All Area Libraries (Fairfield, Libbie Mill, Tuckahoe, Twin Hickory, and Varina) are now open to the public with limited hours and occupancy. Additional locations will reopen soon in our next phase. We are offering contactless holds pickup at all locations, new online programs and storytimes, digital library cards, and more. Details here.

2020 Library Journal 4-Star Library

HCPL was recognized as a 4-Star Library by Library Journal for 2019. Stars are awarded to public libraries with high per-capita usage and engagement in terms of library visits, program attendance, circulation, and technology use. Usage data recently released by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for FY17 informs the awards. For 2019, 6,333 U.S. public libraries qualified to be rated in the Index. Of these, 261 Star Libraries received either three-Star, four-Star, or five-Star designations.

New Landmark Library Award: Varina Library

Awarded by Library Journal

The New Landmark Library Award recognizes innovative, newly constructed libraries for others to use as a benchmark. By openly listening to and incorporating a diversity of voices into the planning process, the Varina Area Library embraces its future while honoring its past through design, programming, and preserving natural habitat in a diversifying region.

2019 National Association of Counties (NACo) Awards

Caregiver Kits

Awarded by the National Association of Counties

Caregiver Kits at Henrico County Public Library (HCPL) enable those experiencing memory loss or dementia-related illness to connect easily with family members, friends, and caregivers by revisiting familiar themes from their lives. The kits contain books with vibrant photographs, DVDs of classic movies or television shows, popular music CDs, and discussion prompts, all chosen with the goal of encouraging memory and conversation. Each kit has a theme with broad appeal such as local history, cooking, or pets. Kits can be checked out by anyone with a library card to share with an older adult who may be suffering from a memory deficiency. Adults with memory disorders often have difficulty communicating verbally, but sensory stimulation reminiscent of their past, such as the images and music in Caregiver Kits, can stimulate deep memory and help them find the words they need to connect with their loved ones.

2019 National Association of Counties (NACo) Awards

Closing the Distance Between Us

Awarded by the National Association of Counties

Henrico is a rapidly growing and diversifying County in the Central Virginia region. Henrico County Public Library has responded to the changing community by hosting a series of programs to welcome its new immigrant residents. These efforts have resulted in greater engagement between the Library and immigrants in Henrico, which in turn informed the Library’s decision to host author Reyna Grande to discuss her immigration memoir The Distance Between Us at the Library’s signature event, All Henrico Reads, in 2018. After the event with Ms. Grande, the Library hosted a moderated discussion panel featuring local residents and staff who immigrated to Henrico, called “Closing The Distance Between Us.” The panel opened up dialogue and understanding between long-time Henrico residents and new, at a time when immigration is at the forefront of our national discussion.

2019 National Association of Counties (NACo) Awards

Music and Memory

Awarded by the National Association of Counties

Inspired by the documentary film Alive Inside, Henrico County Public Library staff members combined a love of music and passion for serving the aging to create the Music & Memory program. Music && Memory seeks to spark opportunities for older adults to connect to the past and others using popular music of their youth. Already passionate about music and skilled in research, staff from Henrico County’s Mobile Library Services purchased vinyl records of artists from the 1930s-50s, and researched and compiled artist biographies, to play for and inspire discussions with residents of local Senior communities. The program successfully opens a dialogue between Seniors and their peers about their past and what music means and has meant to them. Music && Memory stimulates deep memory in older adults, opening up their ability to communicate. The program builds a bridge between both people, and the past and present, enriching lives and fostering a sense of community for older adults and those with memory disorders.

2019 National Association of Counties (NACo) Awards

Sensory Storytime

Awarded by the National Association of Counties

Sensory Storytime is an early literacy program designed to be adaptive and inclusive to children of all abilities, with particular emphasis on serving children on the Autism spectrum. At Henrico County Public Library, a Children’s Librarian recognized the need to reflect the neurodiversity of her community in the Library’s programming. The Librarian partnered with Henrico’s Infant & Toddler Services, located in the Henrico Area Mental Health and Developmental Services, to provide trained assistance for families and caregivers of children on the Autism spectrum during a specially-designed storytime. Library staff presenters are trained to be attentive to each child and make adaptations as needed throughout the program to meet all participants’ needs. The Librarian envisioned Sensory Storytime as a gateway to the library for families and children who have not traditionally been encouraged to see the library as their own. The program focuses on fine and gross motor movement, oral skills, songs, rhymes, and books, with time after each program dedicated to encouraging child and family interaction and bonding through play. Sensory Storytime creates an accessible, engaging, and safe early literacy program for children on the Autism spectrum and their caregivers.

2019 Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) Award

Caregiver Kits

Awarded by the Virginia Association of Counties

Caregiver Kits at Henrico County Public Library (HCPL) enable those experiencing memory loss or dementia-related illness to connect easily with family members, friends, and caregivers by revisiting familiar themes from their lives. The kits contain books with vibrant photographs, DVDs of classic movies or television shows, popular music CDs, and discussion prompts, all chosen with the goal of encouraging memory and conversation. Each kit has a theme with broad appeal such as local history, cooking, or pets. Anyone with a library card can check out a kit to share with an older adult who may be suffering from a memory deficiency. Adults with memory disorders often have difficulty communicating verbally, but sensory stimulation reminiscent of their past, such as the images and music in Caregiver Kits, can stimulate deep memory and help them find the words they need to connect with their loved ones.

2018 NACo Achievement Award

Night Sky Astronomy

Awarded by the National Association of Counties

Henrico County Public Library (HCPL) first partnered with the Richmond Astronomical Society to present “Observe the Moon Night” in 2015 at Twin Hickory Library. The program aimed to provide a community event that would be educational and enjoyable for library patrons of all ages. It was an instant success, attracting 100 participants ranging in age from small children to senior citizens. Members of the Richmond Astronomical Society supplied high-quality telescopes, instructed viewers on using the equipment, and provided information about the moon and other celestial objects they could view. Observe the Moon Night was soon replicated at the Tuckahoe Library, drawing another large crowd. In 2017, HCPL was invited to participate in the national NASA @ My Library project and continued a partnership with Richmond Astronomical Society to increase STEM programming in Henrico. The program goal was expanded beyond providing an event for families to increasing access to scientific learning opportunities for Henrico residents. “Night Sky Astronomy” programs at Libbie Mill and Varina Libraries drew large and highly diverse crowds at little cost to the library system.

2018 NACo Achievement Award

Interactive Teen Displays

Awarded by the National Association of Counties

Teen programming in public libraries typically emphasizes group participation in scheduled events and provides opportunities for teens to socialize with their peers. As a result, introverted teens and teens who lack transportation may not have the same opportunities as their more sociable or mobile peers to engage with the library. To accommodate these teens through an engaging, passive program, librarians at Libbie Mill Library in Henrico, Virginia began creating monthly, interactive displays aiming to inform, entertain, and encourage teens to contribute and explore responses. Since June 2016, more than 3,300 teens have interacted with the displays which have covered a range of topics including: New Year’s Resolutions, Summer Reading, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Pride Month, and Earth Day. Librarians have found that the displays foster and strengthen relationships between teens, their peers, and library staff. The displays successfully engage teens with library services on their own schedule and on their own terms with the ultimate goal of inspiring teens to become lifelong library users.

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