MRL Celebrates Its 90th Year and Launches “Century of Stories” Oral History Project

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November 08, 2018

On Saturday, November 17, Massanutten Regional Library will celebrate its 90th anniversary with a birthday celebration at the Central Library in downtown Harrisonburg. This family-friendly event will run from 1pm - 3:30 pm in the library’s meeting rooms and children’s youth center. The celebration will feature cake and refreshments, children’s games and activities, and a pop-up museum of library memorabilia and vintage equipment.
 
The celebration will also mark the launch of “Century of Stories,” an oral history project exploring the role, place & idea of Massanutten Regional Library in our community. During the birthday celebration, library staff and volunteers will be holding the first of many story gathering sessions focused on collecting stories about MRL from community members, both young and old, throughout Rockingham and Page Counties and the City of Harrisonburg. More interviews and story gathering events will take place over the next decade as MRL counts down to its 100th birthday in 2028.
 
Massanutten Regional Library traces its origins back to the establishment of the Rockingham Library Association in 1928. In  the same year that saw the publication of The House at Pooh Corner and the screen debut of Mickey Mouse, members of the Harrisonburg Kiwanis Club founded the Rockingham Library Association with a goal of creating a library that would serve the residents of our area for decades to come. Their vision became reality when, in November of 1928, the Rockingham Public Library opened in the Professional Building on the corner of South Main & Bruce Streets in downtown Harrisonburg.
 
Although opened less than one year before the stock market crash of 1929, the Rockingham Public Library survived the disruption of the Great Depression, and in the midst of World War II the library began to expand. In 1943, the library purchased its first bookmobile, and mobile library service began to Rockingham County in 1944 and to Page County in 1946. That same year, Rockingham County, Page County and Harrisonburg agreed to form a regional library system. The 1947 opening of the Page Public Library in Luray marked the establishment of the new system’s first permanent branch outside of Harrisonburg.
 
Over the next half century, community members organized and opened libraries in Elkton (1965), Shenandoah (1972), Broadway (1975) and Bridgewater (1995). In 2000, all of these libraries combined with Rockingham Public Library and Page Public Library to form Massanutten Regional Library. The opening of the Grottoes Branch Library in 2000 brought the system to its current size.
 
Birthday celebrations will take place at all branches of MRL during the week of November 12. Patrons, friends and community members are invited to drop in and enjoy cake and refreshments:

  • Tuesday, November 13 @ Shenandoah Community Library
  • Wednesday, November 14 @ North River Library, Bridgewater
  • Thursday, November 15 @ Page Public Library, Luray
  • Friday, November 16 @ Elkton Community Library                    
  • Friday, November 16 @ Grottoes Branch Library
  • Friday, November 16 @ Village Library, Broadway

 Branch addresses and hours of operation are available at www.mrlib.org.
 
About Massanutten Regional Library
Massanutten Regional Library serves the residents of the City of Harrisonburg and Rockingham and Page Counties, with branches located in Bridgewater, Broadway, Elkton, Grottoes, Harrisonburg, Luray and the town of Shenandoah. Library patrons have access to over 297,000 books, DVDs, audiobooks, ebooks, online learning and research tools, and other resources. Residents can obtain a free library card by visiting their local MRL branch.

Contact:
Michael Evans, Director of Advancement
(540)434-4475 x135