WELCOMING: Promoting an environment where all are treated with respect and a sense of belonging can be achieved.
DISCOVERY: Offering opportunities to connect, explore new ideas, and expand on all types of literacy.
COMMUNITY FOCUS: Engaging the community and responding to needs through enhanced relationships, partnerships, and accessible resources.
AN OPEN MIND: Maintaining balance in collections, programs, and ideas that respects different viewpoints and allows room for debate and exploration.
PUPROSE-DRIVEN APPROACH: Utilizing data and research in evidence-based decision-making that aligns resources, needs, and support.
FLEXIBLE & FORWARD-THINKING: Creating positive interactions by quickly adjusting to expressed needs while anticipating ongoing opportunities to remain future-ready.
Commitment to DEI & Customer Service
Land and Labor Acknowledgements
These are on-going and living acknowledgements as we seek to understand the history of the City of Falls Church and the impact on displaced and enslaved peoples. As we learn from our past we hope to improve the future and continue to engage with the community encouraging dialogue and learning across cultures.
We acknowledge that the land that the library resides on and where we work, learn, and gather as a community was originally inhabited by the Piscataway tribal nation.
We acknowledge that this land also was where enslaved people worked and lived as part of the Trammell Tract which is modern day City of Falls Church. We must recognize and acknowledge that the United States as we know it was built at the expense of enslaved Black people and indigenous populations – and that they suffered the horrors and dehumanization of slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow laws.
We remember those who came before us and recognize the truthful history of our community. With gratitude we acknowledge the work of early activists, EB Henderson and Rev. W. E. Costner, who moved (challenged) the library to put into practice the espoused values. We seek to promote understanding and recognition of that history.
History of the Library
The library started in 1899 as a collection of 650 books maintained by the Village Preservation and Improvement Society (VPIS) in a structure behind the home of George W. Hawxhurst at the northeast corner of North Washington and East Columbia Streets. 14 years later (in 1913), the collection was transferred from VPIS to the Falls Church Civic League (know later as the Falls Church Women's Club) and continued to operate out of different locations throughout Falls Church until the late 1950s.
The Town of Falls Church first officially began supporting the library in 1928 and assumed full responsibility for the library in 1940. After becoming an independent City in 1948, the City of Falls Church established a formal library board in 1954 and ultimately funded construction of a new library building on land donated by the children of Mary Riley Styles, the longtime chairwoman of the Woman’s Club who passed away in 1946.
The new building opened in 1958 and has since been renovated and expanded three times: 1969, 1993, and most recently 2021. Previously known as the Falls Church Public Library, it was re-named the Mary Riley Styles Public Library in 1977.
Today, the library continues to serve City of Falls Church’s roughly 15,000 residents, as well as library users throughout the Metro DC area.
Photo Credit: David Keith Photography
Mary Riley Styles Public Library was one of only 6 public libraries in Virginia – and one of only 258 public libraries nationally – to receive a star ranking in the 2022 Library Journal Index of Public Library Service. Learn more...
- 1899-1909: The Falls Church Village Improvement Society helps amass about 650 books for circulation among members.
- 1913: The Civic League, an organization of women, retrieves the collection and revives book lending.
- 1916: The Civic League becomes the Woman's Club of Falls Church and continues to operate a library from various locations.
- 1919: Library moves into small quarters in the Congregational Church building (222 N. Washington St.) after congregation disbands.
- 1928: Ordinance establishing the Falls Church Public Library is passed and $300 appropriated for its use.
- 1948: Town of Falls Church separates from Fairfax County to become an independent City.
- 1949: Library Board is established, the collection moves to larger quarters at 151 East Broad St., and services of a certified librarian are secured.
- 1950: Library moves to larger rented quarters at 934 West Broad Street.
- 1954-1955: City reaffirms establishment of the Falls Church Public Library overseen by a 7-member Board of Trustees. Collection moves to larger rented quarters at 201 East Broad Street.
- 1956: Bond issue passes to build a library facility on land donated by the Styles family.
- 1958: New library at 120 N. Virginia Ave opens.
- 1968-1969: First renovation and expansion of building completed.
- 1977: Library renamed in honor longtime library advocate Mary Riley Styles.
- 1980: Lower level of building opens to the public.
- 1990: Library automates catalog and circulation system.
- 1992-1993: Building undergoes 2nd renovation and expansion. Library moves to temporary quarters at 134 West Broad Street during construction.
- 2004: MRSPL Foundation established.
- 2011: Downloadable ebooks added to collection.
- 2013: Downloadable audiobooks and digital magazines added to collection.
- 2016: $8.7M bond referendum approved by City residents to complete third renovation and expansion of library building.
- 2020: Construction begins on new 6,600 sq foot expansion and renovation. Library opens temporary facility at 601 S. Oak Street in March only to close to the public one week later due to COVID-19. Curbside pickup and virtual programming started in response.
- 2021: Ribbon cutting ceremony occurs on September 10 for official opening of renovated and expanding building.