National Library Week is right around the corner! Observed annually during the second full week in April, this year it runs April 8-14 and bears the theme, “Libraries Lead.” National Library Week is right around the corner! Observed annually during the second full week in April, this year it runs April 8-14 and bears the theme, “Libraries Lead.” 

Many people are unaware of what National Library Week is or how it got started. It dates back to the mid-1950s when research showed that Americans were spending more on radios and TVs and less on books. Concerned by this trend, in 1954, the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Book Publishers formed the National Book Committee to encourage people to read. The Committee recognized that reading and libraries went hand in hand, so in 1958 they started National Library Week with the theme, “Wake Up and Read!” To this day, National Library Week continues to be a time to celebrate the contributions that libraries make to our society and promote their use and support.

This year, you can celebrate National Library Week and support the Midlothian Public Library by attending the Friends of the Midlothian Library’s second annual gala concert on Saturday, April 14. Featuring the musical duo Jimmy O and Rhonda Lee, this 21-and-over event will include appetizers and a cash bar. There is no cover charge, but free will donations will be gratefully accepted. Come for a fun, relaxing, and entertaining evening where you can meet your local community neighbors. 

And while you’re here, think about joining the Friends of Midlothian Public Library. Dues are only $5 per year per person or $10 per family or business. In addition to the gala concert, the Friends hold three used book sales and one craft bazaar per year to raise money for the library. Recently, the Friends have used these funds to purchase a new book display case and an AED machine. The Friends also fund programs, including making a generous donation to the Summer Reading Program every year. In addition, the Friends maintain several Little Free Libraries around town for the reading enjoyment of the community. In many concrete ways, the Friends continue the mission of literacy promotion that the National Book Committee had in mind back in the 1950s.

Most importantly, even if you can’t make it to the concert or join the Friends this year, support your library this National Library Week or this spring by stopping in for a visit. Check out a book, audiobook, or DVD, attend a program, get technology assistance from our Help Desk—there are many ways to learn something new!
 - Jennifer

Summer reading programs have been a hallmark of library tradition for decades. This year, at Midlothian Public Library we’re doing summer reading with a twist and calling it Summer Library Challenge!Summer reading programs have been a hallmark of library tradition for decades. This year, at Midlothian Public Library we’re doing summer reading with a twist and calling it Summer Library Challenge!

Of course, because we know that reading over the summer helps prevent what educators call the “summer slide” and keeps children’s and teens’ academic skills in shape for the coming school year, reading books will still be an important part of the program. But libraries are more than just books these days—libraries are places you can learn by doing and learn together with others! That’s why we’re also adding on a variety of weekly “challenges,” which may include attending a library program, doing a science experiment, playing a board game, making a work of art…the list goes on. Participants who read and complete other challenges will be eligible for weekly prizes.

And adults can get in on the action too—by reading books (e-books and audiobooks included!) and doing challenges to earn drawing entries for prizes.

And for adults, teens, and children alike, we are also offering the Friends & Family Reading Challenge. Form a team of family members or friends to compete with other teams to see who can read the most over the course of the summer.

Our theme for this summer is Reading Takes You Everywhere. Reading books can transport you to many lands and times real and imaginary. Hopefully our many programs will take you on adventures too. Wherever you journey this summer, I hope you travel frequently to the library and take advantage of the materials and experiences we have to offer.

 - Jennifer

winter readingsmall"Happy New Year, Midlothian! What’s new at the library? Chromebooks! Starting soon, these laptop computers may be checked out by Midlothian library card holders 10 year of age and older, for up to 2 hours of in-library use per day. You can use these devices to connect to the Internet using our free library Wi Fi, and wireless printing is available. What’s the best thing about these Chromebooks? You can use them anywhere in the library—in the commons, in the café, or in a cozy corner! Looking for a quiet space to work alone or collaborate with colleagues on a project? Use our conference/study room (sign up at Check Out desk).

Looking to try a new kind of book club in 2017? Visit our new Graphic Novel Club for adults and older teens. Want to learn some new computer skills? Check out our newly designed Tech Essentials classes. New programs for our youngest patrons include the “Play, Baby, Play” group for infants and toddlers and the “Shake It Up” music and movement story time.

Some old, familiar programs are coming back too! This January and February we are again offering our Winter Reading program for all ages. Look for details in the Adult, Teen, and Children’s program sections of the newsletter.

In February, the library will observe African American History Month. On Thursday, February 9, from 6:30-7:30 PM, we will welcome back the phenomenal storyteller Oba William King to share traditional African folktales. Our Adult Book Discussion Group’s selection in February will be Homegoing by the Ghanaian author Yaa Gyasi.

The weather outside may be snowy and cold, but there’s plenty going on inside at the Library. Come gather around our fireplace and cozy up with a good book! - Jennifer

The Library will be CLOSED on the following days in December: 

December 9 - Staff Institute Day,

December 24 - 26 - Library Closed for the Holiday,

December 31 - January 2 - Library Closed for the Holiday

winter readingsmallOn November 22, the library said farewell to Director Heather McCammond-Watts. In the short time she was with us, she made a tremendous impact on this library and this community, and we are grateful for her service and leadership. My name is Jennifer Cottrill, the library’s new Director. I’ve worked at Midlothian Public Library for almost four years in the teen, children’s, and adult services departments. As your library’s Director, my main goal is to provide continuity throughout our leadership transition and to provide you, our public, with the best service possible. I want to keep my ears open to your concerns, so please feel free to share them with me as I learn and grow in my new role.

What’s new at the library this month? After many months of hard work, we have launched our new website! Check it out at I think you’ll like its updated style and ease of use. Let us know your feedback!

December, of course, means the holidays. As we’ve done in years past, we’ll run our Food for Fines program November 25 through December 30. Every non-perishable item donated will count for $1 of forgiven fines (up to $10). Food will be distributed to families in need via St. Christopher and St. Stephen Churches. We are also serving as a drop-off spot for the toy drive sponsored by the Midlothian Community Policing Committee and Midlothian Neighborhood Watch. Please be generous in this season of giving.

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones! - Jennifer