Area libraries mark one year of SALSA Partnership

Published 2:02 pm Thursday, February 22, 2024

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“I’m so grateful for the SALSA libraries,” says Sharon Carter, Buckingham High School librarian and avid library user. “I have requested dozens if not hundreds of books to be delivered to the Farmville library. I encourage my students to use the catalog and request materials as well.”

Local libraries recently celebrated a full year since the launch of the SALSA library system.

More importantly, local citizens celebrated the initiative by requesting over 3,000 items through the SALSA library catalog over the past year.

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SALSA stands for Southside Area Libraries Sharing Access, and includes Greenwood Library at Longwood University, Bortz Library at Hampden-Sydney College, and the three libraries (Farmville, Buckingham, and Cumberland) of the Central Virginia Regional Library (CVRL) system. 

The libraries share an online catalog, and a courier carries materials between the libraries weekly. Library patrons can place holds on materials from any of the libraries and pick them up at whichever location is most convenient, eliminating questions about campus parking or multiple library cards. 

“As we review the numbers, members of the Farmville-Prince Edward community are clearly the biggest winners,” stated Rick Ewing, Director of the Central Virginia Regional Library system. “It has facilitated greater awareness and sharing of our collections, and enabled more citizens to be more engaged in lifelong learning.” 

Indeed, of the over 3,000 items moved between the libraries in 2023, 29% were sent by Longwood to other locations, while approximately 15% of the transits were from Hampden-Sydney to other libraries. These data accentuate the Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College priorities of building college-town vibrancy and fostering a more diverse, civil, and engaged community.

The flow of resources from the public library locations to the campus libraries was also significant, with roughly 14% of transits traveling from CVRL to Longwood or Hampden-Sydney. Over 50% of the items shared moved between the three CVRL libraries, demonstrating the ever-expanding reach of this consortium’s collections and reflecting the CVRL mission to provide access to information and assist in its use for personal and community development.

Reflecting on the past year of cooperation, SALSA system administrator Lynde Roberts noted both challenges and triumphs. 

“It definitely hasn’t been easy,” she stated, pointing to the monumental tasks of bringing Longwood’s large collection into the shared catalog system in 2022, and then importing the collections of Cumberland County Public Library in 2023 as it joined CVRL. “But it’s great to see the community’s overwhelmingly positive response to our efforts.” 

Roberts went on to underscore the continuous improvements made to the online catalog interface to improve library patrons’ experience. “Based on feedback from the community, we are always refining and improving the shared catalog to deliver an easy-to-use, intuitive system for our patrons.”

“I can’t wait to dig deeper into the data,” said Tammy Hines, Head of Collections and Information Services at Longwood. “Knowing what books are traveling where helps us better understand the information needs of our communities and use our limited resources effectively.” 

For Sharon Carter and her students, SALSA provides access to information that some could get in no other way. “For people in rural Virginia, SALSA is a miracle.”

For more information about SALSA, visit the library websites:


Greenwood Library:

Bortz Library: