Working across the Commonwealth to unite communities of readers, writers, artists, and book lovers through year-round programs and partnership initiatives, the Center recognizes the enduring power of literature, storytelling, and the book arts to engage in public dialogue and promote intercultural understanding.

The Virginia Center for the Book works within a network of national affiliates to promote books, reading, literacy, and the literary life of Virginia. Through outreach and education initiatives, we seek to encourage all Virginians to develop a love of books and reading. These initiatives include our Book Arts program, a community of member artists exploring books, paper, and printmaking; regional and national collaborations to support diverse reading, including Route 1 Reads and Great Reads; resources for educators and librarians; grant support for community projects throughout the Commonwealth; and the annual Virginia Festival of the Book. 

Located in Charlottesville, the Virginia Center for the Book in the Jefferson School City Center is a space for community meetings and education. Outside of our physical space, we also continue to strive to reach all Virginians, through virtual programming, such as livestreamed author events; remote resources that are free for anyone with access to a computer, including discussion guides and recommended reading lists; and community partnerships with libraries and other nonprofits across the Commonwealth, which enable us to support local work that aligns with our mission.

About the Library of Congress
Center for the Book

As an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the Virginia Center for the Book also collaborates nationally to promote books and libraries, literacy and reading as well as poetry and literature. The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress was established by public law in 1977 and incorporates several private-public partnerships designed to implement programs, awards and prizes in order to nurture and expand a culture of literacy and reading. Since its founding, the Library of Congress Center for the Book has established affiliate centers throughout the United States. The Center’s mission is also carried out internationally through its overseas affiliates. Additionally, more than 80 organizations have been designated Center for the Book reading promotion partners both in the United States and abroad.

Our Programs, Events, and Classes

Virginia Center for the Book events and classes are planned to provide a variety of ways to engage with our work, from Book Arts workshops and week-long intensives, to poetry readings, panel discussions, and art openings. The majority of our public events are completely free to attend. Our classes and workshops are fee-based in order to provide compensation for our teachers, most of whom are working artists. People with all levels of skills in book arts are encouraged to explore our class listings to find classes from Beginner to Advanced, based on your existing experience.  

Some of our past events and classes include:

  • Bookbinding Core Skills Intensive: This four-part Bookbinding Core series of workshops prepares participants to undertake a wide range of projects and additional classes in intermediate and advanced bookbinding techniques and book structures.
  • Shelf Life: This ongoing series of virtual Virginia Festival of the Book programming presents authors—across all genres and for all reading levels—in conversation about their work, livestreaming each week and free to watch. 
  • Book Arts Speakers Series: This series of free events features talks by book arts experts on topics from typography and letterpress to papermaking and public art. 
  • The Power of Poetry & Rhyme: Author Marc Boston (The Girl Who Carried Too Much Stuff) and students from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia presented their original stories and poetry at this fun event for the whole family, presented in collaboration with the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library.

Explore our current listings of upcoming classes and events to learn more about what’s currently on the calendar! 

Our Team

With expertise in traditional and digital publishing, letterpress printing, book arts, reading, and more, our staff members are passionate about books in all their forms.

Headshot of Jane Kulow

Jane Kulow

Director, Virginia Center for the Book
Headshot of Sarah Lawson

Sarah Lawson

Assistant Director, Virginia Center for the Book
Headshot of Garrett Queen

Garrett Queen

Book Arts Program Director

Community Partners

We depend on partnerships with community organizations, businesses, and other groups in Virginia to help us plan events and classes that are responsive to local and regional needs and engaging for residents across Virginia.