All posts by Sandy

Look What We Found!

A section of George Keller’s Will (via the Hottle-Keller Association)

On Tuesday, April 9 at 6:30 Karen Cooper from the Hottle Keller Association will present a program about some of the rare historical documents found in the Shenandoah Germanic Heritage Museum  The event is free and open to the public at the Shenandaoh County Library in Edinburg. Come help us celebrate local history and our own archival research collections in the Shenandaoh Room and Truban Archives!

“Look What We Found!”  Papers and Memorabilia in the Shenandoah Germanic  Heritage Museum”.

The Shenandoah Germanic Heritage Museum is located at the Keller Homestead west of Toms Brook and 1 and 1/2 miles south of Mt Olive just off the Back Road (#623).  The papers fall into four main categories and span two centuries.  There are materials collected by Ephraim Baker, and these range from 1822 to the beginning of the Twentieth Century.  Among these are Civil War Bonds and letters, militia appointments, a militia list, items concerning the care for poor and indigent, requests for advice in handling government policies after the Civil War, IOUs store ledgers and much more.

There are several generations of Keller materials.  Some of them complement the Baker records, while others describe for us the importance of the Toms Brook area in the rebuilding of the County and the Valley after the Civil War.  The railroad, the development of modern modes of transportation and farming are clear from the many ads and items from this 1880s – 1940s time frame.

A collection on the Shaver Family and a large amount of Rosenberger information adds to our understanding. The history of the development of the Hottel Keller Association and the Hottel Keller Memorial, Incorporated, along with many pictures and materials about the extended Hottel and Keller families and their neighbors helps to fill in the picture of life in the extended Toms Brook, Fishers Hill, Mt. Olive, Saumsville area with its many small villages and extended trade networks.

The papers also give details about schools, churches and cemeteries.  Apples to England, Chevys from Detroit, opossums for credit, school books passed down through the generations – so many facets of our local every day activities are coming to life as these papers are unwrapped, and cataloged.  Many of these materials seem to have never been unfolded or unbound.

Election Day is Coming Soon!

It’s election season, and voting day is just around the corner. By now, you probably have an opinion about the Presidential candidates, but do you know who else is on the ballot? How about where to vote? Here’s a quick guide to find out some of the finer details before you head out to cast your ballot:

Virginia State Board of Elections
If you live in Virginia, the State Board of Elections is a one-stop shop for just about everything you need to know except which candidate you should pick. Non-partisan, and authoritative, their website answers:

  • Am I registered?
  • Where do I vote?
  • What’s on the Ballot?
  • What ID should I bring

And, of course, much more. If you live in Virginia and have any questions about election day, this should be your first stop.

Can I Vote?
If you live in another state – or need to help a family member who does – your next visit should be This non-partisan site is maintained by the National Association for the Secretaries of State and serves as a comprehensive resource for questions about voting.

Internet Public Library – Election and Voting
Curated by librarians (who else?) the Internet Public Library Election Guide has information about both partisan, non-partisan and mainstream media resources to satisfy all but the most rabid election-mania.

Visit your local Library
If you still want more information, just stop by and see us. We can answer just about any question you might have. Except, of course, exactly which candidate should get your vote!

Preserving Local History

A few months ago, the Shenandoah County Library became the official repository for an 80-year archive of the Northern Virginia Daily. As part of that process, we contacted the Library of Virginia to see if the paper archives at the newspaper offices might be of interest to them as part of their Virginia Newspaper Project.

We are happy to report that the Library of Virginia staff was very interested in preserving these papers, and have arranged with the publisher of the Northern Virginia Daily to have them microfilmed and digitized as an important historical record for future generations.

At a recent statewide meeting, I had the opportunity to meet some of the people involved in the project and see first-hand the efforts being made to restore and preserve these papers. Errol Somay, head of the project, was especially thrilled at finding this large collection of pre-1923 newspapers. “We really thought we had identified all the large collections in the state…and because they were all published before 1923 they are out of copyright and we can post them free on the project’s website.”

Take a look at some pictures of this work being done at the Library of Virginia. Once the microfilming is complete, the Northern Virginia Daily will receive a copy and we expect to add this to the deposit collection in Edinburg.

A page from the Woodstock Times featuring a political cartoon, local features and advertisements from the early 1900s.
A member of the preservation staff works to restore a sheet of newsprint from the archive. All preservation work is non-destructive, and reversible to maintain the integrity of the historical document.
Henry Morse (front) and Errol Somay show a tour group a six-month run of the Middletown Weekly, most likely a one-of-a-kind collection found in the archives of the Northern Virginia Daily.

Need a Library Card? There’s an App(lication) for That!

So far this month we have issued 550 new library cards! Are you one of our newest members? If not, we have made it easier than ever for you to get a library card. If you live, work, own property, or go to school in Shenandoah County a new library card is just a few clicks away.

Just visit our online registration form from any computer with internet access and register your information. After that stop by any of our six locations to pick up your card.

If you are 18 or older all you need is a driver’s license with your current local address. If you don’t have that handy, bring in:

  • Proof that you live, work, or own property in the county
  • A valid photo ID

If you are under 18, come in with a parent or guardian who has a library card and they can get one for you. Or, have your parent or guardian fill out and sign a student registration form. Return that form the library and we will mail your card to your home address.

Getting a library card has never been easier, so what are you waiting for? And don’t worry, even though September is national library card month, we’ll still give you one if you come in during the other 11 months of the year. We hope you’ll join the club soon!

E-books: no download required!

Are you interested in e-books but don’t have an e-reader? Or maybe you don’t know how to download them? We have you covered! You can now check out an e-reader, preloaded with 10-12 popular titles, at any one of our six locations.

Starting on July 20, we loaded twenty two Barnes & Noble Nooks with popular titles such as Fifty Shades of Grey, and the Hunger Games Trilogy and started offering them for checkout. We think this is a great way for you to read the books you want, the way you want them, even if you don’t own an e-reader. You can check these out for two weeks, renew them, and place holds just like a book. And all you have to do is turn it on and start reading! The only thing you need to check these out is a valid library card – no computer, internet connection or account registration required!

Visit any of our six locations to learn more and check one out for yourself.  We have six different collections – bestseller fiction, popular non-fiction, mystery/thriller, romance, teen, and christian fiction. Want to know exactly what’s loaded on these? Just search our library catalog for “nook collection” and Hope to see you in soon, and happy reading!

80 Years of History – NVD Archives at the County Library

We are pleased to announce a partnership with the publisher of the Northern Virginia Daily to house their entire microfilm archive dating from September, 1932 through February 2012. An important part of the library’s mission is preserving the historical record. Having this collection on loan from the Northern Virginia Daily helps us fulfill that mission.

These issues cover daily life in the county, national and international events, and chronicle the lives of multiple generations of residents. Whether you’re looking for what was in the news on the day you were born, working on a history project, or trying to find an obituary for a family member, these pages are a great place to start your research.

Come out to the County Library in Edinburg and take a look! We have two microfilm machines, and staff available to help you get started. If you find what you’re looking for, you can scan it, print it, save it and even email it to yourself using our digital microfilm station. Want to know what other historical documents we have on microfilm? Make sure to check out our microfilm holdings online before coming in to do your research.

Staff Spotlight – Pat Shelton

In June, we welcomed Pat Shelton to the library team as our newest Circulation Assistant. She’s been busy learning all about our library but has plenty of experience doing library work.

Pat served as a librarian at Broadway High School for 28 years before retiring in 2005, and continued part time until 2010 administering SOL tests. She holds a BS from James Madison University with a Library Science major and a History minor. In her spare time Pat enjoys doing local history research and antiquing. She has also served on the board of the Shenandoah County Historical Society.

Pat is always ready with a smile and a friendly attitude. When you ask her what she likes about working here, she says

I am delighted when I can help a patron find exactly what he or she was hoping to find.  Also, seeing a child’s face light up over a book is gratifying.

We’re glad to have Pat on board and hope you’ve had a chance to come in and meet her. If you haven’t, stop by and say hi – we love getting to know the people we see using the library every day!

A Summer Reading Flow Chart

Reading during the summer months is one of the key components to succeeding in school. Recent research indicates that children who do not read over the summer may lose up to three months of reading progress.

That’s why we offer our Summer Reading Club each year, and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone for another great season. The folks over at have also put together a flow chart to help students (and, of course, their parents) find just the right thing to pique their interest outside of the classroom.

The Summer Reading Flow Chart let’s you drill down based on your interests and find just the right book to suit your mood. If you’re looking for a quick pick this is a great place to start.

Don’t stop there though! We are always happy to give you recommendations when you come by the library. And we hope you’re using our fabulous, free, Novelist tool to look up series titles, author read-alikes, and age-appropriate reading lists. Whether it’s lighthearted reading or you want to get back to the classics, the library is the place to be. Join us all summer long and most importantly, keep reading!

Continue reading to see the full chart:

Continue reading A Summer Reading Flow Chart

Fort Valley Climate Day Banner

Fort Valley, Virginia United States
Photo by Jack Evans

On Saturday, May 5 a group of Fort Valley residents participated in Climate Impacts Day as part of the Library’s “Spring Fling” event. Following a presentation by Fort Valley Library volunteer Katharine Layton the group made a banner showing images of climate change and renewable energy sources. You can view a photo of the Fort Valley banner and others from around the world at the Flickr page.

The Henkel Physicians in New Market

Have you stopped by to see our  exhibition about the Henkel family physicians? The Henkels were a prominent family in New Market during the 19th century with a legacy still alive today. Through the end of the month, the library system is hosting this exhibition made possible by the National Library of Medicine. The panels focus on the correspondence of Casper Coiner Henkel, owner of the still-standing C.C. Henkel House in New Market and physician in Stonewall Jackson’s brigade during the Civil War. The letters are available online at the National Library of Medicine’s website, and even more information is available in 1861: Life in the Shenandoah Valley by Henkel descendants Janet Ramsey and Elsie Newcomer.

The exhibition is in Edinburg through May 17, and will be in New Market from May 18 through the end of the month. Stop by either location and take a look. Want to know even more about the Henkels? Take a few minutes to watch a video introduction to the exhibition by local historian Dr. Betty Karol Wilson.