Nestled in the heart of Petersburg, Virginia, the Petersburg Public Library is more than just a building; it’s a cherished cornerstone of our community. This year, we’re thrilled to mark a major milestone: the library’s 100th anniversary! Let’s take a journey through its rich history and the impact it’s had on generations of Petersburg residents.

Our story begins in the historic William R. McKenney Memorial Building, a place steeped in history. Built in 1859 as a private home by John Dodson, Petersburg’s first mayor, it has seen its fair share of notable figures pass through its doors, including General William Mahone, known as the “Hero of the Crater.” But it was a heartfelt gesture by Clara Pickrell McKenney that changed its course forever.

After the passing of her husband, William R. McKenney, a respected local politician, Clara generously gifted the building to the city in 1924. Her vision? To create a space for learning and community, a library and museum in honor of her beloved husband. Thus, the Petersburg Public Library was born, initially named the William R. McKenney Free Library.

Since then, the library has been so much more than a place to borrow books. It’s been a hub of learning, creativity, and connection. From hosting story times for kids to providing resources for job seekers, the library has been there for Petersburg residents every step of the way.

As we celebrate our centennial, we invite you to join us in honoring our past and looking forward to our future. We’ll be hosting a series of special events throughout the year, from historical exhibits to author talks and more. It’s our way of saying thank you to the community that has supported us for the past 100 years.

So here’s to the Petersburg Public Library: a place where stories come to life, where knowledge knows no bounds, and where community thrives. Here’s to the next 100 years of learning, growing, and celebrating together. See you at the library!