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VCU Libraries breaks events records in 2016-17 academic year

June 28, 2017

In the first full academic year in the new library building with its 300-seat Lecture Hall, VCU Libraries broke records for events in the 2016-2017 academic year. The number of events hosted nearly quadrupled from 69 events in the 2015-2016 academic year to 250 for 2016-2017. Attendance more than doubled, rising from roughly 12,000 attendees to more than 29,000.

The single largest event of the year was the Friends of VCU Libraries Annual Book Sale, which returned after a two-year absence with an enormous backlog of materials donated by members of the Richmond community. After two intensive weeks of setup in the Cabell Library Lecture Hall (get a glimpse of the process on our YouTube channel) and support from the Friends of VCU Libraries Board and the VCU Emerging Leaders Program, the 2016 sale saw its highest sales revenue yet and more than 13,000 attendees. Save the date for the upcoming 2017 sale.

In February, the libraries celebrated the 15th anniversary of its Annual Black History Month Lecture. Recent Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winner Colson Whitehead read from and discussed his critically acclaimed new novel, The Underground Railroad, and inspired a crowd of 350 attendees. View a photo album of the event as well as photos highlighting other keynote speakers from the Black History Month Lecture through the years.

2016-17 was a year of many important developments for the libraries. Among these was the start of new era for the Annual Brown-Lyons Lecture. Jack Spiro, one of Richmond's most beloved speaker and authorities on Jewish faith and culture, retired in spring 2016 after having delivered 17 of the 31 lectures (watch his final lecture on our YouTube channel). For the 32nd lecture, American Studies scholar Marni Davis, author of Jews and Booze: Becoming American in the age of Prohibition, offered a candid exploration of a seldom-discussed chapter in American history.

The day of the Brown-Lyons Lecture, the libraries also celebrated an important donation to Special Collections and Archives, a Holocaust-surviving Sefer Torah. This gift from alumni Martin L. Johnson, M.D., and Olinda Young originated in Romania circa 1750. The celebration took the form of a musical procession through Cabell Library, complete with a Klezmer band, where attendees, students and library employees danced and clapped as the Torah was carried through the building. The event on YouTube 

Stay up-to-date about future events by checking our list of  upcoming events or subscribing to the e-newsletter. And find out how to get involved to help the libraries grow further.

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VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
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Richmond, VA 23298-0582
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