History of the Library

Jones Memorial Library, the second oldest public library in Virginia, opened in June 1908. The Library had been the dream of George Morgan Jones, philanthropist and industrialist of Lynchburg, but the dream was never realized in his lifetime. As a memorial to her husband, Mary Frances Watts Jones financed the construction and equipping of the library. During the latter years of her life, she was actively involved in the day-to-day operation of the Library. In her will, Mrs. Jones provided for the continued support of the Library through the establishment of an endowment. To this day, the Library receives no public monies and our operating budget is funded primarily from this endowment.

The Lynchburg Public Library, a tax-supported institution, opened in 1966. Realizing that it could not compete in the area of collection development, Jones Memorial Library concentrated its collection efforts in its genealogical and historical holdings. As a result, the Library’s collection in this area of research is one of the largest in the state.

In order to preserve its valuable collection, the Library moved in July 1987 from 434 Rivermont Avenue to our current location at 2311 Memorial Avenue. The new facility offers modern temperature and humidity controls for the protection of the collection, as well as comfortable research facilities and adequate parking facilities for patrons of the Library.

In 1993, the book collection of the Library was catalogued to current professional standards and the records were entered into the library database maintained by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). As a result, the Library book collection, and, in addition, the manuscript collections and architectural archives, may now be reviewed through online computer networks throughout the world.