Janet Carter Berkeley was born in Staunton, Virginia in 1882.
She graduated from the Carnegie Library of Atlanta Library School in 1914. She was elected to the executive board of the Graduates Association in 1914. After graduation, her first job was in Greensboro as assistant librarian at the Carnegie Library.
After Greensboro, she worked in Norfolk, Virginia for eight years, then came to Winston-Salem in 1925 to be head librarian at the Carnegie Library. She worked at the Carnegie Library for 21 years, retiring in 1946. After retirement, she moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, to live with her sister.
In 1928, while Miss Berkeley was head librarian, she began a branch library at City Hospital for the patients and staff. On Wednesday mornings, Miss Berkeley filled a book truck with a variety of books and visited the sick rooms. The patients looked forward to this visit and the opportunity to select reading materials for their stay in the hospital. Some patients had favorites, such as the Zane Grey books.
The Carnegie Library was so popular that most of the time Miss Berkeley was head librarian, there was talk of needing more space and building a new library. When the Fifth Street library opened in 1953, Miss Berkeley was one of the former librarians who came to tour the new facility.
Miss Berkeley passed away in 1970.
The photograph shows Miss Berkeley (center) taking the “rolling library” on its rounds at City Hospital in 1929. Photo courtesy of Forsyth County Public Library Photograph Collection.