Purpose: The Century of Stories oral history project aims to secure Massanutten Regional Library's institutional memory, while also creating a history of MRL and its place in the community.
How to participate: If you are interested in sharing your MRL story, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to set up an interview. You may also stop into any branch for more details or to sign up.
The interview: Length of the interview varies. Participants are asked a series of questions and have the right to skip any question or to stop the interview at anytime. A completed MRL Interview Release Form is required for participating adults. A completed MRL Interview Release Form for Guardians is required for participants under 18.
After the interview: Upon completion, the recorded interview will be transcribed, indexed, and archived at MRL. The interview will not be made public, unless agreed upon. The goal is to have memories about all MRL branches. Recordings will be used for special MRL exhibits and commemorations, including the 2028 centennial celebration.
Background: Massanutten Regional Library traces its origins back to the establishment of the Rockingham Library Association in 1928. Members of the Harrisonburg Kiwanis Club founded the Rockingham Library Association with a goal of creating a library that would serve the residents of our area for decades to come. Their vision became reality when, in November of 1928, the Rockingham Public Library opened in the Professional Building on the corner of South Main & Bruce Streets in downtown Harrisonburg.
Although opened less than one year before the stock market crash of 1929, the Rockingham Public Library survived the disruption of the Great Depression, and in the midst of World War II the library began to expand. In 1943, the library purchased its first bookmobile, and mobile library service began to Rockingham County in 1944 and to Page County in 1946. That same year, Rockingham County, Page County and Harrisonburg agreed to form a regional library system. The 1947 opening of the Page Public Library in Luray marked the establishment of the new system’s first permanent branch outside of Harrisonburg.
Over the next half century, community members organized and opened libraries in Elkton (1965), Shenandoah (1972), Broadway (1975) and Bridgewater (1995). In 2000, all of these libraries combined with Rockingham Public Library and Page Public Library to form Massanutten Regional Library. The opening of the Grottoes Branch Library in 2000 brought the system to its current size.