Library use guidelines

The University of Virginia Library is dedicated to providing safe, inclusive, and comfortable spaces and convenient access to resources for all Library users. Library users include University of Virginia students, faculty, and staff, visiting researchers, and the general public. Library resources include buildings, print materials, computers and other equipment, furniture, and other resources. These guidelines are established in order to support the safety and comfort of our users and staff, convenient access to Library resources, the security of Library resources, and the maintenance of environments conducive to scholarship. 

Users have a right to an environment conducive to research and learning. Library users and staff share in the responsibility of maintaining a scholarly environment and the security of Library resources. Library users should report violations of these guidelines to Library staff either in person or via email or chat. Library staff will make every effort to restore a scholarly environment and the security of Library resources. 

If you experience or witness discrimination or harassment in a Library space, please notify a staff member or submit a report to the Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights. 

These guidelines apply to the following spaces: Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, Alderman Library, Charles L. Brown Science and Engineering Library, Clemons Library, Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library, and the Music Library.

University-wide policies

Library users are expected to adhere to generally applicable University of Virginia policies and regulations regarding the use of University facilities and property, including but not limited to:


  • Smoking and using Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) by faculty, staff, students, and visitors are prohibited inside facilities owned or leased by the University (including all on-Grounds housing facilities) and in University-owned vehicles. They are also prohibited (1) within 25 feet of all entries, outdoor air intakes, and operable windows; and (2) in any outside area adjacent to a facility whose configuration and/or other physical conditions allow smoke/vapor either to enter and affect the internal environment or to unduly affect the environment of those entering or exiting the facility.
  • SEC-028


  • The University prohibits the possession, storage, and use of weapons, fireworks, and explosives on University property. This prohibition shall not apply to a law-enforcement officer who is on duty or who is contracted with the University to provide services within the University's territorial jurisdiction and who is providing contracted services to the University at that time.
  • SEC-030

Violence and threats

Alcohol and drugs

  • The consumption of alcohol, except at an officially sponsored event, is prohibited in all libraries.
  • With recent changes to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s cannabis/marijuana laws, students and employees should be aware the University’s alcohol and other drug policy has not changed and continues to prohibit possession and use of cannabis/marijuana on Grounds.
  • STU-001


  • The use of University facilities and property must:
    • not impede student education, academic activities, research, patient care, scheduled events, University functions, residences, or the faculty/staff work environment;
    • be safe for participants and not generate security issues; and
    • preserve the integrity and aesthetics of the University’s property.
  • Public speaking and distribution of literature under this policy is not considered speech made by, on behalf of, or endorsed by the University of Virginia.
  • Third-party vendors not contracted by the University who provide delivery of goods and services to University employees or students on University property or in University facilities are responsible for complying with all relevant University policies and procedures.
  • PRM-017

Trespass warnings

  • The University and the Medical Center retain the authority to ban individuals from all University or Medical Center property or a specific building or area. A trespass warning may be issued by authorized University officials. 
  • PRM-018

Service animals and emotional support animals

  • Service animals:
    • Service animals are not pets. In addition, under the ADA, service animals are not required to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness. If there is a reason to question whether a dog is a service animal, University personnel may ask only the following two specific questions:
      • Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
      • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
    • An individual’s failure to answer the above questions may result in exclusion of the animal.
    • University personnel may not ask questions about the nature of the individual’s disability; require proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal; or require that the service animal demonstrate the task it performs.
  • Emotional support animals:
    • Unlike service animals, emotional support animals are not permitted to accompany individuals with disabilities in public areas of the University, such as the libraries.
  • SEC-044

Restroom nondiscrimination

  • In keeping with the University’s policy of non-discrimination and its commitment to inclusion, the University allows students, staff, faculty, and visitors to use the Library restroom that corresponds to their gender identity. In addition, the Library maintains gender-neutral restrooms at most branches.

Photographing and filming in Library buildings

  • Filming and photography by UVA students, faculty and staff are permitted in most Library buildings but in no cases may Library users be disturbed or inconvenienced. Please note that no filming is allowed in Alderman Library's McGregor Room. This room is in heavy demand for quiet study space and providing that is our priority.
  • Filming by any person or party who is not affiliated with UVA (e.g., businesses, non-profit organizations, independent contractors) for use as, or as part of, any work intended to be disseminated to an external audience for the purpose of recognition or pecuniary gain must be authorized for prior approval according to University Filming Policy. Examples include motion pictures; documentaries; commercial video productions such as television shows; and commercial, fine art, or stock and still photography.
    In addition, filming for news features, profiles, or within University facilities by such news organizations is considered commercial filming and will also need prior approvals. You may request prior approval by using this request form. We will not allow commercial filming without this authorization.

Library-specific guidelines  

General respect

  • Library users are expected to respect the rights of other users to use Library resources and facilities in a respectful, clean, and peaceful atmosphere.
  • Please be mindful of others who may be studying around you and keep your conversation at a volume quiet enough so that others can continue to concentrate.

Care for and use of space and materials

  • Library users are expected to respect and care for all Library materials, equipment, and property and may not remove such items from the Library without proper checkout or authorization.
  • If Library equipment breaks down, it will be repaired by the Library’s IT department as time permits. The Library cannot guarantee that this equipment will be repaired immediately, nor can the Library provide technical support beyond basic help and information.

Computer use

  • UVA Library prioritizes certain services, resources, and space to the University community and affiliated researchers. Because Library computers are limited in number, and often in high demand, priority use of Library computers is reserved for students, faculty and staff engaged in education-related activities.
  • When requested by a staff member, Library users must relinquish a computer or other equipment for use by another user.
  • Community borrowers and guest users must see Library staff about access to computers and will be asked to present an ID. Access may be limited to specific computers in some libraries.
  • Unlawful use of Library computers, including for copyright infringement, is strictly forbidden.
  • Library users must not maliciously access, alter, damage, or destroy any Library computer or database.

Access to explicit material

  • When displaying images, sounds, or messages in the Library, it is the user’s responsibility to be respectful of other Library users and to help the Library maintain a scholarly environment. Library spaces, equipment, and resources, including computing resources, are provided in support of uncensored research and learning. Computing resources include computers, computer software, and internet access.  
  • Users viewing explicit material in direct public view will be asked to cease this activity or, if available, to move to a different area where Library users and staff are not subject to involuntary exposure. The Library may regulate the time, place, or manner of the viewing of explicit materials. This guideline reflects the delicate balance between the Library's commitment to First Amendment values and its interest in maintaining safe and welcoming spaces for all users.  
  • The Library does not have the right to censor users’ research or scholarly activities. Additionally, not all materials that make a user uncomfortable will be considered explicit. The Library does not condone hate or intolerance. Library staff reserve the right to judge whether material is considered explicit. 
  • If any user refuses to cooperate with Library staff in their efforts to relocate the user, the Library staff may ask the user to turn off or close the relevant content, shut down, disconnect, and/or stop using the relevant resource, or leave the building immediately.  


  • Children under the age of 16 must be supervised by a parent, tutor, youth program coordinator, or other responsible adult while in the Library. Exceptions will be made on an individual basis for children under the age of 16 who are directly engaged in research or educational activities and need to use Library resources. Unsupervised children should be prepared to show proof of age upon request.

Personal property

  • Library users are responsible for their personal property at all times and should never leave personal property unattended. The Library is not responsible for any loss or damage to personal property.

Wheeled vehicles

  • Wheeled vehicles used by persons with disabilities are permitted for use inside all Library facilities. 
  • Skateboards, scooters, roller-skates and rollerblades may be carried into Library facilities, but must be properly stowed away with personal belongings. 
  • Wheeled vehicles must not be locked to Library furniture, equipment, or railings, including those on exterior stairways or ramps. 
  • Library personnel reserve the right to ask owners of wheeled vehicles to properly stow or park their items so they do not impede ingress, egress, access to Library materials or resources, or the safety of Library users.
  • Please refer to UVA’s guidelines on using, parking, and storing bikes and scooters for further information.


  • Sleeping beyond the usual short study nap is discouraged in the libraries for safety and security reasons. 
  • Library users are reminded that the libraries are open for research purposes and extended sleeping is not allowed. 
  • Library staff reserves the right to wake a sleeping person.

Cell phones, amplified audio, and headphone use

  • Library, users should conduct cell phone conversations away from study and research areas and turn off ringers while in the Library.
  • If you need assistance finding a place to have a video call, ask a Library staff member at the Service and Information Desk.
  • In quiet spaces: 
    • Please do not play amplified audio from a computer, tablet, phone, or other electronic device. This includes video calls of any form.  
    • If using headphones, ensure they are not loud enough to be heard by nearby users.  
  • In collaborative spaces 
    • Please do not play any amplified audio from a computer, phone, or other electronic device. 
    • Video calls are permitted in these spaces if you wear headphones and do not disturb nearby users when speaking. Plan for other Library users around you to be speaking.

Food and drink

  • Food and drinks, within reason, are permitted in many Library locations. However, Library users are expected to be considerate of others and to avoid messy, smelly, or noisy food items. 
  • Food and drinks are prohibited at microform workstations, specialized audio and video equipment, or other equipment susceptible to damage.
  • Cans, bottles, containers, wastepaper, and suitable items should be recycled in the proper receptacles. All other trash is to be disposed of properly. 


  • Library restrooms are not to be used for laundering clothes, bathing, or other similar purposes.


  • Pets are not allowed in Library buildings. See the University-side policies section above for information on service animals and emotional support animals.

Controlled access hours

  • Library facilities are open only to current UVA students, faculty, and staff during controlled access (card swipe only) hours. Non-UVA users may not access buildings during these hours.   
  • These hours vary by building and time of year. Please contact the specific Library for this information.  
  • If you are a UVA student, faculty, or staff member and do not have your ID during controlled access hours, you will be asked for further identification to be allowed entrance into the building.  

Reservable rooms and spaces