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Vienna-Carter Library: Board of Trustees Votes New Name for Rebuilt Library Facility

Fairfax County Public Library Board of Trustees members sitting at their table during a meeting on February 14, 2024

William McKinley Carter and Lillian Carter greeting others at a 1968 library function
William McKinley Carter and Lillian Carter greeting others at a 1968 library function.

ANNANDALE, Va. - In their February 14, 2024, meeting held at George Mason Regional Library, the Fairfax County Public Library (FCPL) Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name the planned, rebuilt library facility, which will be located on the site of the current Patrick Henry Library, the Vienna-Carter Library.

The Carter family as a whole has contributed significantly to the history of the library, the Town of Vienna and Fairfax County. William McKinley Carter (1897-1977), a charter member of the Fairfax County NAACP, was instrumental in procuring a County library branch to serve everyone in the Town of Vienna where, at the time, the existing town library had a whites-only policy.

In 1958, Carter and his wife Lillian co-founded the Vienna Friends of the Library in their living room and led a successful community effort to open an FCPL facility, the Patrick Henry Library, in 1962 as an integrated library facility where “Everyone [is] Welcome.”

Members of the Carter family and friends were in attendance and submitted a statement to the board in support of the name change.

“The Carter Family is grateful that we are being commemorated and honored for the hard work that went into the integration of the Patrick Henry Library due to the dedication of the Friends of the Library.  The establishment of the Friends group helped solidify that all Vienna citizens were entitled to read and check out books no matter the race, religion or color of the recipients,” said Dee Dee Carter after the board voted to approve the name change for the rebuilt facility.

Members and friends of the Carter family pictured after the LBOT meeting February 14, 2024
Hoyt Carter, Sylvia Taylor and Dee Dee Carter at the Feb. 14, 2024 meeting.

Board of Trustees Chairman Brian Engler states, “The Library Board is grateful that we are part of communities where people speak up and share their histories, stories that allow us to grow and learn from the past. Naming the new facility the Vienna-Carter Library allows us to show our commitment to equitable access for everyone, from the past and hopefully long into the future.”

Opened in 1971 and reaching the end of its usable life cycle, Patrick Henry Library was bond funded in 2020 for a new facility on the existing site, located in the Town of Vienna at the corner of Maple Avenue and Center Street. Subsequently, Fairfax County entered into an agreement with the Town of Vienna to develop the site of the current library for both a new library and a shared parking structure for County and Town usage. The new facility is likely to open, based on the current timeline, in fall 2026. The current building and the planned temporary library open during construction will retain the current name.

A woman and children holding a sign for Patrick Henry Library that states "Open House ... Everyone Welcome."
A woman and children holding a sign for Patrick Henry Library that states "Open House ... Everyone Welcome" in April 1962.

Published in early 2023, Desegregation in Northern Virginia Libraries was written by Fairfax County Public Library Virginia Room staff members Chris Barbuschak and Suzanne LaPierre. A chapter of their book contains more information on the history of libraries in Fairfax County and Vienna, as well as information on the Carter family’s contributions to its history. The authors regularly present information from their book with the next planned event presented by the Burke Historical Society on Feb. 25 at Pohick Regional Library from 3-4:30 p.m.

 

For more information on the future Vienna-Carter Library, please contact Marketing and Communications Director Sara Prohaska at sara.prohaska@fairfaxcounty.gov.

 

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