Timeline of the Fairfax County Public Library


The Fairfax County Public Library Bookmobile, July 1948.1889 - The Fortnightly Club of Herndon establishes a library.

1890s - Bookmobile serves northwestern part of Fairfax County.

1897 - The Town of Vienna forms a library association and builds a facility on Library Lane. As of 2009, this original building still stands on the property of Freeman House.

1899 - The Women's Club of Falls Church establishes a community library.

Early 1900s - Town of Fairfax establishes a library.

Before 1915 - McLean establishes a library.

First County-wide library (1929 - 1940)

1929 - The first attempt is made to establish a County-wide library, which was to be located in the old County clerk’s office when the office was not needed for official County purposes.

1932 – Fairfax County Public Library acquires a volunteer librarian, Mrs. H.M.F. Palmer. The books and office equipment are housed in the Old Cavaliers of Virginia Hall, owned by the Fairfax County School Board, next to the Fairfax Elementary School.

1938 - Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce proposes a consolidation of library services to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in order to include both urban and rural areas of the County. Branches are to be established in heavily populated areas and bookmobile service to all other residents. The Chamber appoints a library committee.

1939 - Fairfax County Free Library is established by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The first Board of Trustees is appointed by the judge of the Circuit Court.


  • The name Fairfax County Free Library is changed to the Fairfax County Public Library.
  • The Board of Supervisors provides land behind the County Courthouse and a cinderblock building is constructed.
  • The Board of Supervisors appropriates $250 in March 1940 to help establish the countywide free library system.
  • The Fairfax Town Library Board of Trustees is appointed and requests supplemental funds from the State Library Board under the Federal Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.).
  • A separate county library fund is established.
  • First County-wide bookmobile in a truck loaned by the W.P.A.
  • First salaried county librarian, John S. Mehler, is named in June.
  • Book collection moves from the Old Cavaliers of Virginia Hall of the Fairfax Elementary School to Willard Hall.

1942 - W.P.A. support for the bookmobile ends December 31.

1943 - County purchases a vehicle for bookmobile.

1947 - County purchases a new bookmobile, a customized school bus.


1950 - The little cinderblock library on the County Courthouse grounds is enlarged and renovated.


  • Thomas Jefferson Library opens in the back of Buck Carter's Family Barber Shop at 1528 Arlington Boulevard, Falls Church.
  • Martha Washington Library opens at 601 Belle View Boulevard, Alexandria, in the Belle View Shopping Center.

1955 - George Mason Library opens in the Turnpike Press Building in Annandale at 7331 Little River Turnpike.

1956 - Dolley Madison Library opens in the old McLean Post Office Building at 6811 Elm Street.

1958 - Richard Byrd Library opens in the Springfield Post Office Building at 6614 Backlick Road.

1959 - Bond referendum for library building expansion is approved.


1961 - Woodrow Wilson Library opens at 464 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, in the Culmore Shopping Center in Bailey's Crossroads.


  • Headquarters building opens in Fairfax City.
  • Patrick Henry Library opens at 325 Maple Avenue E, Vienna, in the Maple Avenue Shopping Center.

1963 - John Marshall Library opens at 3930 Franconia Road, Alexandria, in the Rose Hill Shopping Center.

1964 - Automation of the library’s catalog begins.

1966 - Carter Glass Library opens at 1639 Washington Plaza, Reston, in the Lake Anne Village Center.



  • Centreville Library opens at 14114B Lee Highway, Centreville, in the Newgate Shopping Center.
  • Engleside Library opens at 8764A Richmond Highway, Alexandria, in the Woodlawn Shopping Center.


  • Sherwood Regional Library opens at 2501 Sherwood Hall Lane, Alexandria. It is the first Regional Library branch of the Fairfax County Public Library.
  • Headquarters Library is designated as the Central Library.

1972 - Kings Park Library opens at 9000 Burke Lake Road, Burke.


  • Reston Library opens at 2355A Hunters Woods Plaza, Reston, in the Hunters Woods Plaza.
  • Tysons-Pimmit Library opens at 2004 Peach Orchard Drive, Falls Church, in the first floor of the Peachtree of McLean apartments.

1975 - John Marshall Library opens at 6209 Rose Hill Drive on February 18.



  • Engleside Library closes.
  • Lorton Mini Library opens at 9506 Richmond Highway, Lorton, in the Williamsburg Square Shopping Center.

1981 – Fair Oaks Mini Library opens in the Fair Oaks Mall. It is a kiosk structure.


  • Edwin S. Clay, III becomes Director of the Fairfax County Public Library.
  • Great Falls Mini Library opens at 9818A Georgetown Pike, Great Falls, in a porta-structure kiosk on the property of the Grange Hall.
  • Central Regional is renamed Fairfax City Regional Library.

1983 – Circulation of materials through the library’s automation (computer) system is available at all libraries.


  • The Reston Library becomes two facilities. The Hunters Woods Mini-Library is in a portion of the space previously occupied by the Reston Library. A new facility the Reston Regional Library opens at 11925 Bowman Towne Drive, Reston.
  • Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library opens at 7584 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church.

1986 - The library's studio for video production and cable television transmission opens. The Cable TV Channel is 44. The studio is in the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library.


  • Fair Oaks Mini Library in the kiosk structure closes and is replaced with a storefront in the Fair Oaks Mall.
  • Pohick Regional Library opens at 6450 Sydenstricker Road in Burke.


1990 - Lorton Mini Library closes and the Lorton Community Library opens at 9520 Richmond Highway.

1991 - 1992 - The library's Cable Studio at the Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library closes.

1992 - Centreville Regional Library opens at 14200 St. Germain Drive.

1994 - Fairfax Library Foundation is established to attract private funding to enhance library services. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.


  • Chantilly Regional Library opens at 4000 Stringfellow Road on January 7.
  • Herndon Fortnightly Library moved into a new building at 768 Center Street in Herndon in March.
  • First computer for use by the public with access to the Internet at the Reston Regional Library.
  • The Gates Foundation donates computers with Microsoft software programs for use by the public. These are placed in the Woodrow Wilson Library.


  • The Fairfax County Public Library’s Internet site launches.
  • The Burke Centre Mini-Library, Carter Glass Mini-Library, Fair Oaks Mini-Library and the Hunters Woods Mini-Library close.



2000 - Kingstowne Community Library opens at 6500 Landsdowne Centre, Alexandria, in the Landsdowne Shopping Center.

2001 - First eBooks are ordered.


2007 - Oakton Library opens at 10304 Lynnhaven Place in Oakton. This is the library's first Leadership Energy in Environmental Design (LEED) certified building.


2010 - Extensive building renovations completed for the Martha Washington Library, Richard Byrd Library and Thomas Jefferson Library.


Books and Beyond: Fairfax County Public Library’s First Fifty Years, by Nan Netherton. Fairfax, Virginia: Fairfax County Public Library, 1989.

Fairfax County, Virginia: A History, by Nan Netherton, Donald Sweig, Janice Artemel, Patricia Hickin, and Patrick Reed. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Fairfax, Virginia, 1992 (250th Anniversary Commemorative Edition).

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