Eastern Shore Public Library



Latimer collection







Photo above:  Archival records from the Frances Bibbins Latimer collection need a safe place to assemble and showcase the materials documenting the Eastern Shore’s rich history.

(Accomac, Virginia) November 19, 2018 – The Eastern Shore Public Library Foundation has started a capital campaign for the Eastern Shore of Virginia Heritage Center to be located in the regional library being built in Parksley, Virginia.  It is expected a successful campaign will bring the total building project funding to the $5 million goal to complete the new 20,837 square foot facility.  The ESVA Heritage Center will be a 7,836 square foot addition to the former Fresh Pride grocery store being remodeled as a regional library.  It will include a larger Eastern Shore Room, a climate controlled archive room, archive processing room, lecture hall and other amenities.

Accomack and Northampton Counties have been losing valuable archive collections because of space constraints in Eastern Shore organizations that collect them.  These archives have, in turn, been given to institutions in Richmond, Charlottesville, and Salisbury.  The Eastern Shore Room is visited and contacted by national and international historians, genealogists, and researchers studying the birth of the United States and family histories.  The ESVA Heritage Center will provide public access to Eastern Shore history and culture in one convenient location with digitization and computer equipment.

The current collections in the Eastern Shore Room were described by the former Regional Director of the National Archives, Kellee Blake, as “worldclass, a genealogical paradise, and a historian’s dream.  It is one of the finest collections I have ever seen.  It deserves a worthy new home.”  There is urgency in building the ESVA Heritage Center as the Kirk Mariner and the Frances Bibbins Latimer collections, already donated to the library, are in temporary storage.  Archives, which include letters, manuscripts, photographs, and books, need specialized climate-controlled and secure storage to preserve them.  The ESVA Heritage Center will have the archive space for such storage as well as space for programs, displays, and research and digitization equipment that help bring the stories these archives tell to light.

The ESPL Foundation has raised $4,300,000 on the way to the $5 million to complete the Eastern Shore of Virginia regional library and Heritage Center.  Groundbreaking is scheduled for Spring 2019.  The Foundation encourages individuals and businesses to be original supporters of the new ESVA Heritage Center by sending their contributions to the ESPL Foundation, PO Box 554, Accomac, Virginia, 23301 or donate online to shorelibrary.com.  Larger gifts will be considered as “Founding Members and Families” contributions.  Capital gain saving gifts of stock or bonds and pledges over a number of years are also welcome.  For further information, call the ESPL Foundation office at 757-787-2500.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                      

CONTACT: Cara Burton, (757) 787-3400


(Accomac, Virginia) October 26, 2018 – The Eastern Shore Public Library is offering new training programs for area nonprofits to learn how to raise funds and manage assets.  The first program, “Discover the Power of Endowments,” is Tuesday, October 30, at 12:00/noon at the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce.  This free, one and a half program will be presented by Julie Badger, Executive Director of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Community Foundation.  Registration is not required and open to all volunteers, staff, and board members of local nonprofit organizations, including churches and clubs.

Free, live webinars by the Foundation Center will take place in November and December.  “Meet the Funders:  Capital Funding” will take place Tuesday, November 1st.  “Rebooting Your Board Culture” will air Thursday, November 8.  “10 Strategies for Success with Digital Fundraising” will be presented Thursday, November 29.  “Introduction to Corporate Giving” will take place Wednesday, December 5.  For details about time and location, please contact Cara Burton, Library Director, at cburton@espl.org or call (757) 787-3400.  Help your organization become more sustainable and achieve its goals by attending these programs!

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Goodwin book discussion group Nov 27 2018

FindItVirginia.com Provides Free Digital Resources through Local Public Libraries


CONTACT: Nan Carmack, Director, Library Development & Networking, 804.692.3792, nan.carmack@lva.virginia.gov








Photo attached:  Wells Gregoire, Adult Services Specialist for Eastern Shore Public Library, demonstrates career resources on FindItVirginia at the recent Disabilities Awareness event.

(Richmond, Virginia) – The Library of Virginia is pleased to introduce a robust offering of free digital resources for all Virginians through their local public libraries. Citizens can research, read, and learn through FindItVirginia.com.  A link is available at the Eastern Shore Public Library webpage, www.espl.orgunder the “e-Resources” tab.  Some of the databases require a local library card to access them.

Research age-appropriate databases for factual information on any topic in a user-friendly environment, Explora, by Ebsco Publishing. Read from a wide variety of mobile-friendly, online, and downloadable platforms for magazines and books (both fiction and nonfiction) for all ages, including read-alouds for the youngest readers. Find a new job or learn a new language, skill, or hobby with Rocket Languages, Universal Class, and Career Transitions.

The full offering is listed here:


·         Early World of Learning (grades Preschool–2)

·         Kids Infobits (grades K–5)

·         Explora Public Libraries

·         Explora High School (grades 9–12)

·         Explora Middle School (grades 6–8)

·         Explora Primary (grades K–5)

·         Masterfile Complete (general knowledge database)

·         Readit! (easier reading general knowledge database)


·         eBooks/Magazines/Audio

·         Cricket Media

·         Early World of Learning (pre-K)

·         Ebsco eBooks High School

·         Ebsco eBooks K–8

·         Ebsco eBooks History Collection

·         Freading

·         NoveList Plus

·         NoveList K–8 Plus

·         RBdigital (Adult)


·         Career Transitions (job and career)

·         Legal Forms (Virginia-specific templates for leases, sales, wills, etc.)

·         Rocket Languages (language, including American Sign Language)

·         Universal Class (must be accessed via your local public library)

To get assistance with these offerings and to see what else your public library may offer, visit FindItVirginia.com today. Find It Virginia is supported by federal funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.   For more information, a demonstration of the resources, or for assistance connecting, call the Eastern Shore Public Library at (757) 787-3400 or stop by one of the four Eastern Shore public libraries in Accomac, Cape Charles, Chincoteague, or Nassawadox.

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book mobile

original library









(Accomac, Virginia) October 17, 2018 – 1958 was a hallmark year on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  The Shore saw the opening of a new Accomack County Health Department facility in Accomac, WESR coming on air, and the dedication of Chincoteague’s new high school.  Construction projects were beginning with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel ($137 million), Wallops Island space launch facility ($24 million), and a new library ($60,000).  That year Northampton and Accomack Counties formed a new Eastern Shore Public Library regional library system still in operation today and the library Board of Trustees and staff and the ESPL Foundation are celebrating.

                The Eastern Shore Public Library (ESPL) was started as a demonstration project in 1957 by the Commonwealth of Virginia.  It was located in the Town of Accomac’s Community Hall.  Proving itself successful, the two counties voted in the spring of 1958 to create a regional system with both counties sharing in the costs of its operation.  This was not the first library on the Eastern Shore.  Cape Charles Memorial Library, formerly Northampton Memorial Library, started in 1919 and will be celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2019.  Other smaller libraries operated for short periods near Exmore and in Parksley and Chincoteague.  This new library would be organized as a governmental agency under the auspices of the Library of Virginia.  Many counties in Virginia have county or city municipal libraries, but areas with smaller populations have “regional” libraries.  The regional, county and municipal libraries receive funding from the state and their local municipalities.

                Over the years, ESPL has grown and changed with the community, technology, and the publishing industry.   In 1965, after eight years of fundraising, the current library building in Accomac opened, relocating from a storefront on Front Street.  Further fundraising provided an addition in 1984 which added a children’s room and the Eastern Shore Room. The bookmobile arrived in 1971 bringing books to the small towns up and down the Shore.  Cape Charles joined the system in 1979 creating a formal resource sharing agreement.  Chincoteague Island Library opened in 1995 followed by Northampton Free Library in Nassawadox in 2006 .

                Sixty years of growth included the advent of technology in libraries.  Card catalogs became automated.  Books became available on cassette, online, and other formats.  Movies became a circulating format with DVDs.  Public computers became available with Internet access making a world of information available to every citizen.  These technology changes required shifts in space and budget allocation.  Staff that previously typed catalog cards learned to help visitors use the computer.  Every library has become crammed to meet the growing space needs of technology.  Additionally, organizations and individuals increasingly need public meeting space for collaboration and learning.  The ESPL Foundation was formed in 2009 to raise money to help meet the changing needs of each of the four libraries on the Shore.

                ESPL is celebrating its anniversary in a variety of ways.  Library staff are currently collecting library memories to be archived in the new Eastern Shore of Virginia Heritage Center in the new regional library.  Memories, like this one of library chairperson Jackie Davis:

                “One of my many fond childhood memories is of my mom and me walking to the Eastern Shore Public Library book mobile in Quinby.  My parents and I moved to the Eastern Shore in 1976 from the Northern Virginia area.  My mother did not drive so having the convenience to walk to a library on wheels was very special.  We would select our books and take them home to put in a wooden bookcase that my father built and to this day the bookcase has a special place in my home.”

                The focus of the ESPL Board of Trustees and the ESPL Foundation has been to raise funds for a $5 million regional library to be built in Parksley.  These volunteers feel this is the best way to celebrate sixty years of service to the community by ensuring the resources are available for the next sixty years.  They follow over fifty Board of Trustees that have volunteered since 1958 to secure funding for vibrant programs and support for lifelong learning.

                A variety of celebrations have been taking place this year.  At the start of 2018, a fine amnesty took place to start the new year with a clean slate and encourage cardholders to use the library.  In September, the ESPL Foundation held a reception for current trustees and staff.  ESPL created a 60th anniversary library history booklet which is available at each of the four Shore libraries, while supplies last.  The Friends of ESPL are celebrating their own 60th anniversary with a party on October 23 from 2:00 to 8:00 pm at the Accomac location with a special book sale, cake, and activities.

                A children’s “Happy Birthday, Eastern Shore Public Library!” party will take place on Saturday, November 10, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Children will celebrate the library’s birthday with games, crafts, cake and refreshments.  The event is free, but please pre-register by phone at (757) 787-3400 or email youthservices@espl.org.

                To donate your Eastern Shore of Virginia library memory or photographs to the archives, you can email it to espl@espl.org, drop a printed copy or audio or visual recording off at any of the library locations, or mail it to ESPL, PO Box 360, Accomac, VA 23301.  By donating the memory, it is understood the donor allows the library to reproduce it in print form, on the library’s web page, or on social media (Facebook).  For questions, call (757) 787-3400. To learn more, visit the ESPL website at www.espl.org.  To learn about the library’s construction project or to donate, visit www.shorelibrary.com.

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Other News

Delayed Opening

ESPL Waives Fines During the Storm






County Library Partnership Moves Regional Library Project Forward

Shore Poets win in regional competition

Dollar General summer teen grant


ABC Mouse

Archaeologists Present on Eyreville Findings

Architectural and Engineering Services for Public Library

BB&T Lighthouse Project Supports Reading

Black History Month Events

Bloxom AND McMath to be Honorary Chairs of Eastern Shore of Virginia’s Regional Library Capital Campaign

Chincoteague Island Library to Celebrate “Locals Week at the Library”

Chincoteague Resident Joins Library Foundation

Chairman of the ESPL Board Message

Coady Receives Library Trustee of the Year Award

Committee of Historians Seeks Funding for Local History Room in New Regional Library

Diamond Jubilee

Early Learning Computer Donated to ESVA Library

Eastern Shore Public Library Goes TOBACCO-FREE

Eastern Shore Public Library Holds Children’s Event at Future Location

Eastern Shore Public Library Hosts Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Exhibit

Eastern Shore Public Library Joins Foundation Center’s Global Network

Eastville Resident Joins Library Foundation

ESVBA wifi

Exmore Town Hall Book Return

February 2017 Winter Reading Program

Food for Fines 

Food for Fines December 2017

Frances Bibbins Latimer Collection

Introduction to Finding Grants Workshop

January 2018 Holidays

Library of Virginia Touring Slave History Exhibit in Accomac

McMath and Bloxom Honored for Library Capital Campaign Support

National Friends of the Library Week 2017

Nelson Receives Outstanding Community Leader Award

Nora Roberts Foundation Awards Grant For New Shore Library

Northampton Free Library Announces Community Garden Grant

Oral History Contest Form

Perdue Foundation Commits $100,000 to Support Campaign to Build New Eastern Shore Public Library in Rural Virginia

Perdue Foundation Grant Supports Campaign to Build New Eastern Shore Public Library in Rural Virginia

Regional Library Building Party

Request for Proposals for Internet/Wide Area Network Services

Shore Library Campaign Website Wins Awards

Spanish Language Collection

Summer Food Program

Summer Reading Program

ESPL Newsletters

April 2016 newsletter

July 2016 newsletter

September 2016 newsletter

Check Me Out Kickoff Event

November 2016 newsletter

Visit with Santa 2016

February 2017 newsletter

April 2017 newsletter

June 2017 newsletter

July 2017 newsletter

September 2017 newsletter

January 2018 newsletter

Diamond Jubilee 

Raising the Green 

May 2018 newsletter


The Missing Jail of Eastville by Jenean Hall



  • Main Library
    23610 Front Street
    P.O. Box 360
    Accomac, VA. 23301
    Phone: (757) 787-3400;
    (757) 678-7800;
    (757) 824-5151

    Cape Charles Memorial Library
    201 Mason Avenue
    Cape Charles, VA 23310
    Phone: (757) 331-1300

  • Contact Us

  • Northampton Free Library
    7745 Seaside Rd
    P.O. Box 729 Nassawadox, VA 23413
    Phone: (757) 414-0010

    Chincoteague Island Library
    4077 Main Street
    Chincoteague, VA 23336
    Phone: (757) 336-3460

This site is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. It is managed by the The Library of Virginia Library Development and Networking Division.