Planning a visit

We welcome you to visit Special Collections on the first floor of the Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections Library, one floor down from the main entrance. See current hours and a map of Library locations

Reading room policies

  • All those wishing to use Special Collections materials must register. A valid photo ID is required to check-in when you arrive at the library.
  • Materials housed off-site at Ivy Stacks (Request from Ivy) require at least one week to process and arrive at the library.
  • 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.
  • We pull requests on the half hour. For example, on Tuesdays and Fridays when we open at 10, we pull at 10:30 a.m. and then 11:00 a.m.
  • Requests made at least one day in advance will be pulled prior to your scheduled appointment.
  • 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.
  • Researchers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or a responsible adult in our Reading Room.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Personal Information in archival materials

Some materials in Special Collections may contain confidential or sensitive information protected by state and federal right to privacy laws, such as Social Security numbers, addresses, and telephone numbers, as well as medical, educational, financial, and personnel information.

Special Collections seeks to balance making materials available to researchers as quickly as possible while still protecting the privacy of individuals and upholding laws that restrict access to personally identifiable information. If you encounter material that contains confidential or sensitive information you agree that you will notify reference desk staff immediately. No duplications may be made of files that contain confidential or sensitive information.

The researcher is liable for any consequences resulting from the publication or dissemination of the personally identifiable information.

Permissions and copyright

The Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library does not provide, nor does it sign formal permissions of any kind, as we do not own the rights to most of the items within our collection. Securing permission to publish is the responsibility of the researcher.

Notice: Warning Concerning Copyright (Title 17, United States Code) - allows that under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other duplication. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or duplication is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses a photocopy or duplication for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

The Library's provision of a copy does not constitute permission by any copyright holder and is not a substitute for the user's diligent compliance with all applicable copyright requirements. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of the copyright law. The researcher accepts full responsibility for complying with copyright law.

By completing the registration form, researchers agree to indemnify and hold harmless the Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library and the University of Virginia, its agents, and employees against all claims, demands, costs, and expenses incurred by copyright infringement or any other legal or regulatory cause of action arising from the use of any photographs taken.

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 Shannon 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.