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Welcome to the virtual branch of the Alexandria Library!

We offer you access to the world of electronic information. Not only can you access our records of
holdings and availability, but we offer access to full text articles from thousands of magazines, journals
and newspapers through our online databases. You can search genealogy records with Ancestry Library
Edition, borrow eBooks and eAudiobooks on Libby and download digital music with Freegal. Free public
access to the Internet is available at all branches as well as free Wi-Fi access for laptops and mobile

Although we have done much to improve our digital services, we have not forgotten our physical
offerings. In 2015 the Alexandria Library assumed management of the Alexandria Law Library. This
addition to the library network has benefited local litigators and the general public. Access to quality
legal information increases the ability of people to seek and obtain fair, accessible, and equitable
assistance in reaching an outcome under the law.

In 2009, and again in 2014 and 2019, the library highlighted the anniversary of America’s first ever
library sit-in for civil rights. On August 21, 1939, Alexandria Library staff and patrons watched as a young
African American entered and asked to register for a library card. When he was refused, he picked up a
book, took a seat, and began to read. Minutes later, another well-groomed and polite young adult
repeated these actions. This continued until the young people occupied five tables. Each one sat in
silence and read a book. Flustered library staff called the police. While none of these men received a
library card at the time, the event has been a catapult for library programming and services to highlight
the contributions and needs of the multicultural community that we serve.

During the recent challenges presented during the global pandemic, the Alexandria Library has risen to
the challenge by providing excellent customer service with curbside service, virtual reference services
and online programming. We soon realized that many customers were unable to access the internet.
The Burke Branch Library piloted a program that would allow those without internet access an
opportunity to use an Outdoor Computer Café hosted in the library’s parking lot.

We remain committed to having books and the types of programming that people have come into
libraries to use for years and will continue to offer both in-person and virtual opportunities for our
community to learn, explore, create and connect.

Rose Dawson Executive Director

Rose T. Dawson, Executive Director



The Alexandria Library builds community by providing opportunities to learn, explore, create and connect.



5 Year Plan

With the unveiling of this five-year plan (pdf), the Alexandria Library is excited to embark on a new course toward a vibrant future. Prior to drafting this plan, the Library completed an extensive data collection and needs assessment process. We spent months speaking with community leaders, residents, library users and staff.

Based on this input we identified seven priority areas that will guide our work in the coming years:

  • Support for Learners of All Ages
  • Library Collections
  • Technology Management and Access
  • Library as a Community Hub
  • Community Relations, Marketing and Branding
  • Organizational Health and Development
  • Fundraising and Advocacy

This direction will bolster our role as leaders in early literacy and lifelong learning, emphasize our collection of high quality materials, and empower our staff to navigate an ever-changing digital world. We are anxious to increase our engagement efforts and offer improved services to our diverse community. We are confident that this work will position the Library as a recognized contributor to the City of Alexandria.




A snapshot of the community's usage at Alexandria Library during the fiscal 2020 year.


FY 2020 Annual Report




Chair: Kathleen Schloeder, City Council citizen appointee

Vice Chair: Oscar P. Fitzgerald, Alexandria Library Company appointee

Treasurer: Robert Ray IV, Alexandria Library Company appointee

Secretary: Trudi Hahn, City Council citizen appointee

Elizabeth B. Bennett-Parker, Alexandria City Council

Karen Marshall, City Council citizen appointee

Patricia Dane Rogers, Alexandria Library Company appointee

Email the Library Board at



4:00 p.m. 

Library Board Biographies

Kathleen Schloeder, Chair, holds a B. S. in Foreign Service from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and an M.A. in Modern European History from George Mason University. She is a retired Foreign Service Officer, and was the official U. S. member of the United Kingdom-United States American Studies Library Commission while stationed at the American Embassy in London. Schloeder also was a supervisor of the U.S. Embassy library at the Casa Thomas Jefferson in Brasilia, Brazil, and the Amerika Haus library in Hannover, Germany. Schloeder volunteered at the Burke Branch for several years in their after-school tutoring program and currently tutors at George Mason elementary school. She is the Endowment Chair of the American Hemerocallis Society.


Dr. Oscar Fitzgerald, Vice Chair, earned his B.A from Vanderbilt University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Georgetown University. He is retired from the Naval Historical Center, where he served first as head of the Contemporary History program and then as the director of the Navy Museum. His publications include Four Centuries of American Furniture and his latest book, New Masters of the Wooden Box. Fitzgerald serves as Vice Chairman of the Alexandria Library Board, Vice Chairman of Alexandria’s Board of Architectural Review, and as a consultant to Dumbarton House, the Custis-Lee Mansion, the Frederick Douglass House, and the Clara Barton National Historic Site. He teaches at Marymount University and in the Smithsonian Institution-Corcoran Master’s Program in the History of the Decorative Arts. Dr. Fitzgerald is currently serving as Chairman of the Board of Architectural Review for the Old and Historic District.


Robert Ray IV, Treasurer, is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architectural History. Robert is a lifelong Alexandrian. He is the owner of Cavalier Antiques in Old Town where he sells and restores 18th century American furniture and accessories. Robert is a long term board member of both the Alexandria Association and the Old Town Civic Association. Robert brought his daughter to Alexandria’s libraries from the time she could appreciate picture books. She has a Master’s degree in mathematics and is currently working on her PhD.


Trudi Bellardo Hahn, Secretary, is retired from a 40-year career of teaching, research, and service in the field of library and information science and technology. She was on the faculties of Drexel University, University of Maryland, Catholic University of America, and University of Kentucky. She also served as the Executive Director of the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. She has had experience working in or with academic libraries, public libraries, and special/corporate/government libraries. She has written or edited six books, numerous book chapters, journal articles, and given many invited talks and conference proceedings and served on several journal editorial boards. She was awarded the Drexel Service to Profession Award and the University of Kentucky Outstanding Alumna Award, College of Communications and Information Studies. She was the 2003 President of the American Society for Information Science & Technology. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Friends of Dyke Marsh, and of Porto Vecchio Condominium, and is a member of the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.


Elizabeth B. Bennett-Parker, Vice Mayor, was born in Alexandria to two Naval officers.  Elizabeth is dedicated to serving her community. She helps lead Together We Bake, a nonprofit job training and personal development program for women in need.  She is the founder of Fruitcycle, a business fighting the tragic paradox that, while one in six Americans experience food-insecurity on a daily basis, 40% of our food is thrown into landfills. Elizabeth worked for the National Governors Association, where she served as governors' liaison to Congress, federal agencies, and the White House on issues related to transportation, economic development, and health. Elizabeth also serves on the boards of Agenda:Alexandria, the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, and the Alexandria Regional Council for United Way of the National Capital Area. She is a member of the Junior Friends of the Campagna Center, and the Alexandria Kiwanis Club. She is a graduate of Emerge Virginia and the Alexandria City Academy.


Karen Marshall was born in Virginia and continues to call the Commonwealth home. She is currently an active-duty service member residing in the city of Alexandria. During her more than two decades of military service in the US Air Force - Air National Guard; she has earned associate degrees in information management and human resources, a professional certificate in project management, a B.A. in Marketing from VCU, along with an M.S. in Management and Leadership from Webster University. During her career, she served as an Executive Administrator for the Director of the Air National Guard, as ANG Senior Enlisted Leader to the Commander of US Air Forces Europe and Africa, and as ANG Liaison to the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, the top enlisted member of the US Air Force.


Patricia Dane Rogers, a journalist with a literature degree from Columbia University, covered architecture, design and decorative arts for The Washington Post and The Washington Star for 30 years. Winner of a Washington Post-George C. Marshall Fellowship to Duke University’s School of Public Policy, she conducted in-depth research on Thomas Day, an African American cabinetmaker from antebellum North Carolina. Continuing her investigative work in retirement, she revealed Day’s previously unknown abolitionist ties in an article for the scholarly journal, American Furniture 2013, “The Missing Chapter in the Life of Thomas Day.” More recently, she uncovered the 18th century roots of Clover/College Park, a 1950’s Alexandria neighborhood. She is also a board member of the Apprend Foundation, a NC-based 501-c-3 that runs workshops for teachers of African American history nationwide.



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Last updated: April 2021