Why Libraries Matter: Virginia Beach Public Library plays a critical, strategic role in our community. The library is no longer a quiet place to do research and pick up books; our branches are vibrant centers of learning, creativity and sharing. The residents of Virginia Beach come to the library to read and to study, but also to attend preschool pretend play programs or the English Conversation Club. To learn how to use the latest technology or how to turn an old t-shirt into a tote bag. To get help with a resume or to pick up a voter registration form. From early literacy education and the Summer Reading Challenge to workforce development and technology assistance, the library offers something for every single member of our community. In short Virginia Beach Public Library is so much more than just books, it is a destination where people come to work and play! Our Work Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, we provide thousands of dollars for special programs, materials and technology for Virginia Beach Public Library each year. In FY 2019-2020 we granted nearly $100,000 for VBPL programs and resources, all of which the library could not have afforded with its operating budget alone. These funding opportunities included: Summer Reading Challenge ($22,680) – Virginia Beach Public Library’s most popular annual program, the Summer Reading Challenge, encourages children to read for pleasure in order to prevent the loss of literacy skills that can happen when school is out for the summer. We provide partial funding for this important program each year. Edgar T. Brown Collection ($8,500)—Edgar T. Brown (1932-2005) was a passionate collector of documents, artifacts, and memorabilia related to Princess Anne County and the City of Virginia Beach. His private collection will be preserved in Virginia Beach Public Library’s Local History and Genealogy collection. Orangeboy Savannah ($17,820)—This cloud-based library management and marketing software helps libraries better understand how their customers use library services, and will help VBPL understand how to best allocate resources and how to market programs and services to customers. Service Awards & Recognition ($2,350)—The Service Awards and Recognition programs recognize Virginia Beach Public Library staff for milestone anniversaries, outstanding service, and appreciation during Public Services Recognition Week. Professional Development ($7,500)—Funding allowed Virginia Beach Public Library staff to attend classes, workshops and conferences to improve their knowledge and customer service skills. We also apply for grants from external organizations on behalf of Virginia Beach Public Library. These grants allow the library to offer our community unique opportunities that it could not otherwise afford. In FY 2019-2020 we administered grants from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the E. C. Wareheim Foundation, and the Yiddish Book Center.