The Mary D. Pretlow Anchor Branch opened as the Ocean View Branch on July 21, 1923 on the second floor of the Ocean View Branch of the Trust Company of Norfolk building on A Avenue. In 1939, it was moved into a large room in Ocean View School, the moved to its present location in 1961 and was renamed for Mary Denson Pretlow, Norfolk Public Library’s second library director.  

The Pretlow Branch closed in February 2005 and reopened on April 1 at a temporary location so that a larger, regional or "anchor," library could be built on the site. Mary D. Pretlow Anchor Branch opened in 2008. The $10.8 million regional facility with 90 public computers and a huge children's area featured a 110-seat public meeting room and a wing for the Ocean View Station Museum. It was the city’s first anchor branch library.

Miss Mary Denson Pretlow became the librarian of the Norfolk Public Library in 1917, when the library board still operated as a private corporation. She oversaw the reclassification of the nonfiction collection to conform to the Dewey Decimal system, assisted in collecting enough Virginiana to open the Sargeant Memorial Room (now the Sargeant Memorial Collection) in May 1927, and grew the library system from a central library with one branch to a central library with seven neighborhood branches. Miss Pretlow retired in 1947.

Learn how to reserve a meeting room at the Pretlow Anchor Branch.

Technology Tune-Up Celebration

Take Norfolk Public Library’s latest technology for a test drive! Learn how to download electronic books and magazines and how to access useful databases on NPL’s new website!

Fun activities for all ages!
• eBooks Demonstrations (Devices will be available for practice, or bring your own.)
• Zinio® Demonstrations (Download popular magazines for FREE!)
• FREE Popcorn
• Bounce House
• Mario Kart Competitions
• TumbleBooks™ e-Storytime
• Crafts

Get your “road map” stamped at each station and turn it in for a chance to win prizes!
• Gift cards to Redial Wireless
• e-Readers
• Flip cameras
• Free passes to Auto Bell Car Wash, American Indoor Karting and free food coupons from Chick-fil-A

Bring a picture ID and proof of address to get your license to download -a Norfolk Public Library card! (Customers who don’t live or work in, or own property in Norfolk will need to pay a $35 annual fee to access eBooks.)

Call 664-7328 ext. 340 for more information.


The Norfolk Public Library would like to thank the following sponsors:
American Indoor Karting
Auto Bell Car Wash
Barnes & Noble at Tidewater Community College
The Wave 92.9
Redial Wireless
The Digital Inclusion Advisory Committee
City of Norfolk Department of Utilities
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