All libraries will be closed Monday, May 29, in observance of Memorial Day.

Locations & Hours

Main Library

MON - THU 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
FRI & SAT 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
SUN 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.

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.

Summer Time

Posted May 22nd, 2017 in Uncategorized

readingIt’s one of my favorite times of the year – summer. Why, you may ask? Well . . . it’s summer! Time for barbecues, creeks, the whir of a fan, the first juicy bite of a perfectly sun-kissed tomato, walks in the cool woods. You know … all the things that remind you of how much fun it was when you were young, and summer was a great adventure. A time that was filled with exploration and excitement (and if you were like me – sleeping late).

There was also another part that I loved about summer – reading. If it was too hot to ride my bike or aggravate my brother, 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 another thing 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, firetrucks, amazing critters, bingo, programs from the Hands On! Regional Museum and painting. We’ve even got NASA. Our “It’s Rocket Science” program brings in staff from NASA’s Marshall Space Center via video conference to tell us the cool things they’re doing and answer questions.

We’ve got a teddy bear picnic, lots of movies and crafts and special programs for teens.

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.


We didn’t forget you. We’ve got excitement planned for you too. Instead of picking one signature book this year, we picked a series of books … Sharyn McCrumb’s Ballad novels. You can read any of them or something entirely different. We just want you to remember the joys of reading. Remember spelunking with Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher, hunting for treasure with Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver, solving mysteries with Nancy Drew? It’s time to go on new adventures with a young woman charged with murder and the tabloid-style reporting that accompanies her trial. How about Frankie Silver, a woman hanged for murder in 1832? Then there’s Tom Dooley … a tale of adultery and betrayal, that turns into a modern “Wuthering Heights.”

We’re going to focus on “The Songcatcher” by McCrumb. It’s got a kidnapping, service in two wars, homesteading and a search for a ballad passed down through the family. We picked it because Mountains of Music Homecoming is happening during Summer Reading, and it seemed like a wonderful synergy.

McCrumb is coming to talk about her Ballad novels, and Jack Hinshelwood is going to play the tunes from each book. It should be a great time – words and music. We expect a good crowd, so we’ve moved that event to Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church, June 25 at 3 p.m.

We’ve got book discussions scheduled at each library. You can talk about any of the Ballad novels you want.

Oh … we’ve also got prizes. Check out five items at a time, and you’ll be entered to win weekly drawings. The grand prize at the end of the program is the ever-popular Barter Theatre basket.

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

Trail Days Celebration

Posted May 10th, 2017 in Uncategorized

The Friendliest Little Library on the Trail, the Damascus branch library, created loads of special programs to celebrate Trail Days. We also offer lots of services that hikers and visitors appreciate.

Come and rest your weary feet on our welcoming front porch. You can use our high-speed Internet and charging stations. We have storage for your backpacks and bike racks. There’s also all the usual library services.

We have a rack of free paperbacks for hikers to borrow to take with them. Our Friends of the Library select books that will be easy to carry and interesting to read on the trail. We also offer backpacks for day hikers to borrow.

The library houses the town’s Visitor Center. Come visit us and get information about the area.

During Trail Days drop by the library and enjoy board games and adult coloring, sidewalk art, magazines and newspaper and Friends of the Library “Mini Book Sale.” The book sale takes place Saturday during library hours.

We’ve planned lots of special events to celebrate Trail Days.

Second Annual Movie Festival

We’ll show an outdoor adventure movie Monday through Thursday at 2 p.m. The schedule is:

Monday, May 15: “The Loneliest Planet.” An engaged couple’s backpacking trip in the Caucasus Mountains is derailed by a single misstep that threatens to undo everything the pair believed about each other and about themselves.

Tuesday, May 16: “Happy People.” A documentary depicting the life and work of the trappers of Bakhtia, a village in the heart of the Siberian Taiga, where daily life has changed little in over a century.

Wednesday, May 17: “Mile, Mile and a Half.” In an epic snow year, five friends leave their daily lives behind to hike California’s historic John Muir Trail, a 211-mile stretch from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney.

Thursday, May 18: “Trek.” Two trekkers are walking in the wild, one eager to discover, the other complaining about the greenness. A third trekker, seemingly lost, appears on the track and asks them for the intergalactic bus stop.

Movie schedule may change based on availability.

Special Programs

Thursday, May 18 at 6 p.m. “Salamanders of White Top Mountain” with Dr. Kevin Hamed. A biology professor at Virginia Highlands Community College, he’ll tell us about the various salamanders that can be found along the Appalachian Trail. His latest research involves pathogens in salamanders.

Friday, May 19 at 10 a.m. “The American Chestnut Foundation” with Eric Jenkins. Eric Jenkins from the American Chestnut Foundation leads a walk and talk about the efforts to preserve the American Chestnut.

The talk is from 10-11 a.m. Eric describes the role of the American Chestnut 100 years ago, its demise from blight and the restoration program. The talk concludes with an introduction of the Appalachian Trail MEGA-Transect Program, a collaborative effort organized by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., participants can see surviving American chestnuts. TACF volunteers will point out distinguishing tree characteristics and demonstrate how to report surviving trees as part of the MEGA-Transect Project. This information contributes to understanding the status of surviving trees and aiding in the development of blight-resistant trees. The training includes a three-mile walk to see American chestnuts along the Appalachian Trail.

Feel free to participate in both or one part of this event.

Friday, May 19 at 2 p.m. Takoma Tedd and his acoustic guitar.  Enjoy his ‘60s style acoustic rock.

Saturday, May 20 at 11 a.m. Foraging for Edibles with Ben Casteel. Ben Casteel from Virginia Highlands Community College enlightens us about edible plants – and he doesn’t mean your standard vegetables. We begin with a talk in the community room and then we move onto the Appalachian Trail. So wear some comfortable shoes.

On the hike, he’ll point out edible fungi, berries, etc. along the trail. He hopes to have samples to try.

Saturday, May 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Whittlers. Not up to going on the trail looking for treats? Stay at the library, where whittlers demonstrate their skills for you.

Come visit us during Trail Days. You’ll have fun, and we look forward to seeing you.

Henry McCarthy, Storytelling & Pat Conroy

Posted April 25th, 2017 in Uncategorized

Henry McCarthyHenry McCarthy speaks at the Washington County Public Library in Abingdon, Virginia, Sunday May 7 at 3 p.m. His topic is “Pat Conroy: The Power of Storytelling.”

Pat Conroy was a master of the art of storytelling. He used this venerable Southern tradition to entertain and attempt to explain the world. As Conroy said at his 70th birthday party, “I have written [my] books because I thought if I explained my own life somehow, I could explain some of your life to you.”

McCarthy of Winston Salem, N.C., will talk about the power of storytelling in Conroy’s work.

Book sales and signing as well as a reception follow the reading. The event is free and open to the public.

About the presenter:

McCarthy is a poet, former assistant dean of the college of education at Appalachian State University and the host of the radio program “Poets and Writers.” The show is broadcast by NPR affiliate WEHC (90.7 FM) at Emory & Henry College.

“Poets and Writers” focuses on the philosophy of poets and writers and features artists from Virginia, North Carolina and the surrounding regions.

McCarthy is also a guest actor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts film school. His latest book of poems is “Never Read a How To Book.”


For The Birds

Posted April 18th, 2017 in Uncategorized

Julie ZickefooseOur Sunday with Friends speaker, Julie Zickefoose, added a special treat for bird lovers to her visit to Abingdon – a Bird Walk on the Virginia Creeper Trail. What fun to get to go on a bird walk on a beautiful trail with a nature writer and wildlife illustrator.

If you want to join us  meet us at the trail head of the Virginia Creeper Trail in Abingdon. We’ll start the walk at 8 a.m.

For those of you who don’t go on walks or want to learn more, visit the main library in Abingdon, Sunday, April 23 at 3 p.m., when Zickefoose speaks. The talk is part of the “Sunday with Friends” literary series sponsored by the Friends of the Washington County Public Library.

About Julie Zickefoose

Zickefoose celebrates her new book, “Baby Birds:  An Artist Looks into the Nest.” Life-sized baby birds wriggle, crawl and flutter off the pages of this beautiful book, the product of 13 years of deep involvement and close observation of nesting birds.  The lively writing describes the development of 17 bird species from egg to fledgling, with wonder, humor and the relentless curiosity that Zickefoose is known for.

Zickefoose started off as an illustrator of natural history subjects. A six-year stint as a field biologist with The Nature Conservancy’s Connecticut Chapter proved a strong motivator to learn more about ecosystems and to go back to drawing. Along the way, she began to write her own essays, studded with observations of birds and animals, and writing crept into the forefront of her interests.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published her first book of illustrated essays, “Letters from Eden,” in 2006. “The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds” was Oprah’s Book of the Week in April 2012. It’s an amalgam of memoir, natural history watercolor paintings and life sketches.

Zickefoose had a five-year run contributing commentaries to National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered. Her natural history blog entertains around 30,000 visits per month.
Book sales and signing as well as a reception follow the reading. The event is free and open to the public.

Come join us.

National Library Week celebrated

Posted April 2nd, 2017 in Uncategorized

“Libraries Transform” is the theme for this year’s National Library Week April 9-15.


Beginning in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association and libraries across the country. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support.


The week promotes certain ideas about libraries. They are


  • Libraries are at the heart of our communities—a resource for people of any age to find what they need to help improve their quality of life.
  • Our society is at a critical juncture with regard to the changing information landscape and the skills needed to thrive in our digital world.
  • Libraries are evolving with these changes in order to serve the public and to continue to fulfill their role in leveling the playing field for all who seek information and access to technologies.
  • Libraries also are expanding beyond their traditional roles and providing more opportunities for community engagement and delivering new services that connect closely with patrons’ needs.
  • Library professionals facilitate individual opportunity and community progress.
  • Libraries are committed to advancing their legacy of reading and developing a digitally inclusive society.
  • Libraries add value in five key areas: education, employment, entrepreneurship, empowerment and engagement.

Our celebration

To celebrate, we’ll have special displays at all our locations. Each library will also be giving away one free Kindle Fire. To be entered to win a Kindle Fire, simply check out 10 items at one time.

We’ll be offering free coffee at the main library throughout the week and the Mendota branch library is offering coffee and cookies.

It’s also a fine free week. So if you’ve been waiting to return your overdue items, this is the week to do it! however, we are not waiving the fees and other charges for damaged or unreturned materials.



March Book Sale

Posted March 28th, 2017 in Uncategorized

Book SaleIt’s time for the Friends’ March Book Sale –  March 29 through Sunday, April 2.

The conference room is filled with book bargains galore! The Friends have been reviewing book donations for months to find the best books to include in the sale. (more…)

SEED: The Untold Story

Posted March 9th, 2017 in Uncategorized

Will Bonsall of Scattered Project sits outside his barn with a rare variety of corn that he saved from a dying neighbor in Maine. Courtesy of Collective Eye Films

The award-winning “SEED: The Untold Story” is shown at the Washington County Public Library, Abingdon, Virginia, Sunday, March 19 at 2 p.m. A discussion and seed swap follow the screening. The Washington County Seed Savers Library will be on hand for people to check out or return seeds. The event is free and open to the public.

Watch the Trailer here.

“SEED: The Untold Story” is an award-winning documentary about the dramatic loss of seed diversity and the future of our food. It comes from the filmmakers behind “Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?” The film features Vandana Shiva, Dr. Jane Goodall, Andrew Kimbrell and Winona LaDuke.

The directors say, “Our latest film, ‘SEED: The Untold Story’ began with an article in National Geographic reporting that up to 96 percent of the vegetable seeds available in 1903 have disappeared. Within moments we knew that was our next film. The speed and scope of this loss is staggering, and its implications for our future are stark. As the renowned naturalist and author Gary Paul Nabhan puts it, ‘Many of our seeds today are as endangered as a panda or polar bear.”’ In an era of climate uncertainty, this dearth of diversity is a recipe for catastrophic crop failure and human suffering– not unlike The Great Famine of Ireland that saw the starvation of nearly a million people when their sole crop variety, a potato, was wiped out by blight. ‘SEED’ explores a topic that is still largely unknown, yet it is increasingly urgent with climate change and the consolidation and control of the seed industry.”

This film has won 14 film festival awards nationally and internationally, including the Grand Jury Prize in the Nashville film festival. The Los Angeles Times says, “This is a gorgeously made film, put together with as much care as its subjects devote to saving the remaining varieties of seeds.”

The Village Voice describes the film as “a rare documentary from filmmakers who are not just capable but also in love with their craft. It’s a wonder of photography, animation and sound, and it’s a testament to its editors that the many interviews with activists and scientists are compelling and informative, sometimes even poetic.”

“SEED” is executive produced by Marisa Tomei, Marc Turtletaub (“Little Miss Sunshine”), and Phil Fairclough (“Grizzly Man,” “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”).

The Seed Savers Library is funded by the Raymon Grace Foundation.

Tales of food and culture at the Abingdon library

Posted February 21st, 2017 in Uncategorized

Friends of the Washington County Public Library in Abingdon, Virginia present Fred Sauceman as part of its Sunday with Friends literary series. He regales the audience with tales of food and culture Sunday, March 5 at 3 p.m. at the main library in Abingdon.

Sauceman, a native of Greeneville, Tennessee, is senior writer and associate professor of Appalachian Studies at East Tennessee State University, where he teaches a course entitled “The Foodways of Appalachia.” He also serves as news director for public radio station WETS-FM on the ETSU campus.

He and his wife Jill are regular contributors to Blue Ridge Country magazine, and he writes a regular column for “Smoky Mountain Living” magazine. In addition, he writes a monthly food column, “Potluck,” for the Johnson City Press and appears monthly during “Food with Fred” on WJHL-TV, the CBS affiliate in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Sauceman has written and edited seven food-related books including the three-volume series, “The Place Setting: Timeless Tastes of the Mountain South,” “From Bright Hope to Frog Level,” and “Buttermilk & Bible Burgers: More Stories from the Kitchens of Appalachia.” His next book, “The Proffitts of Ridgewood: An Appalachian Family’s Life in Barbecue,” will be published this fall. He is also the general editor of a forthcoming book series on Southern foodways.=

His work has appeared in “The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture,” “The Encyclopedia of Appalachia,” “Bluegrass Unlimited,” “The Encyclopedia of Alabama” and “CrossRoads: A Southern Culture Annual.” He is also a contributor to the journal Southern Cultures, published by the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In 2015, the Smithsonian and the National Museum of American History invited him to write an essay entitled “What Exactly Is Appalachian Cuisine?” for the project “What It Means to Be an American,” in partnership with Zócalo Public Square.

He has produced seven food-related documentary films, ranging in subject from red hot dogs to sorghum syrup. He is collaborating with students at East Tennessee State University on a series of short documentaries on ethnic food in Appalachia.

The talk is followed by a book sale and signing.

Nancy Johnson celebrated

Posted February 14th, 2017 in Uncategorized

Nancy JohnsonIn celebration of outstanding African Americans for Black History Month, the Glade Spring branch library recognizes Nancy Johnson, artist and invites you to meet this remarkable woman.

Nancy is a resident of Glade Spring, Virginia and is an artist and author. Her studio at The Arts Depot in Abingdon, Virginia, is where she creates colorful folk paintings that depict ethnic pride and a loving look at black American culture.

Nancy calls her presentation “Yes We Can.” She plans to talk about Martin Luther King Jr., the segregation she dealt with and her family history.

She will display some historical art and offer a few pieces of her own artwork for sale.

Free and open to the public. To read more about Nancy Johnson, visit the Washington County News.

About Nancy Johnson:

Nancy Helen Johnson grew up in Washington County, Virginia, near Emory, in what is known as the Blacksburg Community. She is the eighth child and a twin in a family of 11 children. She was raised by a physically-challenged mother who inspired her to become a nurse. Johnson graduated from the Holston Valley School of Nursing and embarked on a 17-year career in the nursing profession.

She is married to Willie Nathaniel Johnson, and they have one son, Bryant. They are the proud grandparents of three grandchildren.

Johnson is a self-taught artist who began painting in 1989. “Encouragement from my family and friends has given me what I need to make my dreams of being an artist become a reality” she says. She has a very definite philosophy about her work. She believes that art is a vision of the mind – not of the hands.

Folk Art is Johnson’s forte and her studio is overflowing with bright, vivid colored paintings in this style. An original artist, she always adds her own touches to her mixed media art. She sometimes adds flowers, butterflies and even pasta to her creations. She says she likes to use her artist hands to convey deep meaning with rich value and expression.

She takes joy in being a Depot Artist. She tells her childhood stories to the people who visit her studio and hopes that through art she is able to make a difference in someone’s life.

She says she uses art to depict the beauty and strength of the black culture. She wants to pass this on to the next generation and let them know how important these values are to people of color.

Besides being an artist, she has written two books. In her first book, “The Right Prescription,” she shares with readers her experiences as a nurse. In her latest book, “Raised by Flesh, Wood and Plastic,” she honors her mother, Carrie Lena Howard Hill, by telling the story of her life. Her mother lost her leg at age 12. Though faces with many challenges, Carrie Hill lived her life to the fullest. With little money and excruciating paint, she juggled the care of her home, husband, 11 children and a job. Her story will touch and inspire you.

Belle Boggs comes to main library

Posted February 2nd, 2017 in Uncategorized

Belle BoggsThe annual Sunday with Friends literary series at the Washington County Public Library, Abingdon, Virginia, continues with a talk from Belle Boggs, Feb. 12 at 3 p.m. The series is sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

Boggs, an acclaimed young Southern writer, talks about her life in writing. “Mattaponi Queen,” her 2010 collection of inter-related short stories, is a portrait of a Native American community on the Mattaponi River in eastern Virginia.

Her new work, “The Art of Waiting,” is contemplation about fertility and the many choices involved in making a life and family. As she contemplates her realization that she might never be able to conceive, she ranges widely in her thoughts about the natural world, literature and contemporary film, as well as telling stories of couples struggling with fertility issues.

“Mattaponi Queen” won the Bakeless Prize and the Library of Virginia Literary Award for fiction, was short-listed for the 2010 Frank O’Connor Short Story Award, was one of Kirkus Reviews top fiction debuts for 2010, was long-listed for The Story Prize, and was a finalist for the Library of Virginia People’s Choice Award for fiction.

Boggs’ fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Paris Review, Orion, Harper’s, Glimmer Train, Ecotone, the Sun and the Oxford American, among other publications.

A book signing and sale follow the talk.  All proceeds from the book sales benefit the Friends of the Library.

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