Celebrating Black History Month in Henrico

Henrico County Public Library (HCPL) is offering many opportunities for you to engage with Black History this February.  We would like to invite our fellow Henrico employees to join us at a lecture, film screening, book discussion, performance, or even a cooking or dance class as we explore Black history and culture. Visit henricolibrary.org/events for the full calendar with complete details and up-to-date listings.

“The Life and Legacy of Miss Virginia Estelle Randolph”

Sat., Feb. 5, at the Fairfield Library at 2:00 PM &

Sat., Feb. 12, at the Glen Allen Library at 2:00 PM

Biographer and filmmaker Elvatrice Belsches will take the audience on a multimedia journey amplifying the extraordinary contributions of Virginia E. Randolph in the areas of education, public health, and juvenile justice reform. Belsches is currently working on a documentary of Randolph’s legacy and is the recipient of a VA Humanities grant for her project.

“Black Film Festival”

Wednesdays in February at 2:00 PM, Libbie Mill Library

Featuring the following film screenings:

2/2 Akeelah and the Bee

2/9 Bad Boys for Life

2/16 Us

2/23 Soul

History in Focus: The Ragged Road of Reconstruction

Sat, Feb 19, 1-4pm at the Virginia Randolph Museum. Tours every 30 minutes.

After the American Civil War ended in 1865, localities around the country began to offer schooling to the public. What were these schools like? What curriculum did they cover? Where were the schools in Henrico County? Join us for a 30-minute, focused-history tour at the Virginia Randolph Museum. This program is recommended for participants 13 years or older. Information: cha129@henrico.us

“Soul of a Community”

Sat., Feb.19, at 2:00 PM (virtual)

The Valentine Museum in conjunction with Henrico County Public Libraries presents “Soul of a Community.” From early settlement and the rise of the domestic slave trade to business ownership and thriving communities, explore how Black Richmonders have redefined the River City and inspired a region and nation.

“Never Forgotten: The Legacy of a Historic Black Cemetery”

Tues., Feb. 22, at 6:30 PM, Libbie Mill Library

A presentation by Nathan Burrell, Deputy Director of Virginia’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, who assisted in recovering historic African-American gravestones along the Potomac River in Virginia. In the 1960’s, the headstones were removed from Columbia Harmony Cemetery in Washington, D.C., sold for scrap, then used as an erosion barrier on the banks of the Potomac River in Virginia. Recently, the headstones were rediscovered and this year several dozen were removed and placed in National Harmony Memorial Park in Maryland. Burrell will share the history of the cemetery, the stories of those who were buried, and how descendants have reconnected with their family’s lost memorials.

42 Film Screening”

Tues., Feb. 22, at 6:00 PM, Gayton Library

Commemorate African American History Month with a movie that honors a groundbreaking achievement in professional sports. Celebrate the accomplishments of Jackie Robinson and his joining the Brooklyn Dodgers by watching the movie 42, starring Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford, with us.

“The Organ Thieves: Author Talk by Chip Jones”

Thurs., Feb. 24, at 7:00 PM, Tuckahoe Library

Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist Chip Jones discusses his book The Organ Thieves: The Shocking Story of the First Heart Transplant in the Segregated South about the circumstances surrounding the death of Bruce Tucker a black man who, in 1968, went into Virginia’s top research hospital with a head injury, only to have his heart taken out of his body and put into the chest of a white businessman.

*This program has a tie-in to the “Tuckahoe Real Stories Book Discussion”. This discussion group will be reading The Organ Thieves, then discussing, and formulating questions for the author at their meeting on Tues. Feb. 15, at 7:00 PM at the Tuckahoe Library.

“An African Cultural Experience”

Sat., Feb. 26, from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM, Varina Library

The Varina Area Library in partnership with The Next Star Arts Program invites you to come get a taste of West African Culture. In celebration of Black History Month, this family event will feature a display of African artifacts, drum circle, storytime, Ghanaian dance instruction, a panel discussion, and so much more! You don’t want to miss this event!

“Bayou Soul: Regional Creole Cuisine”

Sat., Feb. 26 at 2:00 PM, Varina Area Library

Take a journey through the history of Creole Soul Food. Chef Charles Robinson, of Sunday Service Soul Food and Black Folk Food, is back to prepare a handful of Creole dishes, teach us their history, and show us what makes this cuisine so great. Bon Apetit!

Book discussions featuring titles by black authors in February

  • Libbie Mill LGBTQIA+ Book Discussion, Tues. Feb. 1, at 7:00 PM, Libbie Mill Library- 100 Boyfriends by Brontez Purnell
  • Glen Allen Book Discussion, Thurs. Feb. 3, 7:00 PM, Glen Allen Library-The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett
  • Savvy Sandston Book Discussion, Wed. Feb. 9, 7:00 PM, Sandston Library – Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
  • Tuckahoe Afternoon and Evening Fiction Discussion, Thurs. Feb. 10, at 1:00 PM and 7:00 PM, Tuckahoe Library- Home by Toni Morrison
  • Fairfield Black Authors Book Discussion, Tues. Feb.15, 7:00 PM, Fairfield Library- Blacktop Wasteland by S. A. Crosby
  • Libbie Mill Afternoon and Evening Book Discussions, Tues. Feb 15 at 1:00 PM & 7:00 PM, Libbie Mill Library- Thick: and Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom
  • North Park Evening Book Discussion, Mon. Feb. 14, 7:00 PM, North Park Library-The Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson

We hope to see you at the library in February!

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Henrico County Public Library- More Than Books

While our buildings may be closed, Henrico County Public Library (HCPL) is fortunate to have an engaged community, versatile and adaptable staff, and the support of Henrico County. This has helped us to quickly move to promote existing online services and innovate new ways to connect with county residents online and over the phone. Here’s a look at what the libraries are up to during this closure.

Digital Collections

HCPL’s extensive online library of over 100,000 titles is always open.  Cardholders can borrow materials, including ebooks, audiobooks, movies, magazines and music, online from the library through OverDriveHoopla, and RB Digital. The library also offers newspapers through our  Online Research page. We recently added a post on our blog for people to learn how to get started using these services. 

Online Programming and Virtual Storytimes

Our librarians are working hard to develop engaging online learning experiences for all ages. We encourage you to follow our blogFacebookTwitter, and Instagram and sign up for our monthly newsletter to get educational content from our staff. This includes online book discussions, reading recommendations, an upcoming reading challenge, and our popular Virtual Storytimes. Tune into Facebook Live for Virtual Storytimes on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 10:30 am and Tuesdays at 6:30 pm.  Check our website and social media for updates about Title Talk, an open group to discuss what you’ve been reading and get recommendations from librarians, on Thursdays at 6pm for adults, and Tuesdays at 2pm for teens.

Digital Library Cards

New digital-only cards are available while libraries are closed due to COVID-19.  If you don’t yet have a library card, you can use the online registration form on our website to register for a digital card, which will provide access to OverDrive ebooks and audiobooks, as well as online research and learning tools like Consumer Reports, Tutor.com, and Rosetta Stone for language learning. If you think you might already have an HCPL library card, please check with us first using Ask A Librarian, available by clicking the green tab on the right hand side of any page on our website.

Educational Resources

We know that it can be challenging to find supplemental, structured learning activities for young people during this time.  The library can help!  Students of all ages can receive free online tutoring and homework help with Tutor.com, and additional study resources, like test prep, are available through Learning Express Library, free with their library card. If you have a question for a librarian or need assistance with a project, you can use our online AskHCPL service by clicking the green tab on the right hand side of any page of our website. Visit our Online Research page for other resources organized by subject – our favorites include Rosetta Stone for language learning, and Universal Class, which offers tutorials that can help you with academic subjects, or learning a new skill or craft!

Connect with Staff and Get Book Recommendations

HCPL librarians are available to assist you with your information and learning needs. Call any library during our normal business hours to speak to customer service staff, or connect with staff online using our AskHCPL service, available by clicking the green tab on the right hand side of any page of our website. Visit our locations page for phone numbers and hours. And our My Next Read service can help you get book recommendations via email directly from library staff. 

Call Center Staffing

Library staff have been providing direct assistance to those impacted by COVID-19 by working four call centers; the Henrico Employee and Community call centers, the Senior Outreach Call Center and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Call Center at Fairfield Library.  The Henrico Community Call Center (501-5655) answers calls of all kinds from the community and from schools.  Within the same call center is an employee information line (501-5623). These call center staff also answer community and employees’ texts (804) 376-9780.  Each line is open from 7am-7pm Monday through Sunday.

The Senior Outreach Call Center, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at 501-5454, connects older residents and family members to community support and resources as part of the EngAGE initiative.  Outreach Call Center staff assist field incoming calls and make regular calls to Senior residents who are seeking reassurance and social connection, or need help getting food or medication.  Staff provide company and assurance to these residents, and have even connected some to church groups providing food or pharmacies that deliver prescription medication.  And for those with questions about their health or COVID-19, another hotline managed by the VDH/Henrico and Richmond Health Districts has also employed library staff. That line – 205-3501 – is available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Our staff have quickly adapted to provide innovative new services, promote our existing online services, and connect online with our community.  We plan to resume full or partial library services as soon as we are able, and we can’t wait to see you at the library in the future.  For now, we hope you’ll join us online or give us a call.  Henrico County Public Library is still here for you, and committed to supporting your learning, reading, and curiosity during this difficult time.

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Black History Month at the Library

Henrico County Public Library is committed to engaging and inclusive programming and services year-round.  We also observe commemorative months, which enable us to focus our efforts throughout the year on celebrating our diverse community.  This February, library staff have planned a wide array of events for adults, children, and teens that recognize the enormous cultural contributions and civil rights achievements of African Americans for Black History Month.  You can also visit your local library to peruse a Black History Month-themed display in February and find related reading and research material year-round at HCPL in print and online.  Read on for a highlight of Black History Month events at HCPL. 

For a complete list or events and their descriptions, please visit our events calendar.

Other ways you can engage with black history, literature, and culture at HCPL include: 

  • Joining our Black Authors Book Discussion Group at Fairfield Library 
  • Encouraging teens in your life to join the Diversity Club for Teens at Varina Library 
  • Visiting the Trailblazers Wall at Fairfield Library for interactive, multimedia biographies of black people who changed the course of history in Henrico, the state, and the nation 
  • Keeping an eye on our events calendar for regular programming about black history and culture. 

Upcoming Black History Month events at HCPL 

Classic Film Series at Fairfield Library 
Feb. 3, Mon, 1:30 PM  Their Eyes Were Watching God 
Feb. 10, Mon, 1:30 PM  Remember the Titans 
Feb. 24, Mon, 1:30 PM  Fences 

The Black Film Canon at Libbie Mill
Feb. 3, Mon, 2:00 PM  Straight Outta Compton 
Feb. 4, Tue, 2:00 PM  Do The Right Thing 
Feb. 10, Mon, 2:00 PM  Cooley High 
Feb. 18, Tue, 2:00 PM  Creed 
Feb. 24, Mon, 2:00 PM  Get Out 
Feb. 25, Tue, 2:00 PM  Boyz N the Hood 

Revisiting the Founding Era Discussion at Varina Library 
Feb. 4, Tue, 7:00 PM

Black History Month Trivia for Teens at Tuckahoe Library 
Feb. 5, Wed, 5:00 PM

I am 400: The Art of Jerome and Jeromyah Jones at North Park 
Feb. 5, Wed, 6:30 PM

Book Discussion: The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American History in the Old South at Twin Hickory Library 
Feb. 5, Wed, 7:00 PM

Coretta Scott King Read-Aloud at Fairfield Library 
Thursdays in February, 6:00 PM 

VMFA Presents: Frederic Remington and the Buffalo Soldiers at Libbie Mill Library 
Feb. 11, Tue, 6:00 PM  

An African Culture Experience at Varina Library 
Feb. 15, Sat, 2:00 pm 

Petersburg Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen at Libbie Mill 
Feb. 15, Sat, 4:00 pm 

Teen Book Night at Varina Library 
Feb. 18, Tue, 7:00 PM 

African Tales with Dylan Pritchett   
Feb. 19, Wed, 6:00 PM at Fairfield Library 
Feb. 22, Sat, 10:30 AM at Twin Hickory Library 
Feb. 22, Sat, 2:00 PM at Libbie Mill Library 
 
Revisiting the Founding Era Conversation at Tuckahoe Library 
Feb. 19, Wed, 7:00 PM 
  
VCU Presents: School Desegregation in Virginia at Tuckahoe Library 
Feb. 20, Thu, 6:30 PM 
 
20 and Odd: Africans’ Arriva in 1619 screening at Twin Hickory Library 
Feb. 21, Fri, 10:00 AM 
 
Reconstructing Family: Post-Emancipation Records at the Library of Virginia at Sandston Library 
Feb. 22, Sat, 10:30 AM  

African American art at the VMFA at Glen Allen Library 
Feb. 27, 6:00 PM 


Bright Star Theater Presents: Black History Hall of Fame 
Feb. 22, Sat, 10:00 AM at Sandston Library 
Feb 22, Sat, 1:00 PM at North Park Library 


Bright Star Theater Presents: Rosa Parks and Friends at Gayton Library 
Feb. 29, Sat, 4:00 PM

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