Martinsville Branch History
Library service in the Martinsville and Henry County area began when a twenty member Martinsville Women’s Club conceived the idea to buy books to be circulated during the year 1913 and then donate them to form a library. It was located on the first floor of City Hall (pictured at right), moved to the second floor, and finally in 1928 the third floor. In 1931, local citizens formed the Library Association, charging $1.00 annually for membership rights.
At the end of World War II, Martinsville citizens organized a War Memorial Library Association, elected officers and trustees, and appointed committees to solicit donations and buy property. The Andes house (pictured at left) on Church Street was purchased for $25,000 in 1946 and remodeled in 1949. By 1950, the library had over 6,000 volumes and a circulation of 13,000. In 1961, the Martinsville Memorial Library, Inc. was formed to raise money for a new building. About $150,000 had to be raised by civic organizations and individual contributors. In 1962, the Andes house was demolished to make way for the present building.
The new library (pictured at right) was opened in 1963. This same building, with a few additions and some rearrangement, housed the library's collection for over twenty years. In 1974, the Collinsville Branch opened. In that same year, the Patrick County Branch joined, creating the Blue Ridge Regional Library system. In 1984, a seven-week capital campaign was initiated raising $1.5 million to build the regional headquarters. For 15 months, library operations moved to the Patrick Henry Mall. The newly refurbished and expanded headquarters building (pictured below) was dedicated on September 28, 1986. Four years later saw the addition of the Ridgeway Branch and two years after that, the Bassett Branch.
The Martinsville Branch offered its first public Internet workstation in the second half of 1996. In 2008, there are 15 of these workstations and 7 more children and adult computers in use for educational games and word processing needs. From June 2008 to June 2009, we have circulated over 204,000 items, answered over 18,500 reference questions, and served 147,765 patrons and guests.