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Welcome to the Alexandria Library online!

We offer you access to the world of electronic information, not just of our records of holdings and availability, but we offer access to full text articles from thousands of magazines and newspapers through our online databases. You can search genealogy records with HeritageQuest and even borrow e-books and e-audio books on OverDrive. Free public access to the Internet is available at all branches as well as free WiFi access for properly equipped laptops and PDA’s.


Although we have done much with our virtual library, we have not forgotten our buildings. During the past decade, the City Council and the Alexandria Library Board have renovated and expanded the Barrett Branch on Queen Street, built the exciting Charles E. Beatley, Jr. Central Library on Duke and Pickett Streets (designed by world renowned architect, Michael Graves and the local architectural firm of Pierce Goodwin Alexander & Linville), and redesigned and reopened the Burke Branch on Seminary Road. In September 2005, the completely renovated and expanded Duncan Branch on Commonwealth Avenue was dedicated.


Whether through renovation or innovation, it is a most exciting time for the Alexandria Library. We are rising to the challenge of balancing the traditional user and the nontraditional user. We remain committed to having books and the types of programming that people have come into libraries to use for years, while we are committed as well to those users who are very tech savvy, who primarily want to use the Library through our website. Our resources allow us to provide excellent customer service for those people who are coming into the libraries and to extend our services for those people who are accessing us online.

Mission Statement

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

Rose Dawson Executive Director

Rose T. Dawson, Executive Director



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 2019 year.


FY 2019 Annual Report




Chair: Kathleen Schloeder, City Council citizen appointee

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

Treasurer: Helen Desfosses, City Council citizen appointee

Secretary: Trudi Hahn, City Council citizen appointee

Elizabeth B. Bennett-Parker, Alexandria City Council

Robert Ray IV, Alexandria Library Company appointee

Patricia Dane Rogers, Alexandria Library Company appointee

Email the Library Board at



4:00 p.m. 

  • Monday, September 21, 2020,  Virtual - Watch the recording.
  • Monday, October 19, 2020,  Virtual - Please register here to attend.
  • Monday, December 21, 2020,  Virtual
  • Thursday, February 18, 2021,  Duncan Branch Library
  • Monday, April 19, 2021,  Burke Branch Library
  • Monday, June 21, 2021,  Beatley Central Library
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.


Helen R. Desfosses, Treasurer , has been very active on the nominating committee and in testifying before the City Council regarding the needs and contributions of the public library system. Dr. Desfosses has been a Board Member of At Home in Alexandria, a non-profit organization which helps individuals over 55 to remain independently in their homes, and serves as Co-Chair of its Governance Committee. She also functions as a frequent instructor in public policy at the Osher Institute of Lifelong Learning at George Mason University. Before moving to Alexandria in 2008, she was a trustee and vice-chair of the Board of the Albany Public Library in Albany, NY, where she was also elected city-wide to two terms as City Council President. She holds an M.A. in Soviet Area Studies from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Boston University. She was a tenured professor at the State University of New York at Albany in Public Administration and Policy/Africana Studies for many years, where she also served as Dean of Undergraduate Studies and faculty-in-residence for the New York State Assembly Internship Program. Dr. Desfosses became Treasurer of the Alexandria Library Board in April 2016.


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.


Robert Ray IV 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.


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.