Locations & Hours

Main Library

MON - THU 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
FRI 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
SAT 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
SUN closed

Damascus Library

MON, WED, FRI 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
TUE & THU 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
SAT 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
SUN closed

Glade Spring Library

MON closed
TUE & THU 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
WED & FRI 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
SAT 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
SUN closed

Hayters Gap Library

MON closed
TUE & THU 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
WED & FRI 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
SAT 9am - 1 p.m.
SUN closed

Mendota Library

MON closed
TUE - THU 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
FRI closed
SAT 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
SUN closed

Summer Reading is coming

Posted May 22nd, 2018 in Uncategorized

little girl readingIt’s one of my favorite times of the year – summer. It’s time for barbecues, creeks, the whir of a fan, the first juicy bite of a perfect sun-kissed tomato, walks in the cool woods. All the things that remind you of when you were young and summer was a great adventure.

There was also another part that I loved about summer – reading. When the heat and humidity got too much, it was time to take my book into the shade or up a tree, curl up and see where it would take me.

That’s one of the things we love about summer – our Summer Reading Programs. We have two: one for children and one for adults.

Kids and Teens

We’ve planned six weeks of fun programs for kids filled with magic, storytelling, animals,Bingo and even live theater. Bright Star Theatre brings its production of “Alice in Wonderland” to all our library locations. We’re really looking forward to going down the rabbit hole with Alice and the other characters in Wonderland.

We have movies, crafts, Lego, STEM programs and more.

We have special teen only programs at the main library and Glade Spring branch library. The main library offers teen crafts. The Glade Spring branch library offers teens only movies and teen crafts.

We have weekly prizes for teens and kids. We’re also giving away bicycles. Kids bring their book logs to the library, and they’re entered. We’re doing the drawing at the end of the six weeks. Maybe you’ll be the winner of a bicycle to take on long summer rides.

Kids just need to visit their local library and register. They’ll get an overdue fine forgiveness card, a tote bag, and we’ll show them how to fill out their book logs. A complete schedule of events can be found here.

Teens compete in weekly activities and are entered to win gift cards for movie tickets, music downloads and more.

Join us this summer and share the excitement of a good book.


Trail Days Celebration

Posted May 10th, 2018 in Uncategorized

front of Damascus libraryThe Friendliest Little Library on the Trail (our Damascus branch library) joins the Trail Days Celebration in Damascus, May 18-20.

Visitors to the library can relax on the front porch, go into the visitor center or inside where it’s cool. The branch offers high-speed Internet, charging stations, computers and all the usual library amenities.

They also have bike racks and free paperbacks for hikers. The paperbacks are provided by the Friends of the Library are small and easily transportable.

Special programs are planned for Trail Days.

They’ll have board games (including Catan, a board game quest), coloring pages, sidewalk art and trivia with hikers.

The third annual movie festival runs from Monday through Thursday at 2 p.m. We’ll watch movies on the big screen and enjoy free refreshments. Movies include “Appalachian Trail,” “Sustainable,” “Backcountry,” “Footprints: The Path of your Life,” “Wolfpack” and a surprise classic. Viewers decide which movie to watch each day.

Thursday, May 19 at 6 p.m., Dr. Hamed, professor of biology at Virginia Highlands Community College, will discuss Salamanders of White Top Mountain.

Hiker crafts are available all day Friday, May 18.

Ben Casteel returns Saturday, May 20 at 11 a.m. for his popular Foraging for Edibles on the Trail program. Ben, a horticulture instructor, explains which plants on the trail are edible and how to find them. The event begins with instruction, which is followed by a hike.

Come sit a spell with us during Trail Days and discover why hikers call the Damascus branch library, the Friendliest Little Library on the Trail.

We thank the Friends of the Library for their sponsorship of these special programs.

Sunday with Friends videos

Posted May 2nd, 2018 in Uncategorized

movie reelOur Sunday with Friends literary series celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. A Friends of the Library sponsored author series began in 1998, although it didn’t get a name until 2000. For several years, we have tried to ensure that we caught speakers on video, but for the 20th anniversary we made a special effort.

If you’ve missed a Sunday with Friends or would like to hear a favorite writer again, you can visit the Sunday with Friends page or click here.

Those aren’t the only videos of library events we offer.  Check out our YouTube channel’s variety of videos. Some are from Sunday with Friends, some were created by teens at the Glade Spring library, some are from other programs such as Donnamarie talking about planting by the signs.

There is a video of Charles Vess when he spoke about working with Ursula K. Le Guin. There’s video of Ann Patchett and Barbara Kingsolver from a fundraising event they were kind enough to do for the Friends of the Library. Frances Mayes, author of “Under the Tuscan Sky,” was here, and her talk is also on our YouTube channel. There are short videos from The Big Read kick-off celebrations and other little gems.

There are some adorable clips of children’s programs, including performances from The Barter Players, who are kind enough to visit story time.

Upcoming Writer Visits

In June, our Sunday with Friends series has a special Saturday with Friends at 3 p.m., June 30. Silas House is coming to talk about his new book, “Southernmost.” In the book, a flood washes away much of a small community along the Cumberland River in Tennessee, Asher Sharp, an evangelical preacher there, starts to see his life anew. He has already lost a brother due to his inability to embrace his brother’s coming out of the closet. Now, in the aftermath of the flood, he tries to offer shelter to two gay men, but he’s met with resistance by his wife. Furious about her prejudice, Asher delivers a sermon where he passionately defends the right of gay people to exist without condemnation.

In the heated battle that ensues, Asher loses his job, his wife, and custody of his son, Justin. As Asher worries over what will become of the boy, whom his wife is determined to control, he decides to kidnap Justin and take him to Key West, where he suspects that his estranged brother is now living. It’s there that Asher and Justin see a new way of thinking and loving.

Adriana Trigiani is coming for a fundraiser for the Friends of the Library July 26. It will be held at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center beginning at 6 p.m. Adriana and her sister Mary talk about their cookbook.  We’ll enjoy a lovely meal based on recipes from their cookbook. There are two ticket options. Tickets for the dinner, music and talk are $50. If you’d like to attend the VIP reception which adds a cocktail party, meet and greet, photo opportunities and reserved seating at the dinner, tickets are $100. More details will be available soon.

Charles Vess will be back in October and there may be a couple of surprises still coming.

In the meantime, check out the videos.

Wiley Cash speaks at library

Posted April 17th, 2018 in Uncategorized

Wiley CashSunday with Friends hosts Wiley Cash April 29 at 3 p.m., at the main library in Abingdon, Virginia.

New York Times bestselling writer, Cash is an acclaimed young Appalachian novelist celebrating the publication of his third novel, ”The Last Ballad.” Set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events, the book chronicles a single mother’s desperate struggle for her rights in a textile mill. Lyrical, heartbreaking and haunting, it is a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression.

Christine Baker Kline, the author of “Orphan Train,’’ said, “Lives are changed in this intimate and yet expansive novel about a real-life 1929 North Carolina mill strike. With subtlety and insight, Wiley Cash reveals the dignity and humanity of people asking for a fair shot in an unfair world. Fraught with the turmoil of social change, ‘The Last Ballad’ moves inexorably toward a devastating moment of reckoning. A timely and topical portrait of a community in crisis.”

Lee Smith has said that the book is amazingly relevant for today’s world, when workers’ rights are besieged as they haven’t been since the Great Depression.

Cash is a writer-in-residence at UNC-Asheville and is the author of two earlier novels, “A Land More Kind Than Home” and “The Dark Road of Mercy.”

A reception and book sale follow the presentation.


“Permanent” director visits Abingdon

Posted March 15th, 2018 in Uncategorized

We’re doing something a little different for our next Sunday with Friends event. The Friends of the Library have partnered with the Arts Array cultural outreach series at Virginia Highlands Community College for a special series of events.

Colette Burson, the Abingdon native who is the director of “Permanent,” visits and participates in a number of public discussions about her film career and the making of “Permanent.” We suggest that you come and listen to one of her talks and then see the movie.


Sunday, April 8: Burson is our Sunday with Friends speaker at the main library in Abingdon at 3 p.m.

Monday, April 9: She speaks at Virginia Highlands Community College in room ISC 130 at 1 p.m.

Film plus discussion

Monday, April 9: “Permanent” is shown at the Abingdon Cinemall at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., as part of the Arts Array. Burson conducts a question and answer session after each movie.

Admission is free for all students and staff members of VHCC, Emory & Henry College, King University and Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, including participants in the College of Older Adults who purchase an Arts Array pass. Community admission is $7.75.

About the film

The film is based on Burson’s memories of growing up in Abingdon. It stars Academy-Award winner Patricia Arquette, Rainn Wilson and Kira McLean. In the 1980s, “perms” are all the rage, and 13-year-old Aurelie dreams about getting one to finally fit into her new school. However, when her clueless parents take her to a hairdressing academy to save a few dollars, things go incredibly wrong.

The film is about adolescence, socially awkward family members, and “bad hair.” Burson is the award-winning writer/director of the HBO series, “Hung,” which ran for three seasons, as well as an earlier feature film, “Coming Soon.”


Environmental writers speak at main library

Posted March 1st, 2018 in Uncategorized

Our next Sunday with Friends speakers are environmental writers Janisse Ray and Holly Haworth. They read from their latest works Sunday March 11 at 3 p.m., in conference room of the main library in Abingdon.

We invite you to come and listen to their tales of longleaf pines, fossils, family and long train rides.

About Janisse Ray

Writer, naturalist and activist Janisse Ray is author of six books. She holds an MFA from the University of Montana, and has been awarded two honorary doctorates, one from Unity College in Maine and the other from LaGrange College in Georgia. In 2015 she was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame. Her work has been translated and published in France and Turkey. She lives in rural southern Georgia.

Her first book of creative nonfiction rocketed Ray onto the literary scene. “Ecology of a Cracker Childhood,” a memoir about growing up on a junkyard in the ruined longleaf pine ecosystem of the Southeast, was published by Milkweed Editions in 1999. Besides being a plea to protect and restore the glorious pine flatwoods of the South, the book looks hard at family, mental illness, poverty and fundamentalist religion. Essayist Wendell Berry called the book “well done and deeply moving.” Anne Raver of The New York Times said of Janisse Ray, “The forests of the South find their Rachel Carson.” 

Ray has won many awards, including a Southern Booksellers Award for Poetry 2011, Southeastern Booksellers Award for Nonfiction 1999, an American Book Award 2000, the Southern Environmental Law Center 2000 Award for Outstanding Writing, and a Southern Book Critics Circle Award 2000. ” Ecology of a Cracker Childhood” was a New York Times Notable Book and was chosen as the Book All Georgians Should Read. “The Seed Undergound” won the Nautilus Gold Book Award Better Books for a Better World in the Green Living category 2013, American Horticultural Society Book Award 2013, American Society of Journalists & Authors Arlene Eisenberg Award for Writing that Makes a Difference 2013, Garden Writers Association Gold Award of Achievement for Best Book Writing 2013, and Green Prize for Sustainable Literature Award.

About Holly Haworth

Haworth’s writing brings nature to life in your imagination. You may never have seen a Tennessee pigtoe mussel, but reading ” Its nacre—the interior layer—was the white of a winter sky, distant light gathering behind thick cumulus,” creates a vivid picture.

Haworth is a Tennessee native, who teaches at the Blue Mountain School in Floyd, Virginia. She is a writer and reporter based in Southwest Virginia, where she lives along the West Fork of the Little River. She grew up in Boyd’s Creek, Tennessee, home of her great-great-great-great grandfather.

Her work appears in Lapham’s Quarterly, the Oxford American, Orion, Virginia Quarterly Review, Parabola, Earth Island Journal, Paste, Still: The Journal, Flycatcher, the On Being radio program blog, and Terrain.org, among other places.

She has written essays and reported on the harvest of mescal agave, mycelium networks, mushroom foraging, urban watersheds, root-digging and medicinal plants, the timber, gas and coal-mining industries, coal ash spills and coal ash dumps, the detriments of artificial night lighting, ancient fossils, extinction, public art, native freshwater mussels, cricket song, music and sound and long train rides.

She is a recipient of the Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Journalism, the Russell Fellowship at Utah State University, the Thomas J. Lyons Fellowship from the Western Literature Association, and the Jackson Fellowship at Hollins University, where she received her MFA.


Winter Reading Challenge

Posted January 24th, 2018 in Uncategorized

FireplaceWhen you’re curled up under a blanket, reading a book, trying to get through the shortest month of the year, we have a challenge for you. Try our new reading challenge.

Starting Feb. 1, adult readers are encouraged to pick up a Book Bingo card at any library location. Completed Book Bingo cards that are returned by Feb. 28 can be exchanged for a fine forgiveness card and are entered for a chance to win a WCPL gift bag filled with prizes for readers.

To complete a Book Bingo card, you must read any five books between Feb. 1 and Feb. 28. The Book Bingo card has suggestions, but any book is accepted. List the books you’ve read on your card and turn it in at any WCPL location. Some categories suggested on the Book Bingo card are “read an old favorite for the second time,”” read a book from your childhood,” “read the first book in a series” and more.

The library’s staff is happy to provide reading suggestions.


Sunday with Friends

Posted January 15th, 2018 in Uncategorized

Wow. It’s hard to believe that Sunday with Friends celebrates 20 years this year.

Back in 1998, the Friends of the Library started a literary series. Their first speaker was Richard Foil who talked about his book “Cumbow China of Abingdon, Virginia.” In 2000, they Friends gave the literary series the name, Sunday with Friends.

We are so grateful that our Friends have continued this series throughout the years. It’s awe-inspiring what volunteers can accomplish. Ben Jennings has taken on most of the responsibilities for organizing the event. We thank him from the bottom of our hearts.

This year’s line-up of speakers begins Jan. 21 with photojournalist Earl Carter. He’ll talk about his 40 year career and share photographs from his career.

Earl CarterEarl Carter

Carter has published a retrospective of his 40-year career, “Appalachian Album.” Although he has worked at newspapers in Miami, Florida, and Huntsville, Alabama, he spent most of his career as the chief photographer at the Kingsport Times News. He has provided images to publications and television networks. Carter lectures about his career and shows some of the 224 photographs that document the people and events in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee during the last half-century: early images of the Carter Fold, June and Johnny Cash, coal country life, floods and natural disasters, and the everyday lives of people.

Joe Reiff

Joe Reiff speaks Feb. 11. Professor of religion at Emory & Henry College, his book, “Born of Conviction: White Methodists and Mississippi’s Closed Society,” focuses on the response of the white Mississippi Methodists to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Twenty-eight ministers signed a statement of their convictions, based on Jesus’s teachings to permit “no discrimination of race, color, or creed,” in an attempt to lead white Methodists to work for racial justice. The book documents the failures of the group, but also their successes, as the Deep South’s massive resistance to segregation began to crack. The book received the 2016 Nonfiction Award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters.

Stephen Jett

Stephen Jett brings the past to life Feb. 25. Retired professor of geography from University of California, Davis, he has written a new book, “Ancient Ocean Crossings: Reconsidering the Case of Contacts with the Pre-Columbian Americas.” It paints a compelling picture of pre-Columbian cultures and Old World civilizations that, contrary to popular belief, were not isolated from one another. Jett suggests that many ancient peoples had both the seafaring capabilities and the motives to cross the oceans, and, in fact, did so repeatedly and with great impact. The book synthesizes ideas from archaeology, geography, linguistics, climatology, oceanology and history of navigation to make his compelling case. Jett has also published several books on Navaho architecture, place-names and culture.

Janisse Ray

Janisse Ray returns to the series March 11. Ray is one of America’s finest environmental writers and reads from new work, sharing the podium with her friend Holly Haworth. She is the author of the memoir “Ecology of a Cracker Childhood” and several volumes of non-fiction. This spring she is the Louis Rubin Visiting Writer at Hollins University. Ray writes about longleaf pines, rural community, seeds, climate, bogs and healing. Haworth is an East Tennessee native. Her works have appeared in the Oxford American, Orion and the Virginia Quarterly Review. She has reported on mushroom foraging, ancient fossils, native mussels, cricket song and long-distance train rides. She received the Middlebury Fellowship in environmental journalism.

Colette Burson

Colette Burson talks about her new film April 8. Burson is an Abingdon native who made a feature film, “Permanent,” based on her memories of growing up in Abingdon. The film stars Academy-Award winner Patricia Arquette, Rainn Wilson and Kira McLean. It’s the 1980s, “perms” are all the rage, and 13-year-old Aurelie dreams about getting one to fit into her new school. However, when her clueless parents take her to a hairdressing academy to save a few dollars, things go incredibly wrong. The film is about adolescence, socially awkward family members, and “bad hair.” Burson is the award-winning writer/director of the HBO series, “Hung,” which ran for three seasons, as well as an earlier feature film, “Coming Soon.”


Wiley Cash

Wiley Cash speaks April 29. Cash is one of the most acclaimed of young Appalachian writers. His new novel is ”The Last Ballad.” Set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events, the book chronicles a single mother’s desperate struggle for her rights in a textile mill. Lyrical, heartbreaking and haunting, it is a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression. Lee Smith said that the book is amazingly relevant for today’s world, when workers’ rights are besieged, as they haven’t been since the Great Depression. Cash is a writer-in-residence at UNC-Asheville and is the author of two earlier novels, “A Land More Kind Than Home” and “The Dark Road of Mercy.”

Rita Quillen

Rita Quillen and other poets join in a celebration of regional poetry May 20. Quillen is one of the region’s finest poets, Her new volume, “The Mad Farmer’s Wife,” is a response to a life lived on a mountain cattle farm in Southwest Virginia and also to a poetic persona created by noted Kentucky poet and essayist Wendell Berry more than 30 years ago: the Mad Farmer. In a world increasingly detached from the land that supplies all our essential resources, Quillen’s poetry tries to help us understand the complexity and challenge of living a rural life in today’s economy and the dark life-and-death struggles that are a routine part of farm living. She is joined at this event by other poets from the Appalachian Center for Poets and Writers.

The events include receptions, book sales and signings.

It’s the holidays

Posted December 12th, 2017 in Uncategorized

Stylized Christmas treeWhew. If you are as swamped as some of us are with preparing for the holidays, you have our sympathies. And, we have some things that just might help make your life a little easier.

Come check out our displays of helpful holiday books. We can help you find new scrumptious tidbits for your holiday party or family get together. If you’re in a rut with your holiday decorations, we have helpful hints for that.

Do you need a break and something to help you get into the holiday spirit? The Friends of the Library have a wonderful present for the community – John Hardy is performing his one-man show “A Christmas Carol.” Join us Sunday, Dec. 17 at 3 p.m., at the Abingdon Community Center and watch John bring more than 40 characters to life. His show is a faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens’ book, and he’s wonderful.

We’re also showing a Christmas movie at the main library. Visit us Friday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m., and check out “It Happened on Fifth Avenue.” The Damascus branch library offers a movie Wednesday, Dec. 20 at noon.

The Hayters Gap branch library offers a Gift Wrapping workshop Tuesday, Dec. 19 from 4:30 -6:30 p.m. Come get some tips on how to make your packages look beautiful.

If you’d prefer a time to just sit and enjoy an activity with friends and family and want to get out of the house for a while. Come to the Damascus branch library Dec. 19 from 4-6 p.m., and play a board game.

If you’d like to help others during this season, drop food donations at any of our libraries – particularly peanut butter. We’ll forgive your fines if you do.

We hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday season. We’ll be closed Dec. 24 and Dec. 25, so be sure to visit us before then and stock up.


Happy Thanksgiving

Posted November 21st, 2017 in Uncategorized

Happy ThanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving! We hope it is filled with family and friends and all the things that you are thankful for.

We’re thankful for all of you.  So many of you make us a part of your lives and allow us to share your joys and woes. You visit and genuinely want to know how we are. That connection is special to all of us, and we wanted you to know that we cherish it.

We’re also thankful for the Friends of the Library. Their support helps us bring speakers and programs to the libraries that we couldn’t provide without them. They help us keep up to date on our training, and their smiles bring us joy.

There’s another group that helps make sure that we can provide programs and services to you – our library foundation and our donors. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to buy new furniture, provide e-books, attend conferences, and much more. We thank all of you and wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

We will be closed Thursday and Friday, so that we can spend time with our families and friends. We’ll probably overeat and complain about it. Some of us will watch football, and some of us will read a book. (I know that’s a surprise.) Some of us will catch up on our sleep. Whatever we do, we’ll try to take time to reflect on the things that make us thankful and take a moment to be grateful.

We hope you have the most wonderful Thanksgiving and that you take a moment to look around and rediscover the things that you’re grateful for and the things that make you happy. When we see you next, we hope you’ll have a smile on your face. We’ll try to have one too.


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