Success Stories

Joshua- sized.pngOur family recently relocated to Virginia Beach from Richmond, Virginia. Our son Joshua has been waiting for several months, with great anticipation, to gain hands-on experience with 3D printing. One of the first things we like to do when moving to a new area is join the local library. It is one of the most significant and valuable resources a community can offer! 

We soon learned of Virginia Beach Public Library’s 3D printer orientation class and the bonus of being able to print created objects for free! After Joshua took this class, he was over the moon with enthusiasm, confidence and motivation. He felt empowered to now be able to make his own creations with this fascinating technology, including the fidget spinners he’s showing in the photo. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for making technology accessible and affordable to everyone! 

-Natalia P. 

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I just wanted to reach out regarding the Summer Reading Challenge. We read with our kids every night. And now our son Thaddeus, who is 6 years old and going into 1st grade, is reading to his younger sister. He is halfway through the challenge at 500 minutes as of this week. He is starting to read on his own, just needs help with the bigger words and combined consonants. Because really, how many different sounds does “gh” make?! The kid was born for this! Thank you, libraries and VBPL staff, for all you do for the public.

-Maria M

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​I just moved to Virginia Beach from Brazil three months ago and I attended my first English Conversation Club at the Central Library in June. I came in very timid but felt very welcomed by the staff. I really liked the theme of the program, photography, because I worked as a photographer before in Brazil. I would like to continue this work here, and I was able to pass on a little of my knowledge to them. Your staff gave me all the support and explained how to look at photographs and to speak up in English. I left with a big smile, some new vocabulary and a burst of confidence. I’m looking forward to attending more English Conversation Clubs very soon!

-Talita M. 

To find out more about English Conversation Club and upcoming dates/locations, visit www.VBgov.com/library-events.

Children in a park with reflective vests and litter bags working together


​I was so excited when I saw VBPL posted their new Litter Kits on Twitter. I knew that I wanted to check one out and use it with my class on Earth Day. My initial goal was to have my fourth graders clean up our school yard. While cleaning up, it quickly turned into valuable discussions on what kinds of materials we were picking up and why some locations of our school yard had more litter than others! The kiddos made predictions on the weight of their collected trash and we discussed what could be recycled! When my own first grader saw the safety vests and trash grabbers, he quickly asked his teacher if his class could participate too! It was heartwarming to celebrate Earth Day making a difference and showing students that they could check out this very same Litter Kit and make an impact in their neighborhoods!

-Megan B., Fourth Grade Teacher at Providence Elementary School 

To find out more about VBPL's Litter Kits, see: Litter Kits :: VBgov.com - City of Virginia Beach



Kemp looking at a book with a stuffed bear.
Our four-year-old son, Kemp, was born with a severe congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). Simply put, he was born with half a heart. Kemp underwent three successful open-heart surgeries during the first three years of his life to “replumb” his half a heart to function more like a whole heart. And today, he’s doing AMAZING!
However, when he was first diagnosed in utero, we were warned of the many complications that accompany this condition such as developmental delays. So, it became all the more important to my husband and I to foster a love of reading and promote early literacy skills such as phonemic awareness and phonics. We both read to Kemp nightly, and when he was a baby/toddler, took full advantage of VBPL’s Storytime classes and ongoing special events. And then the pandemic hit…
Those days of quarantining with a high-risk toddler were scary and looooong but being able to hop in the car to go grab some good picture books from Princess Anne Public Library’s drive-through window was a godsend! Our rescue pup, Matty, was even eager to join us for the ride because she learned that the drive-through came with doggy treats!
We were so excited when the libraries were able to reopen safely. This past year alone, Kemp has checked out approximately 300 books! Visiting the Princess Anne, Joint-Use, or Pungo-Blackwater library has yet again become one of our cherished weekly traditions.
As for Kemp's development, he can already read independently, and he hasn’t even entered kindergarten yet! We attribute much of his literacy success to the ample opportunities and resources that the VBPL provides. Thanks for all you have done for our son and for the children of our community, VBPL. Your work truly matters! 

-Bevin R.

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My daughter Scarlett is competing in the 2022 Battle of the Books. She's a great reader but tends to stick to just a few genres, so it's been awesome to see her really get into some new areas. Her team has had so much fun discussing and quizzing each other. They're thinking of forming a book club so they can keep it up and can't wait to compete at the middle school level. Watching her engage with authors Kate K
aryus Quinn and Demitria Lunetta during VBPL's virtual Meet the Authors program was so sweet. She was giddy and I could tell it was a super fun fan moment for her! Thanks so much!

-Emily P. 

book club SS resized.pngWhat started as an occasional tweet between parent and principal, eventually grew into a full-blown book club! While the majority of conversations between myself and my son’s principal revolved around school, I noticed that her penchant for psychological thrillers was similar to mine. She started posting pictures of her book stash from Norfolk Public Library and I started adding titles to my hold list at Virginia Beach Public Library! I figured it was only right to return the favor and soon we were adding to each other’s lists. The real fun started when authors like Lisa Jewell and Ruth Ware would join in the fun in our Twitter conversations.
When I saw that VBPL was bringing their book club kits back, I thought it would be a great chance to engage both staff and parents alike and the interest was immediate. The first book we did was “By Invitation Only” by Dorothea Benton Frank; everyone loved the light nature of the book. For some, it is their first book club, which is incredibly exciting! I told the vice principal (who is also a bibliophile) that it’s a treat for the adults in our building to talk about something other than our kids/students! 

Thanks, VBPL!  -Lakshmi G.

A group of children stis amid bookshelves and tables at the library.


​It’s such a gift to be back in the library. Oh, how I missed it during quarantine days. I homeschool my three children and my niece and nephew; our little class consists of grades 2-7. On our recent visit to the Kempsville branch, the kids learned how to search by author, subject and title, and then how to narrow the search by material type and library location. They all did so well!  Thank you VBPL staff for your kindness and encouragement as they searched the shelves. Three cheers for LEGO bricks, cookbooks, Amelia Bedelia, pugs, graphic novels, drawing books and so much more! We even enjoyed a nature walk on the grounds. This, my friends, is a place of exploration!

- Charity M.

Genealogy computer and microfilm machine

​A few months ago, I sent VBPL a request for historical information about a local family’s genealogy and land ownership in the Kempsville area. Having worked in libraries myself for over 30 years, I knew a little about reference capabilities and was expecting a fairly simple answer or referral. To say that I was speechless after receiving a response doesn’t do it justice. VBPL’s Sara G. and other staff members searched tax records, property records and more from the 1800’s, all to provide me with a detailed answer. I am proud and very honored to call Sara G. and the VBPL staff library colleagues.

Very respectfully, - Connie K. from Oklahoma

Ryan


I have been using Universal Class through the library, taking online classes like Creative Writing for Beginners. From all of the classes I took, I learned how to write scripts, and how to type and format my books with Google Docs. On June 28, 2021 my book got published. If I hadn't learned about these writing methods, I never would have gotten my book published. Thanks, Virginia Beach Public Library!

-Ryan B.

Four children pouring vinegar into a baking soda volcano​We are a very pro-library family, with four children, ages 10, 8, 6 and 4, and I am so proud of Virginia Beach Public Library for going Fine Free for Kids! This program is a gift for kids and parents alike and will go a long way in promoting a love of reading! As a homeschooling family who uses VBPL as a curriculum source, we are particularly grateful. We have a regular library day each week that the kids look forward to; choosing their own books, checking out themselves, keeping track of their checkouts, and returning the items by themselves teaches them independence and responsibility. The wide variety of books and resources available (like hoopla and Take Home Tech) broadens our curriculum options and enriches our home education in a way we would otherwise not be able to afford. Thank you, VBPL!

-Katy C. 

Young person in sunglasses smiling beside rows of seedlings in egg carton planters.Our family just loves the Seed Library, especially my daughter Charlotte. Her Nana collected several months of seeds from the Princess Anne Library and when Charlotte was finished with school this year, we planted them all in cardboard egg cartons. She is so excited to take care of them and replant them when they are large enough. The seed packets came with helpful information for planting and Charlotte learned all about the life cycle of a plant and also what they need to grow - sun, water, & soil! Thank you, VBPL, for this wonderful opportunity!

-Jennifer C. 

Teen displaying ox painting​Our family has really enjoyed the virtual craft programs VBPL offered in recent months. The Teen Paint Night celebrating Lunar New Year wasdefinitely a favorite and my son loves his Year of the Ox painting! The clocks made from old CDs were so fun to create and ours now functions as our 'virtual classroom' clock. My favorite was the Alma Thomas and Her Art program using the many colorful mosaic tiles. I actually used the finished creation as part of a Valentine's Day gift for my son. We are excited to see what's in store for the spring and truly appreciate all the wonderful VBPL hosts!

-Brittany C. 

3 people posiong infront of a bridge

The Reading Road Trip was a blast in 2020! Despite the pandemic, I went on epic road trips to Spain, Paris, China, UK, Cuba, Savanna, Tangier Island, Sweden and so many more exciting places! All thanks to Virginia Beach Public Library. For real life travel, I do a majority of planning our trips using travel guides from VBPL. (Rick Steves is the best!!) I have such fond memories of going to Bayside library in the early 80’s with my mom and choosing picture book after picture book, and then going there in the late 80’s and rifling through microfiche after microfiche for school reports. Thanks for being there along the ride, VBPL!

-Mindi M. 

Unitra​"I chose to enroll in Career Online High School so I could finish my high school diploma; that accomplishment was important to me. I gained knowledge from the program and learned steps to successfully pursue a career. While I'm staying home now due to COVID-19 to be with my son who is in kindergarten online, my plans are to go into Corrections while I attend college for Criminal Justice. Thank you for the opportunity, Career Online High School!"

-Unitra L.

Two completed spooky paintings on display

“I love that the library is offering virtual classes during this crazy time, and that they have adult options! With two toddlers, COVID and no family nearby, date nights are harder to schedule. But the virtual Spooky Painting class allowed us to have a creative date night in. It was fun to create together and you can't beat free! We will be keeping an eye out for other adult crafting classes. Thank you VBPL for an amazing date night!”

-Erin J.

Person holding up the book "Gemina" by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff“I recently saw a post about thanking library workers! I have been one of those people posting videos and pictures without thanking my local library workers. I am beyond grateful for the VBPL library workers! I have been going to the same library since I was a kid and the library workers have been helping me renew my library card, find my holds, and search for books for years. For goodness sakes, I wrote my college essay about my local library! All the library workers have been so kind every time I come to pick up my stack of books. I could never express enough gratitude for the librarians working in the summer heat to provide pickup services during these tough times. Libraries are beautiful places, and they would not be possible without the librarians and volunteers who make them function. Don't forget to thank your local library workers!”

-Ciara V. 

Anne-Marie"Just thinking about how differently my life might have turned out were it not for our local public library growing up. It as a safe and nurturing space within walking distance of home, air conditioned in summer, with so many books inside. Thanks, VBPL!

-Anne-Marie A.

Cassandra in graduation cap and gown​"I just wanted to thank you for the life-changing experience of Career Online High School. Since obtaining my high school diploma (with a career certificate in Homeland Security), I went to TCC and gained my Medical Assistant certification. I now have decided to go back to college and become a nurse and I hope to start school in July to become an LPN. I'm trying to take full advantage of the opportunities given to me. I would advise people who are considering furthering their education to never give up! No matter how old you are, or what life has thrown your way, dream big! "You can't be what you can't see" by Marian Wright Edelman is a quote I live by. Thank you for this program and this opportunity; it truly changed my life."

-Cassandra G. 

Child holding books"When Sadie was little, we attended all the library classes; she just adored visiting the library. Once she started attending school, she missed the library visits and we made it a point to go weekly. We would check out 30 books at a time and consume them within the week! Every Saturday, we were back at the library getting new books. For her birthday, I said, “We can go anywhere. Where do you want to go?” She responded, “the library!” It was her favorite place in the world - that is until we couldn’t go anymore because of the coronavirus pandemic. Sadie quickly went through all the books we had at home and started rereading chapter books. She longed for the library and new books. Then I remembered all the valuable resources available online! She quickly began downloading and returning books daily. She easily reads between one and two chapter books from the digital library every day. We are so thankful for Virginia Beach libraries!

-Kimberly C.

Family of four​"VBPL,  I just want to say thank you for all the services you provide and all the help you have been to our family. We go to the Kempsville branch weekly but also visit other branches for different events and activities. My daughter loves your Teen Time, art classes, Knitting for a Cause and so many more. She is hoping to volunteer there when you all reopen! My son loves your comic book section, Brick Builders and Pokémon club. You were amazing during the remodel, letting us pick up holds at the Treasury Office. VBPL has become a part of our family and we dearly miss seeing the kind faces at Kempsville and other branches. I know you all are doing all you can, and I appreciate getting to keep my books until you reopen! Thank you for being such a lifeline to so many families. Looking forward to browsing the shelves very soon!"

-Jennifer N. 

Three children reading

"Every week or two I take my kiddos to the library. They all love looking at books and having me read to them. It's awesome that the library offers programs and incentives for children (and adults!). The kiddos especially look forward to the Summer Reading Challenge! They get rewarded for doing something they already do! It's so easy to keep track of books we read by logging onto the library website. When we go in to get more books, the assistants are able to log on to view everyone's progress. Everyone gets their reward, then we go get more books!! I usually let them play for a few minutes afterwards. They don't even mind when it's time to leave because they know we'll come home to read those books!"

-Rhonda ​

Group of eight Rowdy Library Ladies

​“I want to let you know how much I appreciate your librarians. I frequent Bayside Area Library and the Central Library with a group of friends; we call ourselves the Rowdy Library Ladies. At Bayside, we come every Tuesday for Coloring for Adults. Cathy H. makes sure that the room is set up and supplies are provided. She will even provide us with themed coloring sheets for holidays and such. She’s never without a smile and is truly a sweetheart. At Central Library, we’ve been coming to play games like dominoes, Left Center Right, UNO and Skip-Bo for about 3 years now and Kris M., Dotsy H., Susan H. and Sara G. are a joy to see each time. These ladies brighten my visits and each goes above and beyond to see that we have a wonderful time. I just want to thank them for all they do!”

-Joan

Six friends at a table"The Virginia Beach Public Library brought my book club together. Our members all differ in the way we like to read the chosen book- some like to download it from OverDrive onto their e-readers, others like to check out a physical copy and some like to listen to it on Hoopla. Through the library we have the opportunity to branch out in our choices of books and discover new reading material. This has helped improve our book discussion and most importantly, strengthen our friendship. Thank you VBPL for being a great resource for local book clubs!"

-Stephanie


Child sitting on an adult's lap looking at a book​"My son and I visit the library on an almost weekly basis. We enjoy looking through the shelves, and picking several books to read throughout the week. He also participates in the Summer Reading program, which I believe has increased his reading abilities and allowed him to explore and gain new interests.  also enjoy looking through the shelves, and often find interesting reads to enjoy."

-Kalie


Exterior picture of the Kempsville Area Library​​"We moved to Virginia Beach when our first child was five months old. A month later, I signed her up for 'Rhyme Time' library storytime with Miss Amy (at Kempsville Area Library), and every week we enjoyed singing, dancing, reading, signing, and picking out books at the library. It was there that I was able to make friends for both my daughter ​and myself, which led to play dates, shared birthday parties, and lots of fun together. We have since moved away from Virginia Beach and we now have eight children, but the friendships we made at story time and with our VAB librarians have continued to this day. We are so thankful for the investment they made in our family."

-Kirsten

Family of three"I moved here from a smaller town in a different state & was amazed at the amount of programs the library offers for free here. We have favorite staff at several locations & we sign up for kid programs every session! The library has helped me meet other moms in our kids' classes, taught my husband & I about the 3D printer, & offered lessons as I homeschool. We are so thankful for the library & it's many programs!"

-Angel

Baby biting plastic dinosaur​​"My little guy loves his toy he got from the summer reading program! Thank you guys so much for putting this on!! … I love the libraries."

-Rachael, mother of 2½-year-old Logan and 1-year-old Corbin (pictured)