Due to a water line bursting, our North Avenue Branch is closed until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Notable Collections

Do you know that the Richmond Public Library has a number of unique collections that is notable for public libraries to have today?  More than books, your Richmond Public Library includes visual arts, sheet music and scores, music on vinyl, ‘zines, rare books, access to City and legal records, and more!

Richmond Authors Collection

The Richmond Authors Collection is housed in the Davenport Special Collections Room of the Main Library, 101 E. Franklin Street. The Richmond Authors Collection represents the breadth and range of Richmond writers and includes the works of authors who have lived in Richmond (or the adjacent counties of Henrico, Chesterfield, Goochland and Hanover) for at least one year of their lives. The Collection provides an important link to Richmond’s development, growth, heritage and culture as a community and a people.

Books in the Richmond Authors Collection are not available for circulation and must be signed for and used under supervision in the Main Library only.  Currently, the Davenport Special Collections Room is open by appointment.  Please call our Reference desk at 804-646-7223 to learn more about the Richmond Authors Collection.

David Freed Collection

Richmond Public Library’s Main Library houses a permanent collection of prints of renowned authors by legendary Richmond artist David Freed. In addition to this permanent exhibit, the Main Library features the work of local and regional artists in its four gallery spaces. For more information on exhibiting with the library or the artists currently showcasing, visit our Art Exhibits page.

Newspaper Clippings

The Main Library houses about 30 filing cabinets filled with newspaper clippings of Richmond history and obituaries/biographies from the early 1900s into the early 2000s.  This treasure trove is accessible when the Library is open for the casual and professional researcher.  These materials don’t circulate, but can be copied.  Ask at the Reference Desk.

Rare Children’s Book Collection

The Rare Children’s Book Collection is housed in the Davenport Special Collections Room of the Main Library, 101 E. Franklin Street. This collection includes international and American children’s books of historical interest from the 18th century to the 21st century. Specific collections include Rare Children’s Books (RCB), Rare Children’s Series (RCS), Rare Tucker Collection (RTC), and international children’s books.

Significant gifts from Martha Orr Davenport and Judith Josephine Tucker have provided the core of this collection. The collections were also drawn from the Library’s earlier holdings or from gifts.  Materials owned in the Rare Children’s Book Collection are not available for circulation and must be signed for and used under supervision in the Main Library only.

Currently, the Rare Children’s Book Room is open by appointment.  For questions about holdings, please call our Reference desk at 804-646-7223.

Musical Scores

The Main Library has 12 file cabinets with thousands of pieces of sheet music!  That’s right – sheet music.  Pieces are indexed in  vintage card catalogs, which are near the Reference Desk.  The sacred music pieces circulate; others can be copied.  Additionally, the Library houses hundreds of musical scores on shelves adjacent to the Dooley foyer.  Search the library catalog with the term Scores and Songbooks.

Zine Collection

Zines can contain anything from art to poems to collective histories to recipes and other do-it-yourself tips to … REALLY ANYTHING. A zine can be about as much as everything or nothing that the zine-maker desires. A zine can be any size or any length or make use of different materials, although your basic 8.5×11 sheet of paper folded in half is the most common.

Making a zine can be a radical act even if the zine is about Taco Bell or haikus about your cat because in a world where everything is literally within the click of button and a few keystrokes, putting something in print still matters. That’s why zines attract a diverse group of makers and readers of all ages, backgrounds, and interests. And now you can access a small collection of zines at Richmond Public Library!

Our Richmond Zine program is also actively accepting zine submissions from adults. If you are a maker of zines, and would like your work to be added to our growing collection, check out our submission page to learn more!

The RPL Zine Collection is currently housed at our Hull Street Branch, but they can be checked out and returned to any RPL branch.  All 78 issues are fully searchable via the library catalog.


Richmond Public Library is designated by the City of Richmond to be responsible for the care and keeping of written public records of the City of Richmond, Virginia.  The City Records Center is the depository for non-current, but permanently valuable records of city government such as annual reports of the City of Richmond, ordinances and resolutions of the City Council, and departmental records. The City Records Center also manages the retention and destruction of regular departmental records under the guidelines of the Virginia Records Act.

Contact:  804-646-4151 or e-mail: cityrecords@richmondgov.com