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Virginia Room Reopens After Makeover

The Roanoke Main Library’s newly renovated Virginia Room.

The Virginia Room at Roanoke’s Main Library will kick off the New Year with a month of events to help showcase what the specialized section of the downtown library is all about.

To help celebrate the Virginia Room’s recently renovated Research Library and Archives, an Open House was held on Thursday, Jan. 6. Folks were enticed to “Join kindred spirits to tour the facility, learn about the resources that are available, and enjoy refreshments.”

Throughout the month of January, the Virginia Room will host a series of “Lunch & Learn” classes to help both novices and experts get better acquainted with the resources in this unique research center. All of the following classes will be held in the Brody Room at the Main Library, from noon to 1 p.m. The classes’ titles alone hint at the wealth of information available to the community.

• “Using Legal Resources in Research”

Thursday, Jan. 13

Presenter: Joseph Klein, Law Librarian

Changes to laws regarding property, marriage, rights of women and African Americans can have an effect on the direction of your research. This program will shed light on how to track historical legislation as well as offer methods for finding historical legal decisions pertaining to your descendents.

• “Keeping Your Genealogical Records & Family Tree Organized”

Saturday, Jan. 15

Presenter: Don Vaughn, Southwest Genealogical Society Board Member

A genealogist shares his insights and experience in preserving family history and data, and the pros and cons of some popular software programs.

• “A Historian in the Virginia Room”

Thursday, Jan. 20

Presenter: Dr. John Kern, retired Regional Director of the Virginia

Department of Historic Resources

City directories, Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, census records, historic maps and photographs are essential research tools for historians and genealogists alike. Discover how to make use of and interpret these resources, which establish context for historical events.

• “Tangled Family Ties: A sometimes frustrating but always exciting search for my African American ancestors”

Saturday, Jan. 22

Presenter: Jewel Taylor, Genealogist

Ms. Taylor discovers that her family was not just ordinary folk leading ordinary lives, but that they were a resourceful people with unexpected ambitions and strengths.

Classes are free and open to everyone, but registration is required. Light refreshments will be provided, or bring a bag lunch.

The Virginia Room is located at the Main Library, 706 S. Jefferson St. For more information, call 540-853-2073 or visit

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