Essex Public Library

Library Updates

Tax Prep Assistance at the Library

Posted by Dana on

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers will offer free tax preparation at Essex Public Library throughout tax season. Tax preparation will be held on Thursdays from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., and on Fridays from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., from February 1 through April 13. In order to serve clients efficiently, appointments are highly recommended. Walk-ins may be accepted on a limited basis, but only as time permits. Appointments can be made by calling the Library at (804) 443-4945.

Please bring the following to your appointment:

  • Photo ID
  • Social Security card
  • A copy of last year’s tax return
  • Any other tax-related information, including W-2’s, 1099 forms, 1095 forms, etc.

There is no fee, no sales pitch for other services, and AARP membership is not required to receive tax preparation assistance. AARP is in its 49th year and is the nation’s largest free tax assistance service. The state of Virginia has 13 distinct AARP districts within its boundary. Last year, Virginia’s AARP tax program filed 48,267 federal returns and 45,921 state returns for our clients. More than 95% of these were electronically filed at no cost to the taxpayer.

If you have questions about this tax preparation service, call the Library at (804) 443-4945 or Madeline Sobczak, AARP Local Coordinator for Essex County, at 540-840- 4762.


Winter Reading Book Bingo

Posted by Dana on

Looking for some winter reading inspiration? Want to expand your literary horizons? Get a jump start on a new year of reading with our Winter Reading Book Bingo challenge!

There are five different bingo cards available for adults and teens, and one for kids, too. Every bingo completed will earn you a bookmark and a chance at the grand prize drawing, a $25 Amazon gift card.


The rules are simple:

  • Pick up a bingo card at Essex Public Library.
  • Complete a bingo diagonally, vertically, or horizontally by writing down the titles of books you read during the months of January and February.
  • Turn your completed bingo card in at the Library by March 3, 2018 to earn a bookmark and a chance to win the grand prize drawing. The adult/teen grand prize is a $25 Amazon gift card. The children’s grand prize is also a $25 Amazon gift card.
  • Earn a grand prize drawing entry for every bingo you complete – you can complete up to four bingos on the same card!
  • Only one game card per person, please.
  • Books should be checked out from Essex Public Library. All book formats are okay, including e-books, print, and audiobooks.

Bingo cards are available for pickup now. Stop by and grab one, and let the winter reading fun begin!

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2017 Staff Favorites

Posted by Dana on

We see a lot of books cross our service desk each year at Essex Public Library. In fact, so far in 2017, we’ve handled more than 16,000 circulations of print books–and that doesn’t even include books on CD or e-books! Our Library staff members are big-time literature lovers, and since we deal with books all day long, we discover a lot of new favorites. Here are some Essex Public Library staff recommendations from the last year.

Word by Word: the Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper

You might think that a memoir about working as an editor for Merriam-Webster would be boring. But you’d be wrong. In Word by Word, Kory Stamper shares stories from her experience working for the world-famous dictionary publisher. Sprinkled with fascinating tidbits about the history of the English language, Stamper’s love for linguistics shines throughout this book. The tone is irreverent, breezy, even funny. This surprising page-turner is a must-read for anyone who has an enthusiasm for words.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Towles’ delightful 2016 novel made it onto multiple staff picks lists this year and has been highly requested by our library users as well. Elegant and entertaining, A Gentleman in Moscow follows Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, who is placed under house arrest inside Moscow’s Metropol Hotel after the Bolshevik Revolution. This historical context adds just the right amount of flavor and interest, the characters are perfectly charming, and the story is beautifully crafted.

American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse

In American Fire, journalist Monica Hesse combines a true crime procedural with a doomed love story, and the whole tale is set nearby on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. This book was named one of NPR’s Best Books of the Year and one of the New York Times Book Review’s Notable Books of 2017. Our staff members agree with the critics. Following two lovers who set fire to dozens of buildings over the course of five months, American Fire is a timely and compelling nonfiction book that highlights modern life in rural America–right in our backyard.

The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer

Three short novels make up Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy: Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance. Each takes place mostly in Area X, an abandoned portion of land in coastal Florida which has been cut off from all civilian visitors. Inspired by the natural world, this is a genre-bending sci-fi trilogy that hits deep in the psyche. The author’s descriptive style is extraordinarily lush and atmospheric but won’t bog readers down. A strong female lead and lots of tense action power the story forward. A movie adaptation of Annihilation, starring Natalie Portman, is set for release in February 2018, and we recommend you get a jump start on the book before the story hits the big screen.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Readers who enjoy character-driven novels will love this charmer written by Scottish author Gail Honeyman. Eleanor has survived unspeakable tragedy to lead a life that is . . . well, completely fine. But through the help of new friends, she begins to break down the barriers that have been keeping her from happiness. Eleanor is certainly quirky and maybe not immediately likable, but in the end, this delightful story will give your faith in the human spirit a nice little boost.

These are just a few of the best books we read in 2017. Do you have a suggestion for us? Please let us know! Looking for more reviews and recommendations? We are happy to help fill your new year with great reads! Stop by the Library and check out what’s on display, and also be sure to follow us on Facebook, where we post lots of book news:

Happy New Year from your Essex Public Library staff!


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2017 Holiday Closing Schedule

Posted by Dana on

Essex Public Library will be closed on the following days during the 2017 holiday season:

  • Thursday, November 23 (Thanksgiving)
  • Friday, November 24
  • Monday, December 25 (Christmas)
  • Tuesday, December 26
  • Monday, January 1 (New Year’s Day)
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Message from the Director

Posted by Dana on

In August, the Essex Public Library Board of Directors selected me to take on the role of Library Director after the retirement of long-time Director Bess Haile. I officially joined our Library team in September. Filling such big shoes has been daunting, but I’m already learning the ropes and have truly enjoyed meeting our remarkable library users, as well as getting to know our outstanding staff.

I’ve worked in public libraries since 2006 and spent the last five years as a Branch Manager at Kanawha County Public Library in West Virginia, before accepting this position with Essex Public Library. I grew up on a farm in Cumberland County, Virginia, and I have a special interest in rural libraries. I understand the important role a public library can play for rural families.

With a strong background in computer and technology instruction, I also recognize how important technology skills are for people in every community. In today’s world of information, when someone falls behind in technology skills, they fall behind in other areas of life.

Other aspects of librarianship I feel particularly passionate about include marketing, early literacy for babies and toddlers, user-friendly library spaces, and community outreach. During the next year, I’ll start making improvements to our library furnishings and collection, as well as launch an early literacy campaign that will support our youngest community members and their caregivers, providing children with a strong foundation for learning that will help them succeed in school and beyond.

The public library is a place where lives are enriched and people are empowered. This conviction underscores the work I do every day and motivates me to provide top-notch library service. Essex Public Library is clearly well-loved. I’m thrilled for the opportunity to build on top of the excellent services that are already in place. My goal is to make this one of the best public libraries in the region.

Stop by and see me, and be sure to keep an eye on the cool things happening at your library during the coming months.

At Essex Public Library, we’re all about the story—YOUR story!

Dana Smook
Director, Essex Public Library

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  • Hours

    Monday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Tuesday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Wednesday: 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
    Thursday: 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
    Friday: 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM
    Saturday: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Sunday: Closed

  • Location

    Essex Public Library
    117 North Church Lane
    Tappahannock, VA 22560

    Phone: 804-443-4945

    Fax: 804-443-6444

  • About Essex County

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    Essex County, Virginia

    Town of Tappahannock

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