Glencarlyn is the oldest public library in Arlington, and was originally founded to house the book collection of Civil War General and former Missouri Congressman, Samuel Burdett.
The Glencarlyn neighborhood began in 1880s as Burdett’s plan for the first residential community in the county, and when he died in 1914, Burdett bequeathed his personal library, real estate, and money for the building and maintenance of a library in Glencarlyn. Eight years later, in 1922, the Burdett Library – Arlington’s first public library – opened.
The original building was replaced in 1963 by the current Glencarlyn Branch Library, where some volumes of the original Burdett collection can now be seen on display.
Today, Glencarlyn is surrounded by the Glencarlyn Library Community Garden, an official demonstration garden maintained by Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia and residents of the Glencarlyn neighborhood.