All libraries will be closed Monday, May 27 for the Memorial Day holiday.

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

Trail Days celebration

Posted May 5th, 2019 in Uncategorized

exterior of Damascus libraryThe Friendliest Little Library on the Trail, the Damascus branch library, welcomes hikers and others to Trail Days. Every day of the year, the library provides high-speed Internet to hikers. It also provides a comfortable porch and chairs and a place to store backpacks. The Friends of the Library also keep a rack of free paperback books to take on the trail. Its Visitor Center provides information about local attractions for those who want to take a short break from their hike.

During Trail Days, they develop a variety of events for hikers and celebrants.

This year, the events include movies shown at 2 p.m. from May 13-18.

Kevin Hamed visits the library May 16 at 6 p.m. Hamed is a biology professor at Virginia Highlands Community College and a certified wildlife biologist. He’ll talk about the Eastern Hellbender salamander. Hamed’s research has included the life history of the Tennessee dace, the distraction of the least weasel in Tennessee and the impact of bottle and can litter along forest service roads on small mammals. He and his students are currently studying Southern Appalachian amphibians.

Craft Day is held May 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drop by any time and enjoy one of the projects. Learn to smudge with safe, engage in some Zen coloring or bracelet making. There are even more projects.

At 11 a.m., May 18, Ben Casteel brings his popular Foraging for Edibles program back to the library. He’ll explain which plants on the trail are edible and how to find them. The event begins with instruction and is followed by a hike.


Poetry Celebration

Posted April 16th, 2019 in Uncategorized

Edison Jennings headlines our Sunday with Friends regional poetry celebration April 28 at 3 p.m.

While he has three chapbooks and his poetry has been published in various journals, he still remembers the first poem he ever wrote.

The python’s manners are quite crude.
It squeezes its prey and gulps its food.

Edison Jennings says he was “6, maybe 7, when I wrote that masterpiece. I wrote it just to entertain myself and maybe show off to my parents. They weren’t all that impressed.”

Their initial reaction to his childhood poem didn’t stop Jennings from continuing to express himself and search for meaning through his poetry.

At the poetry celebration, he reads from his two latest chapbooks “A Letter to Greta” and “Small Measures.” He also shares selections from his first chapbook, “Reckoning.” He is joined by regional poets from the Appalachian Center for Poets and Writers including Warren Harris, Rees Shearer, Delilah O’Haynes and Deborah Meacham Ledford.

Jennings earned a Bachelor of Arts while serving on active duty as an enlisted air crewman in the U.S. Navy. After military service, he completed a Master of Fine Arts at the Warren Wilson Program for Writers, Swannanoa, North Carolina. He lives in Abingdon, Virginia. His poems have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, including “Boulevard,” “Kenyon Review,” “Rattle,” “Slate,” “Southern Review,” “Southwest Review,” “Triquarterly,” “Valparaiso Poetry Review” and “Zone 3.”

Highlands Writers Fair

Posted April 8th, 2019 in Uncategorized

We’re excited about our new event. We’ve partnered with the Virginia Highlands Festival to create the Highlands Writers Fair. It’s held at the main library April 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We have a fabulous group of writers coming to the library. They’ll be at tables throughout the library selling and signing their books.

We’re also hosting several workshops about writing and publishing your creations.

You’ll also get the chance to hear the winning entries from the Virginia Highlands Festival’s Book Evolution contest. Last year the VHF sponsored a contest where area youth wrote, illustrated and produced a book. The VHC chose three winners and printed the books. Amanda Bailey will read the winning stories and present the finished books to the winners.

Writers include:

Joy Behymer, Robert TR Bradford, Elizabeth Champagne, Hazel Fleming, Victoria Fletcher, Deborah Gold, Sharon Griffith, Bekah Harris, Leanne Hinkle (Leanne Tyler), Linda Hoagland, Rose Klix, Gayle Leeson, Damean Mathews, Alex McGlothlin, Rita Quillen, JC Schweingrouber, Stephen Semones, Kathy Shearer, Daniel Swanson, Charles Vess and Wendy Welch.

Workshops include:

The Writers Fair offers a series of free workshops on publishing for both aspiring and seasoned writers.

Linda Hoagland helps writers polish their craft with an interactive workshop.

A panel of local publishers discuss the options to bring a book to print and how to start that journey.

Internationally renowned illustrator Charles Vess discusses his book illustration career.


Hal Crowther speaks in Abingdon

Posted April 1st, 2019 in Uncategorized

Hal Crowther, the celebrated essayist, speaks Sunday, April 7, at 3 p.m., at the Washington County Public Library, Abingdon, Virginia.  His appearance is part of the annual “Sunday with Friends” series of literary events.

Crowther’s new book, “Freedom Fighters and Hell Raisers,” is a collection of profiles of some of the best and brightest of a recently departed generation of Southerners.

The title comes from something Molly Ivins wrote, “I don’t have children, so I’ve decided to claim all the future freedom-fighters and hell-raisers as my kin.” Ivins is one of the hell raisers profiled in this collection, along with James Dickey, John Hope Franklin, Doc Watson, Judy Bonds and others.

Novelist Richard Ford said, “Crowther’s astute and affecting portraits make me think there might be something in the South worth preserving, after all.  What he’s so very, very masterful at – and no easy trick – is describing ‘goodness’ itself, and making it plausible.”

Crowther’s social and political commentary is published in national and regional outlets, from Time to the Atlanta Constitution, to the Oxford American. He is the author of four other collections of essays, including “An Infuriating American” and “Cathedral of Kudzu.” He was a finalist for the Magazine Award and for the National Book Critics Circle prize for criticism and for nonfiction.

He is the husband of the beloved Appalachian writer, Lee Smith, and they live in Hillsborough, North Carolina.

The Friends of the Washington County Public Library sponsor the “Sunday with Friends” literary series. All events are free and open to the public. They include receptions, book sales and signings. Credit cards are accepted.

Frances Mayes comes to Sunday with Friends

Posted March 20th, 2019 in Uncategorized

The international best-selling author Frances Mayes gives an illustrated talk about her new book “See You in the Piazza” Sunday, March 31, at 3 p.m. at the Washington County Public Library, Abingdon, Virginia.  The event is part of the annual Sunday with Friends literary series. It is free and open to the public.

Many people just know of the iconic places in Italy such as the Roman Coliseum and the leaning Tower of Pisa.  But such landmarks only scratch the surface of this country’s offerings.  “See You in the Piazza” is a travel narrative that crisscrosses Italy, discovering the hidden secrets, the enchantment of the backstreets, and the hubbub of the markets where tourists rarely go. An additional pleasure is finding new recipes that celebrate Italian cuisine.

Mayes is the author of a trilogy of memoirs about moving to Tuscany and restoring an old villa Bramasole: “Under the Tuscan Sun,” “Bella Tuscany” and “Every Day in Tuscany.”   She has published two photo-texts, “In Tuscany” and” Bringing Tuscany Home: Sensuous Style from the Heart of Italy.”  All five highly personal books are about taking chances, living in Italy, loving and renovating an old Italian villa, the pleasures of food, wine, gardens, and the “voluptuousness of Italian life.” The books are translated into more than 40 languages.

In recent years Mayes has also published a novel “Swan,” a mystery and family saga set in South Georgia, and “Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir.”

Mayes is a graduate of Randolph-Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia, and the University of Florida. A widely published poet and essayist, Mayes has also written numerous books of poetry, and her text The Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems” is widely used in college poetry classes. She was formerly a professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University, where she directed The Poetry Center and chaired the Department of Creative Writing. Mayes now devotes herself full time to writing.

She and her husband divide their time between Hillsborough, North Carolina, and Tuscany.

There will be a reception as well as book sales and signings after the event.

Robert Gipe is next Sunday with Friends speaker

Posted March 7th, 2019 in Uncategorized

Robert Gipe speaks in Abingdon, Virginia, March 10 at 3 p.m., as part of the “Sunday with Friends” literary series sponsored by the Friends of the Washington County Public Library. The talk is held at the Washington County Public Library.

Gipe is the author of “Weedeater: An Illustrated Novel,” a sequel to his celebrated first novel, “Trampoline,” which won the Weatherford Prize in 2015 for the best Appalachian novel of the year.  Set in contemporary Kentucky, it returns to the character Dawn Jewell, now the center of her family, who is searching for lost family members, her lost youth, her lost community and her lost heart in the most turbulent and deadly phase of the community’s battle with opioid abuse and the last stages of the coal industry.

Gipe says, “The world of my novel ‘Weedeater’ is as steep as the hillside out the window. I tried to make that world as vivid as the world I live in.  In the place I live, cars get wrecked.  Relationships go sour.  Jobs disappear.  People get grouchy. People keep going.  They shoot off fireworks.  They go to the lake to fish, in boats big and little.  They go to stock car races in motor homes.  They go to church in pickup trucks.  They ride around on four-wheelers to be alone with their beloved or to hunt for ginseng, or just to feel their hair blow in the wind.”

Gipe is a native of Kingsport, Tennessee. He is the director of the Appalachian Program at Southeast Community and Technical College in Cumberland, Kentucky, where he is involved with an oral history-based theater project, “Higher Ground.”

Remaining speakers in the series include Frances Mayes, Hal Crowther, Edison Jennings and other poets, and Elizabeth Catte.

The Friends of the Washington County Public Library sponsor the “Sunday with Friends” literary series. All events are free and open to the public. They include receptions, book sales and signings. Credit cards are accepted. For more information, call 276-676-6298 or visit


Sunday with Friends: Mark Powell

Posted February 19th, 2019 in Uncategorized

Sunday with Friends hosts Mark Powell, author of “Small Treasons,” Sunday, Feb. 24 at 3 p.m.

Please note: This event is held at the Community Center of Abingdon NOT at the main library. The event was moved because of the renovations at the library.

About the book:

Powell brings his acclaimed eye to an American marriage on the verge of rupture, spinning an all-too-current tale of the world we live in and the world we fear—and how we may not be able to tell the two apart.

Tess Maynard is coming apart. At home with her three young children in her husband’s Georgia hometown, people keep asking if she’s depressed, if she and John are okay.

Secretly, she’s becoming obsessed with the war on terror—an ISIS beheading video in particular. Something about the victim’s captivity on the computer screen resonates with her. Something inside of her demands endless prayers for a world gone mad.

The carefully constructed life of her husband is likewise beginning to unravel. Now a college counselor, John’s former life bears persistently into the present. Once a contractor at a CIA black site that interrogated suspected terrorists—and one innocent civilian—he is given a choice by the Justice Department: either help with a problem in the homeland, or they investigate.

Forced by an old colleague to spy on a new one, John’s experiences abroad come home to roost in Georgia. For his wife, for his family, he goes along with the game. But just as he and Tess work to salvage their life together, the world comes between them in the form of a young man slowly being radicalized by the professor John is reporting on.

In a moment Tess imagined and never wanted to see, the intersection of their three lives is as devastating as the bomber’s explosion of hate and metal, and as inevitable as the battle between powers great and personal.

About the author:

Powell’s work includes “Prodigals,” “Blood Kin,” “The Dark Corner,” “The Sheltering” and “Small Treasons.”

He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, Sewanee Writers’ Conference and in 2014 was a Fulbright Fellow to Slovakia.

In 2009, he received the Chaffin Award for contributions to Appalachian literature. He holds degrees from Yale Divinity School, the University of South Carolina and the Citadel. He teaches creative writing and contemporary fiction at Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina.

Sunday with Friends: Bill Sizemore

Posted February 13th, 2019 in Uncategorized

Sunday with Friends hosts Bill Sizemore, author of “Uncle George and Me: Two Southern Families Confront a Shared Legacy of Slavery.”

Please note: This event is held at the Community Center of Abingdon NOT at the main library. The event was moved because of the renovations at the library.

Journalist and author Sizemore spent eight years researching and writing the story of his slave-owning Virginia ancestors, their slaves, and the descendants of those slaves.

His great-great-great-grandfather was a small-time tobacco farmer in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. In contrast to large planters with hundreds of slaves, he was far more typical: He owned fewer than 20. The book traces the lives of generations of African-Americans who descended from his slaves, up to the present day. In microcosm, it is the story of Virginia and the South from the slavery era through the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Great Migration, the civil rights era, and the continued racial disparities of our time.

Thousands – if not millions – of American families on both sides of the color line spring from similar roots, but theirs is a seldom told story – perhaps due to a sort of self-induced amnesia, a defense mechanism to avoid confronting a painful past.

This book is an attempt to overcome that amnesia and thereby stimulate a biracial dialogue about slavery and its crippling legacy, which continues to bedevil the nation today.

Sizemore is retired from the Virginian Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, where he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2007, he has written about topics as varied as stage government and politics, the private military contractor Blackwater, the televangelist Pat Robertson and Virginia prison-building boom.

Hosted by the Friends of the Library, book sale/signing follows.


Universal Class

Posted January 3rd, 2019 in Uncategorized

Universal Class ButtonWe are excited about our new online learning tool – Universal Class. We know that phrase sounds a little geeky – but we don’t really care. We recognize a fun way to learn something new when we see it. And this is it.

It is jam packed with online classes – just for fun and for work/school. Classes may include videos, assignments and even tests. You can take up to five classes at one time. The classes are self-guided and instructor-led, so you can go at your own pace and talk with an  instructor via email.

You earn a certificate when you complete some classes.  Universal Class is also accredited as an authorized provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training.

We offer classes in multiple categories. Some categories are alternative medicine, accounting, crafts and hobbies, pets, business, career training, real estate, languages, history, web development, computer programs, psychology and many more.

All you need is a library card, which we’ll be happy to give you if you need one. If you don’t have a computer or Internet, just visit one of our libraries. We’ll be happy to let you use ours.




Barbara Kingsolver talks about her new book

Posted November 27th, 2018 in Uncategorized

Barbar KingsolverThe Friends of the Library are hosting an evening with Barbara Kingsolver as their holiday gift to the community. She will speak about her new book, “Unsheltered,” Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m., at the Martha Washington Inn and Spa. Please note, we rescheduled this event. There were conflicts with other community events, and we didn’t want you to have to choose.  Also please note this event is not happening at the library. It is free and open to the public.

About her books:

Kingsolver is one of America’s leading writers. Her books, in order of publication, are “The Bean Trees,” Homeland,” “Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike,” “Animal Dreams,” “Another America,” “Pigs in Heaven,” “High Tide in Tucson,” “The Poisonwood Bible,” “Prodigal Summer,” “Small Wonder,” “Last Stand: America’s Virgin Lands,” with photographer Annie Griffiths Belt, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life,” “The Lacuna,” “Flight Behavior: A Novel” and “Unsheltered.”

Her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages and have been adopted into the core literature curriculum in high schools and colleges throughout the nation. She has contributed to more than 50 literary anthologies, and her reviews and articles have appeared in most major U.S. newspapers and magazines.

About Barbara Kingsolver:

Kingsolver was born in 1955 and grew up in rural Kentucky. She earned degrees in biology from DePaul University and the University of Arizona, and has worked as a freelance writer and author since 1985. At various times in her adult life she has lived in England, France and the Canary Islands, and has worked in Europe, Africa, Asia, Mexico and South America. She spent two decades in Tucson, Arizona, before moving to Washington County, Virginia in 2004 where she currently resides.

She was named one the most important writers of the 20th century by Writers Digest. In 2000 she received the National Humanities Medal, our country’s highest honor for service through the arts. “The Poisonwood Bible” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Orange Prize and was an Oprah Book Club selection. “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” won numerous prizes, including the James Beard award. “The Lacuna” won Britain’s prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction in 2010 (the best novel in the world written in the English language by a woman). In 2011, Kingsolver was awarded the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for the body of her work.

Kingsolver established the Bellwether Prize for Fiction, the nation’s largest prize for an unpublished first novel, which since 1998 has helped to establish the careers of more than a half dozen new literary voices. Through a recent agreement, the prize has now become the PEN / Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.

She has two daughters, Camille and Lily and a grandchild. Her husband, Steven Hopp, teaches environmental studies at Emory & Henry College and owns the Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview, Virginia

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