Prepare for Your Library Visit

Prepare for Your Library Visit

Contact Information

Phone: 804.342.9677
Family History line: 804.342.9649
Fax: 804.355.2399


Wireless internet access is available.


On their first visit to the Reading Room, researchers are required to complete a registration form and show a government-issued I.D. that will be photocopied by staff. To save time, you can download our registration form and bring it with you. Please note: Activity in the library is monitored by video cameras and is recorded.

Permitted Items

What to bring

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Identification Card
  • Small purse or wallet
  • Note cards
  • Legal pad or notebook
  • One 3-ring binder or one folder
  • Laptop (without case)
  • PDA
  • Cell phone (ringer turned off)
  • Digital camera (permission forms required)

Not Permitted

  • Pens
  • Markers
  • Highlighters
  • Backpacks
  • Briefcases
  • Laptop bags
  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Large purses or tote bags
  • Scanners
  • Coats
  • Umbrellas

We ask patrons to please store all personal items that are not permitted in the Reading Room in a locker located on the ground floor. If an empty locker is not available, then items may be brought to the reading room and stored at the registration desk. This policy has been implemented to assure the security of your personal belongings as well as the security of our collection. Patrons may bring a bag upstairs to unpack needed items, provided the bag is returned to the lockers. Any personal materials brought to and taken from the Reading Room may be examined by the staff.


No library materials may be taken from the Reading Room. Use only pencils when taking notes. Pencils are available at the registration desk. Fill out a separate call slip for each item requested. Deposit call slips (maximum of five at a time) at the registration desk. Call slips will be checked before a researchers leaves to ensure that all materials have been returned.


Only one folder may be examined at a time. Maintaining the exact order of material in a folder and folders within a box is important. Do not remove loose manuscripts from folders or alter the arrangements of items. No personal loose paper is allowed on the table when viewing a manuscript. Handle all manuscripts with care. Return all manuscripts to the registration desk. Photocopies must be made by staff.

Digital Scans

Newspapers cannot be scanned.

Staff must scan:

  • manuscripts
  • rare books
  • maps

Up to 40 copies will be provided at no charge to researchers in the Reading Room. If the number of photocopy exposures exceeds 40, a $20 fee will be charged.

Limited digital scanning is available for some materials and is done only by the staff as time permits. For reasons of extreme fragility or rarity, not all materials can be scanned. Whether or not it is feasible to copy particular documents will be determined by the librarian. Learn more about digital scans and reproductions.

Patrons may copy:

  • non-rare books 
  • microfilm 

Digital Photography

Digital cameras are allowed, but the flash and sound must be turned off. All photography by library users requires prior approval by the library staff and submission of the permission form. You can view and download the policies and permission form online.

Permission applies only for personal use and not for publication. The library reserves the right to deny permission based on the conditions of the materials, donor or copyright restrictions, or failure to comply with library policies. Guidelines for camera use may be found on the permission form.


No materials from the VMHC's collection may be reproduced in any form for public or commercial use without the VMHC's written permission.

Before Leaving the Reading Room

The researcher is responsible for returning all materials to the registration desk before departure. Theft or mutilation of library materials will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Last Call

Requests for materials or photocopies must be made by 4:40 p.m. All materials must be returned to the registration desk by 4:50 p.m. The building closes at 5:00 p.m. Please note that a limited number of materials may be placed on reserve for use the following day.