Eastern Shore Public Library



Contact:  Cara Burton, (757) 787-3400







Photo above:  Census takers, called enumerators, interview residents who haven’t responded to the census and drop off questionnaires (in select areas).

(ACCOMAC, VIRGINIA) March 31, 2020 – April 1, 2020 is National Census Day. The April 1 Census Day is not a deadline. Rather, when citizens do respond to the census, they are expected to tell the United States Census Bureau where they reside as of April 1. The actual deadline for responding to the census typically falls at the end of July, however the Census Bureau announced on Friday, March 20, that it would delay this year’s deadline to mid-August due to the disruption of the Covid-19 virus.  Census takers, called enumerators, will come to you house this summer to complete the Census, if you do not complete the Census online, by phone, or by mail.

As of March 29, the response rate for the Eastern Shore is 17.8% of households answering the Census.  The statewide response rate is 38.7%.  This indicates that the Eastern Shore is currently undercounted.  In the future, the Shore will be under served by federal dollars because the population of the Eastern Shore will not represent the actual number of people that live here.

By April 1, every home should receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. On the Eastern Shore of Virginia, however, many people did not receive an invitation in the mail.  The invitations are being mailed to physical addresses, not to post office boxes, which is where most Shore residents receive their mail.  Households can still respond in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail.

Some households have received the short form in the mail, but most receive a letter with a 12-digit code to start the Census questionnaire online.  You do not need this code to complete the Census.  You can simply enter your physical address.  Forms are not available to be picked up at any location.

The national Census is mandated in the U.S. Constitution every ten years and it is everyone’s civic duty to complete the questionnaire.  Data from the Census is used to allocate federal funding to local government, social services, schools, libraries, and many other agencies.  The information you enter into the questionnaire is completely confidential and, by law, is not shared with any other government agency.  It is estimated that the Shore will receive over $20,000 per person over the next ten years.  Every person counts in the Census.

To complete the Census, go to 2020Census.gov or call (844) 330-2020.

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Eastern Shore Public Libraries in Accomac, Chincoteague, and Nassawadox will stop curbside pickup to support the Virginia Stay At Home Order.  Pickup service will stop on Tuesday, March 31 at Accomac and Chincoteague locations and on Wednesday, April 1 at the Nassawadox location.  Individuals picking up items should call ahead for hours of service and to ensure their items are ready for pick-up.  Staff will continue to be available to answer phones at the libraries and to provide verbal assistance in using the library electronic resources.

Our staff has been real troopers to continue to provide the limited service.  Many patrons have made use of this convenience.  Due support our local health care system, however, we need to discourage people from leaving their homes.  I feel we have provided ample opportunity for patrons to stock up on materials and we continue to promote the electronic resources available.

Cape Charles Memorial Library patrons will need to call the Cape Charles Town office for service updates at their town library at (757) 331-2176.

Information about current library services can be found at espl.org or calling the main Eastern Shore Public Library Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at (757) 787-3400.

Thank you all for your support.   We look forward to seeing you again as soon as the risk to your health has lifted.

Best wishes,

Cara Burton

Library System Director


(ACCOMACK, VIRGINIA) March 26, 2020 – All Eastern Shore Public Libraries continue to be closed to the public.  Curbside pick-up of library materials placed on reserve is available at this time, but patrons should call before arrival as it is subject to change.  Hours for curbside pick-up are as follows:  at Accomac and Cape Charles libraries, Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m; at Northampton Free Library in Nassawadox,  Monday and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to noon; at Chincoteague Island Library from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.  Library staff will be available to answer calls during these hours, as well.

Readers should place items on reserve using the online catalog at espl.org or call their local library.  Reserves are not available until the reader is called or receives an electronic message. Eastern Shore residents can now register for a library card online with the ShoreCat online catalog homepage.  New bestselling e-books and magazines have been purchased and a library card is required to download them.  For assistance or information, call (757) 787-3400.

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New RBdigital eBooks and eAudiobooks now available!

The ESPL is happy to announce the arrival of new eBooks and eAudiobooks in our RBdigital collections. Be sure to look for new bestsellers in the RBdigital eBook collection, and take a look at our new subscription for RBdigital eAudiobooks with over 6,000 titles for adults and over 2,000 for children and teens.

To take a look and try it out, click the RBdigital icon in the Links box to the left of this message. You can also visit espl.org and look for the RBDigital icon under the “Audiobooks and eBooks” button of the “eResources” tab.

For general help with getting started, try  https://esplva.rbdigital.com/help. For more specific questions, email or call the library at espl@espl.org or (757)787-3400. If library staff are unavailable to help you, RB Digital has an excellent support team at 877-772-8346 or yoursupport@recordedbooks.com

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CONTACT:  Cara Burton, (757) 787-3400


(ACCOMACK, VIRGINIA) March 19, 2020 – All Eastern Shore Public Libraries will be closed to the public beginning 6:00 p.m. today, March 19.  Curbside pick-up of library materials placed on reserve will be available at the Accomac library Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Curbside pick-up will be available at Northampton Free Library in Nassawadox,  Monday and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to noon.  At Cape Charles Memorial Library, curbside pick-up will be available 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.  Chincoteague Island Library will have curbside pick-up from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.  Library staff will be available to answer calls during these hours, as well.  Curbside delivery times will be posted on the library’s website, espl.org, and on each library’s telephone message machine.

Books, DVD’s, and audiobooks can easily be placed on hold through the library’s new ShoreCat online catalog with your library card.  The system will text or email you when the item is available by pick-up or staff may call you.  E-books and audiobooks can be downloaded for free anytime from the library’s e-resources with your library card.  Links to these resources are also on ShoreCat.

When the public health safety emergency lifts, library opening hours will be posted on Facebook, on the library website, and with local media.  The board and staff of Eastern Shore Public Library appreciate your patience and understanding at this time. The main library in Accomac can be called at (757) 787-3400.

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The Eastern Shore of Virginia Public Libraries remain open at this time, however, the hours of operation have changed for the libraries in Chincoteague and Nassawadox.

Northampton Free Library in Nassawadox is open the following hours until further notice:

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday and Thursday, 1:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Chincoteague Island Library will be closed and is expected to open Monday, March 30.

Library hours of operation and scheduled programs may change, so you should call the library prior to visiting.  All libraries are practicing social distancing which may limit time in certain spaces or at public computers.  Your cooperation and patience is appreciated in our efforts to maintain library services to the Shore.


Eastern Shore Public Libraries Continue To Provide Services

Eastern Shore Public Library (ESPL) staff has responded to public safety needs regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) by taking safety measures and continuing services, even beyond hours of operation. Staff is enhancing cleaning and disinfecting of the libraries and reviewing procedures with the library board to ensure the safety of all our patrons, volunteers, and staff.   Should the libraries need to close or reduce public service hours, patrons can still use many of our services, as listed below.

ESPL staff cleaning measures include wiping down reading materials, computer keyboards, and surfaces.  Patrons and staff have access to sinks to wash hands.   Library users are encouraged to follow the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines in all public places, including the libraries.

Hours of Operation

ESPL will not reduce hours of operation, except as directed by the state or local public health agency or if a shortage in staff arises. Changes to operating hours will be posted to the librarie’s website, on Facebook and the ESPL website, on WESR, and on door entrances. There will be no overdue fines charged for days when the library is closed at the direction of the Eastern Shore Health District.

Library Programming

Library programs will be held as scheduled where possible. Please call your local library before making a special trip to attend a program to verify that it will be held.

Library Resources Available, Even If Libraries Close

  • E-resources: Patrons will continue to have access to downloadable books and audios, online databases, and the ShoreCat online catalog with their library accounts. Staff can assist patrons by phone with setting up accounts and simple instructions. Patrons are encouraged to set up accounts and learn to use these resources before they become ill or in quarantine as many services require an active library card.
  • Hardcopy materials: Patrons will still be able to return materials in outside book returns.  If the library patron does not wish to enter the library, staff are able to deliver materials to patrons in the library driveways, i.e. “drive-through,” if the patron calls ahead more than one hour prior to arriving.  Items can be reserved via ShoreCat or by phone (if staff are available to take calls).
  • Public wifi: Patrons can bring their own wifi-capable devices to the libraries.  Even when the libraries are closed, patrons may be able to connect outside the library in close proximity to the building.  Click here for the Eastern Shore Broadband Authority free public wifi locations.  Access at these hotspots may be off after dark.
  • Access to computers: The public may use public computers in the library during hours of operation.  ESPL does not have a program in place to loan computers or wifi hotspots to the public.
  • Telephonic Assistance: Staff are available by phone to answer questions, including technology assistance with e-resources, during hours of operation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call the ESPL Library System Director, Cara Burton, at (757) 787-3400.


CONTACT:  Cara Burton, (757) 787-3400


Library Director Cara Burton recently attended the Metompkin Elementary School 







Photo Above:  Library Director Cara Burton recently attended the Metompkin Elementary School family night to promote the Census and library services.

(Accomac, Virginia) March 13, 2020 – Eastern Shore of Virginia households can now answer the short U.S. Census survey, which usually takes less than ten minutes.  For the first time, the survey can be answered online at 2020Census.gov or by phone.  For each individual counted in the Census, Eastern Shore local government and nonprofits combined receive at least $20,000 over ten years per person.  The Accomack and Northampton Complete Count Committee recently launched outreach programs to ensure everyone on the Eastern Shore of Virginia is counted.

You have the option of completing the survey by phone.  Phone lines are open every day from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Eastern Time. To begin, call 844-330-2020, or call the number associated with your preferred language, which can be found on the Census website, 2020Census.gov.

The Census survey is also mobile-device friendly, so you can complete it on your smartphone or tablet.  Public libraries have computers available for Census taking within the libraries.  A Census Bureau mailing may arrive at your home with a 12-digit identification code to start the survey, however, your residential address will also start the survey.

You do not need to wait for a Census Bureau mailing to arrive to take the survey.  Households are encouraged to take the survey online or by phone now, otherwise, a Census enumerator will visit your residence to ensure your household is counted.  Enumerators will start going door-to-door in late May.  If you have additional questions or need assistance taking the survey online, please call Eastern Shore Public Library at (757) 787-3400.

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CONTACT:  Cara Burton, (757) 787-3400


Census display

Photo above:  Raquel Cepeda, Partnership Specialist – 2020 Census, U.S. Census Bureau – Philadelphia Region (left) and Bill O’Hare, a member of the Virginia Complete Count Commission and Cape Charles resident (center) share information about the 2020 Census at the library’s children event this past May.  To ensure the Eastern Shore does not miss out on federal funding, each household is expected to complete the 2020 Census survey this spring.

(Accomac, Virginia) February 16, 2020 – The Eastern Shore of Virginia could lose an estimated $20,000 in federal funding for each person who goes uncounted in the 2020 Census.    This includes funding for many of the services citizens rely on like schools, public safety, libraries, and fire departments.  To help ensure the Eastern Shore of Virginia has an accurate and complete count, Accomack and Northampton Counties formed a regional Complete Count Committee.  The purpose of the Committee is to educate the community as to why it is important to complete the Census survey.  The goal is to have every individual on the Shore counted.

The Committee, formed by Accomack County Administrator Michael Mason and Northampton County Administrator Charles Kolakowski, is comprised of community leaders on the Eastern Shore as recommended in the Census Complete Count manual.  This includes community leaders from community organizations, business, education, faith-based organizations, the immigrant community, social services, and senior citizens.  The Committee meets twice a month to identify outreach events and community communication outlets with which to distribute information about taking the Census.

By understanding why the Census is so important to community services, it is hoped individuals will want to answer the short, ten-question survey.  The U.S. Constitution requires a Census of America’s population every ten years.  It determines how many representatives each state gets in Congress and how to redraw district boundaries for elections.  Communities rely on census statistics to plan for a variety of resident needs including new roads, schools, and emergency services.  Businesses use census data to determine where to open places to shop.  Each year, the federal government distributes more than $675 billion to states and communities based on Census Bureau data.

For the first time, you will be able to respond online or by phone, as well as by mail.  By taking ten minutes to complete the survey online, you will not need to respond to a follow-up visit by a Census employee to your home.  Starting March 12th, 2020, the Census Bureau will mail postcards to residences with a code to start the survey.   You can use this code or your home address to start completing the survey.  Computers at all Eastern Shore Public Libraries are available for residents to complete the Census.  Staff will be available to assist as needed.

All Census information is kept confidential, by law.  An individual’s information is not shared with any other government agency.  The Census does not ask for your social security number, banking information or political affiliation. The Census captures every person living in the United States, including babies, but only one survey needs to be filled out per household.  The Census only happens every ten years, let’s be sure your friends and family are counted!

For more information, visit 2020Cenus.gov or call the main library in Accomac at (747) 787-3400.

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CONTACT:  Cara Burton, (757) 787-3400



WITH $500,000 GRANT

Frances Bibbins Latimer CollectionNEH logo

Photos attached:  (1) “IMG 9107” – Materials in the Frances Bibbins Latimer Collection that need preservation and digitization.

(2) “NEH-Preferred-Seal” – ESPL Foundation is now authorized to use the official NEH logo in its publications.

(Accomac, Virginia) January 14, 2020 – The Eastern Shore of Virginia’s heritage is now being recognized on the national level with a grant award of $500,000 to help in its preservation and accessibility. The Eastern Shore Public Library (ESPL) Foundation is included in the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announcement of $30.9 million in grants to support 188 humanities projects in 45 states and the District of Columbia.  The Foundation’s grant team was notified by Congresswoman Elaine Luria’s office.  The $500,000 supports the building project to fund equipment, furnishings, and technology not included in the construction contract for the new ESVA Heritage Center and regional library.

“Not only does this put the Eastern Shore’s history in the national limelight,” remarked Dr. Art Fournier, Chair of the Foundation’s Grant Committee, “but this also brings the ESVA Heritage Center into the NEH network of humanities institutions, opening doors to new collaborations, support, and opportunities.”  Fournier led a team of volunteers, staff, historians, and archivists that worked on the grant application.

This NEH federal grant further expands the public-private partnership in funding the new regional library and Heritage Center. The building project, now under construction in Parksley, Virginia, is being funded by a combination of private and community donations, county and state funding, and now a federal grant.  The construction will be completed in November 2020.  Fundraising, however, is still underway and naming opportunities are still available.

The ESVA Heritage Center will provide multimedia opportunities for teaching and learning humanities, particularly in the fields of history, archaeology and literature. Thus, The Heritage Center will serve as an invaluable resource for students and scholars of history, archaeology and literature locally, regionally and nationally.  It will provide the infrastructure for the archiving, cataloging, digitalization and dissemination of this superb collection of books, pamphlets, documents and photographs.


Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

For more information about the ESVA Heritage Center and regional library building project and to watch a live web-cam of the construction, visit www.shorelibrary.com.


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CONTACT:  Cara Burton, (757) 787-3400


New library construction

Photo above:  The progress on the construction of the new regional library being built in Parksley can be followed by live webcam.

(ACCOMAC, VIRGINIA) December 17, 2019 – The construction of the new regional library and Eastern Shore of Virginia Heritage Center is now viewable on live webcam at shorelibrary.com.  The installation and equipment for the webcam was donated by Bullfeathers and Netwavz.  TGD Communications of Alexandria, Virginia contributed the web design for this project.

In November 1977, Barney and Charlie Russell opened Bullfeathers Sound Shop in Parksley Va. We sold 45 records, 8 track tapes and consumer electronics. Over the years, Bullfeathers has evolved with the changes in technology. We now sell and install satellite TV, Smart Home devices, video surveillance and offer several internet services including their own “BULLFEATHERS CONNECT.”  Bullfeathers recognizes the new technology public libraries provide and which has prompted new needs for library facilities.

Construction is expected to be completed in one year.  Viewers will be able to view the building of the addition to the former grocery store, located at 24313 Bennett Street in Parksley, Virginia.  Construction is being done by R.H. Contracting of Atlantic, Virginia.  While the bricks and mortar are laid, volunteers with the Eastern Shore Public Library Foundation continue to raise funds to pay for the construction and the equipment for the 22,000 square foot facility.

Individuals wishing to contribute to the new library project can do so online at shorelibrary.com or using donation envelopes at the libraries.  Orders for donated bricks are currently being taken as well through the website or by using forms available at the libraries.  For more information, call the library Foundation’s fundraising office at (757) 787-3400.

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Off the shelf March 2019 ESPL news article

The Missing Jail of Eastville by Jenean Hall

  • Eastern Shore Public Library
    23610 Front Street
    P.O. Box 360
    Accomac, VA. 23301
    Phone: (757) 787-3400;
    (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

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