Planning a Visit

We welcome you to visit Special Collections on the first floor of the Harrison Institute/Small Library, one floor down from the main entrance. Our stacks are not open for public browsing, but retrieval of materials by our staff usually takes only a matter of minutes. We normally do not pull materials in advance of a researcher’s visit except for items housed off-grounds in a storage facility.

Reading Room policies

  • Researchers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or a responsible adult in our reading room. Children under the age of 10 are not permitted in the reading room.
  • Only loose paper, pencils and a laptop computer are permitted in the Reading Room. No bags, envelopes, folders, notebooks, tablets, or containers of any type are permitted. Lockers are provided to secure your belongings.
  • Long-term visiting researchers may request a temporary locker assignment during their stay. Please contact Heather Moore Riser, Head of Public Services, at (434) 924-4966 or octavo@virginia.edu if you are interested in this program.
  • Appointments must be made in advance to use media formats such as LPs, audiotapes, videotapes, films, CDs, and DVDs held by Special Collections. In most cases, materials must be reformatted before they can be accessed, sometimes at the researcher’s expense. Please use our online reference request form to ask for further information or to schedule access to audio-visual materials. Access cannot be guaranteed unless prior arrangements have been made.
  • The Special Collections library is currently rehousing and recataloging our extensive map collection. This may result in longer retrieval times for maps. If you are requesting map materials after 5pm on weeknights or on Saturdays, we may need to contact you once they are located. If you would like to request map materials in advance, please use our online reference request form.

For out-of-town guests

Charlottesville can be reached by U.S. Airways, United Express, and Delta Comair. There is AMTRAK train service and bus service by Trailways-Greyhound. Driving to Charlottesville from the north or south, follow U.S. 29, and from east or west, I-64.

Parking close to the Library is available in the Central Grounds Parking Garage (#9 on this map of University grounds) which can be entered on McCormick Road or on Emmet Street (Route 29). It is also possible to arrange (in advance) with the Department of Parking and Transportation Services (1101 Milmont Street, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904 (434) 924-7231) to purchase a blue parking sticker. This blue parking sticker gives you access to the Emmet/Ivy Garage on 250 about a quarter mile from the Library. You can also obtain a University bus pass from that office. The city operates a small parking garage off University Avenue near the Grounds (campus) that may be entered either from Chancellor Street or Elliewood Avenue.

Hotels within walking distance of the Library include the following: Courtyard by Marriott, Hampton Inn & Suites, Best Western Cavalier Inn, Budget Inn Motel, Red Roof Inn, and the Econo Lodge Motel. You may also consult the Charlottesville-Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau for information on other accommodations.