Eastern Shore Public Library

Library Updates

ESVA Heritage Center collections assist community initiatives

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In preparation for the Board of Trustees Strategic Planning project, staff was asked to prepare recommendations of our own departmental goals for consideration by the Board. To that end staff has been looking over the Heritage Center’s Mission, Vision and Value Statements which were approved by the Board last month.

At the same time, we answered a query from the Eastern Shore of Virginia Rail Trail Working Group partnership, the group tasked with promoting and supporting development of a 50-mile hiking and bicycling trail along the Eastern Shore’s railroad line. As a member of the partnership, Library Director Cara Burton asked staff to check our digital image collections for photos of the railroad and tracks for a rack card the group is creating.

The request (and Director Cara Burton’s involvement as a member of the group) ties into the second bullet point of the ESVA Heritage Center Value Statement about partnerships: “We build collaborative relationships with educational systems, cultural institutions, community-based organizations and local governments.” And it fits with the first bullet of Historical Stewardship which states that we will “share our rich heritage.”

We were happy to contribute to a Shore-wide economic and cultural development project. It also provided a great opportunity for us to spread the word about our diverse collections to members of the group and to anyone picking up that rack card in the future. The Heritage Center is not just about collecting our history but making it as accessible and available as possible – not only for the benefit of individual researchers, but also for the benefit of the greater community.

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Coming soon – a website for the new ESVA Heritage Center!

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The existing online presence of local history and genealogy at Eastern Shore Public Library is, much like the current Eastern Shore Room’s physical presence, just one small component of the larger library system. That was sufficient when local history was simply one part of the library’s services, but as we grow into the Heritage Center – a state of the art archive and Eastern Shore of Virginia history cornerstone – we need a website that reflects that expansion and conveys our new role in the community. As we have outgrown our building, we have also outgrown our website.

A new, more intuitively and professionally designed website will make our collections much more accessible to the public—both in person and virtual visitors. Users will be able to easily learn about our online and archival collections and resources in the Eastern Shore Room, how to prepare for a visit to the Heritage Center and how to contribute to our collections.

It will demonstrate how the Heritage Center fosters a culture of “citizen historians” who document, share and preserve local history by a variety of means, big and small, from learning how to preserve their own family photos to self-publishing and podcasting. This updated and modern website will reinforce the Eastern Shore Room’s reputation as a trustworthy repository of information and support for local history and genealogy research, a reputation fostered by Dr. Miles Barnes during his 40 years of service to the library.

TGD Communications have met with staff to determine the the site’s purpose and components, work out a timeline for the project and discuss the first phase of site navigation via a wireframe. A wireframe is a two-dimensional skeletal outline of a webpage that provides overview of the page structure, layout, information architecture and functionality, therefore text, color, and graphics are kept to a minimum. This process allows all stakeholders to agree on where the information will be placed before the design process begins.

Though still a few months away from a final product, we are so excited to have this project underway!

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“Colored Voters” Register: A Valuable Resource Worth Saving

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The Eastern Shore of Virginia regional public library and Heritage Center is now under construction in Parksley, to be completed this spring. The state-of-the-art Heritage Center aims to bring Eastern Shore stories to light through its extensive reading room collections, microfilm and especially valuable primary source documents in the archives. This is the story of one item in the collections, a voting register.

After a year of debate, Virginia passed a new state constitution that went into effect July 1, 1902. Its effect on the electorate as a whole was disastrous, but for African Americans it was particularly devastating. New voter qualifications such as payment of land taxes, a literacy test and a $1.50 poll tax caused the numbers of all voters in Accomack County –White and Black – to drop significantly from what they had been just after the Civil War. African Americans living in Accomack County, for instance, saw their share of the electorate drop precipitously, from 40% before 1902 to only 12% after the new constitution was adopted.  Among that 12% was fifty-year-old oysterman and father Parker Handy, born in 1852. Also the Rev. G.H.T. Byrd, who in 1902 was a deacon at Jerusalem Baptist Church but who later broke off from that congregation to help found and become Pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Temperanceville. Another was Alfred Justice, a 60-year-old laborer born in 1845 and a Civil War veteran who had served in the 2nd Infantry, Company A, United States Colored Troops. Younger men born after the war also registered to vote in 1902 like farmer George D. Justice, age 29, born in 1875. Their names were recorded at that historic moment in the “List of Colored Voters Registered at Temperanceville Precinct in Atlantic Magisterial District.” The actual register is held in Eastern Shore Public Library’s archives, but a complete digital image is now available to view on our website at https://espl.org/genealogy/digitalhistory/

The book also reveals those few Black women in northern Accomack County who registered in 1920 when passage of the 19th Amendment legalized women’s suffrage. Women like Mary F. Brown, 44, a housewife and mother who lived with her family in Withams. And 30-year-old Estella Tull, also of Withams, who was listed as a housewife when she registered to vote October 2, 1920, but who later became a schoolteacher. Not only is the register a monument to local historical events, it is a monument to family. Everyday people – a laborer, a farmer, a mother – left their mark on history and are a part of the story of a place and its people. For their descendants, many of whom still live on the Shore today, individual lines in a register reveal an important piece of their family story. A seemingly distant and abstract historical fact – Virginia adopted a new state constitution in 1902 – can become very personal. ESPL invites you to learn more about your own family’s story with it’s genealogical and local history resources here.

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Posted by cburton on

(ACCOMAC, VIRGINIA) October 6, 2021 – Halloween is near and Eastern Shore Public Library is celebrating! Throughout the month of October, the Library is hosting a Hallow-Read Challenge on Beanstack, the online reading program! This new children’s activity combines fun reading and art challenges by visiting espl.beanstack.org and selecting the Hallow-Read 2021 Challenge. Complete the Challenge for cool prizes that will be awarded throughout the month.  Hallow-Read is free and open to any Eastern Shore of Virginia child aged 1 to 18 years. A library card is not required.

Eastern Shore Public Library in Accomac and Northampton Free Library in Nassawadox will also have activity bags full of all kinds of Halloween goodies including an adorable bat puppet craft, an activity booklet, and goodies. Stop by and visit one of the two libraries to pick up a free kit.

Library staff would love to see all the arts and crafts you do during the month so feel free to tag them on Instagram at @esplyouthservice.

If you have any questions about the programs or using Beanstack, please email Tiffany Flores, Youth Services Librarian, at youthservices@espl.org or call 757-787-3400.

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Board of Trustees Minutes FY2020-2021

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Below are approved minutes.  Board packets are available in another post on our website.

ESPL Board minutes February 2021 APPROVED

ESPL Board minutes Dec 8 2020 APPROVED

ESPL Board minutes April 2021 APPROVED.docx

ESPL Board minutes August 2020 APPROVED.docx

ESPL Board minutes January 2021 APPROVED.docx

ESPL Board minutes July 2020 APPROVE

ESPL Board minutes June 2021 APPROVED.docx

ESPL Board minutes March 2021 approved.docx

ESPL Board minutes May 2021 APPROVED.docx

ESPL Board minutes November 2020 APPROVED

ESPL Board minutes October 2020 APPROVED.docx

ESPL Board minutes September 2020 APPROVED

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Read an ebook day

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A celebration of modern storytelling (and a contest!)

Be a part of the festivities on September 18th by checking out your favorite eBook from your library and then join the conversation by sharing what you’re reading and stories about why you love eBooks.

The Libby app is the easiest way to get started with eBooks, eAudiobooks, and digital magazines – all available through the Eastern Shore Public Library at libbyapp.com

To enter the Read an eBook Day contest at the ESPL, simply email us at espl@espl.org between September 18th and October 2nd and tell us which eBook you are reading. You’ll be entered in a drawing for a gift card to The Book Bin in Onley.

You’re also welcome to share your favorite eBook reads with the wider world by using the hashtag #ebookLove on social media.

Discover the joys of digital reading with the Eastern Shore Public Library and Libby!

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Join the Big Library Read!

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World’s Largest Digital Book Club and Eastern Shore Public Library Hunt for the Truth

Thrilling and suspensefulThe Quiet Girl” ebook now available for reading and discussion beginning Monday, June 28th!

Local book lovers can join thousands of readers around the world in reading a debut mystery/thriller eBook during the Big Library Read, the world’s largest digital book club. Through July 12, patrons of the Eastern Shore Public Library (ESPL) can borrow and read ebook copies of this summer’s selection, S.F. Kosa’s “The Quiet Girl,” with no waitlists or holds.

The Quiet Girl begins with struggling entrepreneur Alex’s arrival in Provincetown to patch things up with his new wife, Mina. He finds an empty wine glass in the sink, her wedding ring on the desk, and a string of questions in her wake. The police believe that Mina, a successful romance author, simply left, their marriage crumbling before it truly began. But what Alex finds in their empty cottage points him toward a different reality: Mina has always carried a secret. And now she’s disappeared. In his hunt for the truth, Alex comes across Layla, a young woman with information to share, who may hold the key to everything his wife has kept hidden. To find his missing wife, Alex must face what Layla has forgotten.

The Big Library Read is an international reading program that connects millions of readers around the world with an eBook through public libraries. The Quiet Girl can be read on all major computers and devices through Libby or libbyapp.com, including iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phones and tablets and Chromebook™. Through Libby, readers can also “send to Kindle®”. The title will automatically expire at the end of the lending period, and there are no late fees.

ESPL readers can solve the mystery by visiting https://espl.org/how-do-i/audiobooks-and-ebooks/ to download the Libby app on their desktop or mobile device. The Big Library Read also offers an online discussion board and a live author interview on July 7th (registration required) at biglibraryread.com. This free program runs for two weeks and only requires an ESPL library card to get started. Apply for a library card online at https://esplva.booksys.net/opac/espl/#menuHome, or visit an ESPL location to apply in person. Contact the ESPL with any questions about this program at (757)787-3400 between 10 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

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Automatic Renewals Are Here!

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Life can get hectic. Here’s a bit of help.

Sometimes when life is busy, due dates for your borrowed library materials can come and go before you even notice. Thanks to a new feature in our library software, most checked out items will automatically renew to give you more time to enjoy them and less stress about return dates.

All library items, except requested items, new books, new audiobooks, and DVDs will automatically renew until the renewal limit is reached (usually two renewals). Your due dates will be updated, and if you have an email address on file, you’ll receive an email with your extended due dates.

For the materials that don’t automatically renew, like new books, new audiobooks, and DVDs, it is still possible to renew them by accessing your patron account on ShoreCat, or by calling your library branch. As long as no other patron has requested the items, or the items haven’t reached their renewal limit, we’re happy to renew them for you.

To make sure you receive notifications and updates, now is a great time to add an email address to your library account, if you haven’t already done so. Please email espl@espl.org or call the Accomac library at 757-787-3400, M-F, 11 am – 5 pm.

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Social Security: What Every Retiree Should Know

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Social Security: What Every Retiree Should Know

Social Security benefits help secure a comfortable retirement.  Retirees and their family need to be aware of the ways to protect this financial benefit.  Eastern Shore Public Library is hosting a free virtual program by the Shore’s Social Security Administration’s Public Affairs Specialist on Friday, April 2, at 12:00/noon. This 30-minute program focuses on fraud prevention, survivor benefits, SSA’s online services, and concerns about the solvency of Social Security trust funds. The program is specifically designed for those already receiving Social Security benefits. Registration is required and attendance can be by phone or online. To register, click here or call the library at 757-787-3400.

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