U.Va. Library Background & History
Expanding the Library
In order to alleviate the severe overcrowding in Alderman, the University Library began to expand into a number of branch locations.
Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library - The Fine Arts Library moved into the newly built School of Architecture complex at Campbell Hall in 1970. The library is named in honor of the architect Fiske Kimball, head of the department of Art and Architecture 1919-1923 and a highly regarded historian of Jefferson and his architecture. The Fine Arts Library currently holds about 154,000 volumes and over 250,000 images in slide, digital, and photographic formats.
Curry Library Innovation Commons - Once the Education Library, the Curry Library Innovation Commons runs on a mobile library model, supporting the study, research, and teaching needs of Education students and faculty.
The Charles L. Brown Science and Engineering Library - The Science/Technology Information Center moved to the old Law School Library in Clark Hall in 1975. The Center merged with the Engineering Library in 1984-85 and became the Science and Engineering Library (SEL) with satellite facilities for Chemistry, Physics, Biology/Psychology, Math, and Astronomy. A newly renovated SEL at Clark Hall opened in October 2003 and was renamed the Charles L. Brown Science and Engineering Library in 2004 after a former engineering student and U.Va. almnus. The library features an electronic classroom, access to digital media, Internet
Music Library- The Music Library was established in 1977 at Old Cabell Hall by combining the music holdings of Alderman and those of the Music Department. Sound recordings were housed in the Listening Room on the main floor of Old Cabell until 1990, when the Cave, a snack bar in the lower level of Old Cabell, was converted for use by the Music Library, allowing patrons to access both recorded and printed collections from one service point. Today the Music Library holdings encompass over 105,000 items, including 65,000 printed books and scores and 39,000 sound recordings.
Clemons Library - In the early 1970s, as overcrowding in Alderman worsened, plans for an undergraduate library resurfaced. Students played a key role in making the Board of Visitors and state administrators aware of the importance of this issue. On a Saturday morning in 1973, Student Council President (and current professor of Politics) Larry J. Sabato organized a tour of Alderman Library for a group of Virginia legislators. He had also arranged for students to pack the library that morning. Seeing the overcrowded library firsthand convinced legislators of the need for an additional facility targeted to undergraduates.
Construction for the new library began in 1979 and Clemons Library, named in honor of Harry Clemons, who served as University Librarian from 1927 to 1950, was dedicated on April 13, 1982.
Clemons provides study space and 24-hour access. The library offers a core collection of high-use materials, extensive audiovisual collections, and digital media technologies.
Digital Initiatives - The library continues to expand its reach, serving a global community of users through a variety of digital initiatives and electronic collections. Library electronic centers include the Scholars' Lab, which provides access to analysis and data for electronic mapping, GIS, and statistics, and the Digital Media Lab of the Robertson Media Center, which offers images, sound, video, and music for research and instruction. To read more about the Library's recent projects, visit our Campaign site.
Harrison Institute and Small Special Collections Library - The University Library’s newest building is a combination of two unique initiatives:
- The Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture is a central physical resource for collaborative programs using Library resources. It features an auditorium, seminar rooms, studies for visiting scholars, and exhibit galleries.
- The Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library is a state-of-the art facility for housing the Library’s rare books, manuscript, and archival collections. This below-ground portion of the building provides 70,000 linear feet of shelving, enough for the current collection of 300,000 rare books and 16 million manuscripts, with room for growth. The Library features reading rooms for special collections research; skylights will bring natural light into these spaces.
The new building occupies a total of 72,700 square feet, 80% of which is underground. A landscaped plaza with walking paths will cover the underground portion. The project architect is Washington, D.C.-based Hartman-Cox Architects. Construction began in early 2002, and the facility opened in the fall of 2004.