Have you ever gone through a bunch of old photos and wondered who someone was, or where the picture was taken, or why? Surely, those moments meant something when they were first captured. It’s a shame so many of them end up in shoeboxes or albums tucked away somewhere long forgotten. Wouldn’t it be great if we had a way to preserve those memories and share them with others? The Botetourt County Libraries are trying to do just that, and we’re asking for your help!

Fincastle Library Genealogist, Rena Worthen, the Botetourt Genealogy Club and the Friends of the Fincastle Library are organizing a photo scanning project with the goal of building a digital photo gallery that will be added to the Botetourt County Libraries’ permanent collection. Eventually, these photos will be available to be viewed online on our new genealogy website. While the site is not yet accessible to the public, we plan to have it up and running as soon as we add a few finishing touches.

At that point, you’ll be able to browse the library’s collection of photos from the comfort of your own home! Photos will be searchable by name, date, and location, and you’ll be able to print those you find to be of interest. Photos from this collection will also be displayed as a slideshow at our Genealogy Fair, one of the events planned for the county’s sestercentennial, or 250th anniversary, in July 2020.

We are asking you to share your pictures of people, places, and events in Botetourt County, including vintage, military, school, business, church, and wedding photos. We are also looking for documents such as yearbooks, marriage announcements, memorial cards, graduation programs, church directories, and anything else that has ties to Botetourt. We would appreciate if you would include as much information as is known about each item. However, unidentified photos are welcome and we will do our best to identify them.

Pictures, slides, negatives, and documents can all be converted to digital photos. We are able to scan items up to 11”x17”.  Photo scanning will take place at the following locations:

Fincastle Library – Monday, July 29 from 2-8 p.m.

Blue Ridge Library – Tuesday, August 6 from 2-6 p.m.

Buchanan Library – Thursday, August 15 from 2-6 p.m.

Eagle Rock Library – Monday, October 21 from 2-6 p.m.

Those unable to make it to one of the scanning sessions can make an appointment with Rena or drop items off at the Fincastle Library at any time during regular library hours. We will return your items to you as soon as they have been scanned. If you have items that are already digitized that you would like us to include in our collection, you can email them to Rena at rworthen@botetourtva.gov.

This collection of photos will be an invaluable resource not only to researchers, but also to past, present, and future residents of Botetourt County and to those whose friends and relatives are featured. If you have questions about the photo scanning project, call 540-928-2700.

-Audrey Clark