JMRL Wins Virginia Library of the Year Honors | Books


After a busy year marking a century of serving readers, the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library has received the 2022 Virginia Library of the Year Award from the Virginia Library Association.

“It’s really nice to get outside recognition,” said David Plunkett, JMRL Library Director. JMRL serves Charlottesville and Albemarle, Greene, Louisa and Nelson counties.

The VLA highlighted two JMRL projects in particular that led to the distinction – an exhibit at the Central Library exploring JMRL’s 100 years of service, which was created in partnership with the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society; and a collaboration with filmmaker Lorenzo Dickerson to produce “Free and Open to the Public”, a documentary film about the library’s first century. The film was screened at the Paramount Theater in October 2021, and DVD copies can be viewed at every JMRL branch.

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“Jefferson-Madison Regional Library (JMRL) was chosen Virginia Library of the Year in large part for the way it celebrated and honored 100 years of public library service, while recognizing that the roots of that century of service were in a separate system that did not serve non-white community members,” VLA said.

In its 2022 fiscal year, JMRL circulated more than 1.6 million articles and featured more than 1,300 programs that were attended by more than 33,000 people. Today, patrons of all ages access books, magazines, and other materials in person at library branches and digitally at

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the library has offered a variety of in-person, hybrid, and virtual offerings. In addition to recreational readings and homework help, guests find help with job searches, meeting spaces, notarizations, faxing, printing, and meeting space.

“The library has been able to pivot to meet families where they are,” Plunkett said.

Even before the pandemic, digital checkouts were one of the fastest growing categories.

“We’ve seen a real boom in people wanting to view digital documents,” Plunkett said. “It’s been fun to see the growth there.”

Plunkett also expressed his gratitude for the continued support of readers in Charlottesville, Albemarle, Greene, Louisa and Nelson.

To learn more about JMRL and its services and programs, visit

Colin L. Johnson