending to the functions of the library. The directors met in December 1912 and signed a lease with William Gardner (owner of Gardner Mill) for a room in a building on Wayne Avenue.  The rent was five dollars per month. In January 1913, the library moved from the Baptist Church to the room in the former seminary building on Wayne Avenue.  At that time, the library was called the Waynesboro Free Library.  It had 1,000 books and 270 borrowers.        

After residing in the seminary building for a short period of time, the board of directors met and discussed a more permanent site for the library. The most favorable location was on the corner of Walnut and First Street (now 11th Street). The board of directors raised money, secured the building site, and presented it to the town. After the town council accepted it, the library board corresponded with the Carnegie Corporation to bring the project to fruition.  After meeting Carnegie Corporation requirements, a grant was secured in the amount of $8,000. The library on Walnut Street was one of only three Carnegie libraries built in the state of Virginia. The other two were erected in Norfolk. Waynesboro Library remained in the Carnegie building until moving to the present building in 1969.

Miss Dorothy Anne Reinbold was the Library Director responsible for the move from the Carnegie Library to the current location. The present building was dedicated May 18, 1969. It had outgrown itself in ten years and a new addition to the existing structure was acquired in 1979. The building doubled in size as a result of the new addition.

Karen Vest, Archivist

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Filling a Need

The Waynesboro Public Library Adult Services Department has proudly served the city for many years. The role of Adult Services Department has slowly evolved over the years from being book focused to more technology centered.  Although the Adult Services Department can still help you locate that special book or give you recommendations of titles to read, more focus is on technology help, whether it is learning a computer application or finding something on the internet. Today this department offers the public several online reference databases such as Novelist, Find It Virginia, Literati Public, A to Z World Travel and Culture, CareerTransitions and Powerspeak Languages.  E-books, e-audiobooks and e-magazines have also been a new phenomenon that the library has been able to offer its patrons.  The library offers OverDrive for patrons to check out e-books and e-audiobooks and Zinio to check out e-magazines.

The Adult Services Department also coordinates adult library programming to enhance the library experiences of the community. To further the literacy improvement, the department has been involved in two region wide reading programs for several years, the Big Read and One Book One Community.  More recently, the library offered the first annual Author Fest, which brought together over 25 local authors for people to meet and buy their books.  This program was a great success since the authors and the general public expressed that they enjoyed themselves.  In addition, a book club meets every third Wednesday of the month to discuss a book chosen by the group.

Adult programming also provides entertainment for the community, including speakers presenting various topics and movie screenings. Often the library will host an activity such as a craft project, or program on a special subject such as the history of moonshining. In October 2012, the Adult Services Department worked with the renowned artist, author, and Holocaust survivor, Mark Strauss, and The Foundation for Holocaust Education Projects, to present “An Evening of Tolerance”.  Mr. Strauss talked about his poignant story of survival and hope as a child in Nazi occupied Poland.  This program was very successful with an attendance of 100 people.

Among regular programs, the library shows a family friendly movie every second and last Friday of the month. More recently, a Morning Matinee program on the second Tuesday of the month is mainly geared towards seniors.  An ongoing knitting group meets to share a love of knitting and crocheting with each other on Monday afternoons.

We also have a goal to educate our patrons through technology classes. Regular classes are offered on Microsoft Word and Excel, computer basics, and how to navigate the internet and set up an e-mail account. More recently, classes on how to download digital content were added.  Classes on financial topics such as how to get money for college and how to prepare for retirement have been offered. The library has also partnered with the Waynesboro Rotary Club for the last three years to provide a job skills fair.

The library has also been able to offer more diverse educational experiences due to several grants received over the last few years. One successful series of special programs was created around the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys grant.  The grant was awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA) to help familiarize public audiences with the people, places, history, faith and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world.  The two programs in the series, “What Is Islam?” and “God Is Beloved: Exploring Islamic Poetry,” were presented by Dr. Danielle Widman Abraham, an Assistant Professor at James Madison University.

One of the most successful series of programs was created with the help of a grant called Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle. The library won a documentary film collection and used some of the films as a basis for programs about the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.  For the first program in this series, the library screened the documentary Slavery by Another Name and then hosted speaker Dr. Amy Tillerson-Brown the next day, giving the audience a well-rounded view of this period in history. Next, The Freedom Riders documentary was shown, followed by speaker Dr. Ted DeLaney. The last film in the series was The Abolitionists and Mr. Holt Merchant discussed this period of history.

Mary Ann Hayden, Adult Services Librarian

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