Libraries get ready to party for Judge Handley’s birthday

Posted: January 25, 2013

The Winchester Star

Judge John Handley

Winchester — The birthday boy won’t be there, but that isn’t going to stop Handley Regional Library from celebrating.

Two birthday parties are planned to celebrate what would be the 178th birthday of the late Judge John Handley, the library’s original benefactor, said Donna Hughes, youth services division head of Handley Regional Library. Handley was born Jan. 27, 1835.

The Mary Jane & James L. Bowman Library, 871 Tasker Road, Stephens City, will hold a celebration at 11 a.m. Saturday. Handley Library, 100 W. Piccadilly St., will hold its party at 4 p.m. Monday.

Both events are free and open to the public.

The libraries have done activities for Handley’s birthday before but wanted to do something special this year since it is the 100th anniversary of Handley Library, Hughes said.

“We want the public to know we are celebrating this because without the start that Judge John Handley would give to Winchester, it would have necessitated Winchester coming up with some other kinds of funds to have a library,” she said.

Bowman’s celebration will take place in the lobby so anyone coming in can celebrate, but it will be geared toward younger children, she said.

The party will feature a story time with a birthday theme, songs and a birthday cake. Children can also have some fun with a “birthday rhythm dance.”

“It is a rhythm dance that has the kids clapping their hands, or, if I have enough, I will hand out rhythm sticks and tambourines,” Hughes said. “When they get to one place, they dance really crazy and then freeze, then they dance a lot and they freeze.”

Handley Library will have a similar celebration Monday, with story time, songs and cupcakes in the children’s room, said Jennifer Sutter, youth services librarian.

The idea for the parties came from Handley Regional Library director Trish Ridgeway, who wanted to make the birthday special in honor of the library’s 100th anniversary, Sutter said. The library opened its doors to the public Aug. 21, 1913.

“I jumped on it because kids love any reason to have a celebration,” Sutter said.


For more information, call Handley Library at 540-869-9000 or Bowman Library at 540-662-9041.

— Contact Laura McFarland at