Planning a Visit

Due to COVID, research is temporarily by appointment only. Up-to-date information on appointment availability and making a reservation may be found here.

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

  • All those wishing to use Special Collections materials must register as a library patron with a valid photo ID. Registration is free and takes just a few short minutes.
  • Researchers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or a responsible adult in our Reading Room.
  • Only loose paper, pencils and a laptop or computer tablet are permitted in the Reading Room. No bags; laptop, tablet, camera, or glasses cases; envelopes, folders, or binders; notebooks; legal tablets; pens; or containers of any kind are permitted. Lockers are provided for safe and secure storage of your belongings. Any materials you take into the Reading Room will be examined by library staff when you leave.
  • Library staff stop pulling new material requests 30 minutes prior to close. This is done in order to safely return materials and secure the building in a timely fashion.
  • Please do not bring any food and beverages into Special Collections. A table is provided outside of the Reference area for researchers to store food and drink items.
  • Long-term visiting researchers may request a temporary locker assignment during their stay. Please contact Heather Moore Riser, Head of Operations, at (434) 924-4966 or if you are interested in this program.
  • Hand-held personal digital cameras or camera phones may be used to make copies of materials in the Reading Room. For security and preservation reasons, tripods, additional lights, including built-in flashes, and handheld or flatbed scanners are not permitted in the Reading Room. Researchers will be asked to fill out and sign the Personal Camera Use Policy form prior to photographing materials.
  • 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.
  • Wireless internet is available in the Reading Room. See the University’s page on wireless access for connection information. Library staff will assist you in setting up wireless internet access when you arrive.

For out-of-town guests

  • Visitors may reach Charlottesville by airline (Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport is served by American Airlines, Delta, and United), Amtrak train, and Trailways-Greyhound bus.
  • The most convenient points of entry by car are U.S. 29 north or south, and Interstate 64 from east or west.
  • Parking is available in the Central Grounds Parking Garage, 400 Emmet St. Pay via ParkMobile.
  • Accessible parking is available on McCormick Road in front of Alderman Library.
  • Temporary parking permits for up to three months may be obtained for lots not on Central Grounds. Please see General Visitor Parking Information.
  • Hotels within walking distance include: Courtyard by Marriott, The Graduate, Hampton Inn & Suites, and the Oakhurst Inn.

More information is available from the Charlottesville-Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau.