Visit the renovated library!

The UVA Library was pleased to open the renovated Edgar Shannon Library (formerly "Alderman Library") in January, 2024. While books and materials will continue to be moved into the space through the spring semester, we welcome students, faculty, staff, and community members to come experience the new, beautiful space.

What’s new?

The beautifully renovated building brings the library up to current standards of safety, accessibility, and service. A new entrance makes the building easily reachable from the growing northern corridor along University Avenue, and a larger south entrance makes the space easier to access from Grounds. The building offers better layout and natural light, including  in two new study courts, for members of the University community as they study, research, and socialize. Improved wayfinding (using signage and other design elements) makes the building more intuitive for visitors, and better facilities support the ongoing conservation and preservation of the Library’s large and growing print collection.

Finally, much-loved features such as the McGregor (“Harry Potter”) Room remain — they’ve been renovated and optimized for comfort and character, preserving the essential elements of their unique identity.

A rich journey

A vintage photo from the main library's early days when there was a central front desk. Three men are at the desk talking with librarians.

The history of UVA can be divided into three chapters, each marked by the construction of a library. The renovation of our main library marks the third chapter in the University’s history.

The first chapter began when the Rotunda, UVA’s first Library, was constructed as the focus of Grounds — a notable departure from the customary practice of centering universities around religious buildings. The second chapter began when UVA began to function as a research university with the opening of the library in 1938, with a much larger and more current collection, that replaced the Rotunda as the main library.

Read more history


A vintage blueprint showing the plan view for Memorial Hall.

Frequently asked questions about access, leadership, collections information, logistics, and more.

Learn more

Support the improvement of UVA Library spaces

The Library’s role at UVA is experiencing a transformation, and the renovation is a key part of that change. Help us cement the Library’s place as a hub of discovery and learning by making a gift. There are multiple opportunities to make both immediate-use and endowed gifts.

Give now

To learn more about giving to the renovation, contact Patrick M. Garcia at (434) 825-8584 or

Artist's renderings of proposed new building facade.

Recent headlines

1 month ago
All are welcome to join on April 4 for a grand opening celebration of The Edgar Shannon Library! An open house will take place from noon to 4 p.m., and remarks and a reception will follow. Activities will include interactive demonstrations, special displays of Library collections, virtual reality, and more!
2 months ago
In advance of our grand opening celebration on April 4, take a look at this photo essay of The Edgar Shannon Library, with 20+ images taken by Tom Daly.
2 months ago
In advance of the grand opening celebration of The Edgar Shannon Library on April 4, we’re taking a deep dive into historical photos of the building and comparing them with the renovated space today.

What’s happening now?

In fall 2023, the move-in process begins.

In spring 2024, the space opens to the public and move-in continues, with the book move taking place through spring semester.

These transitions will affect Library services from time to time; you can read more about any current impacts on the Library’s status dashboard.