Alderman Renovation: What to expect in 2019


Alderman Library will be closing for renovation beginning in May 2020. The 2019-20 academic year will be a transitional period where preparations will be made to minimize the duration of the closure. Alderman is expected to reopen by the spring of 2023.

The transfer of materials is the next step:

  • Materials will be moved from Alderman to Clemons and Ivy Stacks between May and December, 2019.

All items held by the UVA Library will remain discoverable in Virgo, the Library’s catalog. No materials are being removed from circulation.

  • During the renovation, high-use items will be available for browsing in Clemons, and the full collection will remain available on-demand from Ivy Stacks.
  • Visit Virgo, the Library catalog, to find materials and browse the full collection using Virtual Shelf Browse.

As materials are transferred, we’ll be easing access by increasing the rate of deliveries from Ivy Stacks.

  • For graduate students, we’re also expanding some essential services: we are now honoring requests for scans of articles and book chapters from materials that UVA owns and, beginning Fall 2019, we will be expanding LEO delivery service. Stay tuned for details!

Proposed view from University Ave with Nameless field and large Library building behind in similar style to current except expanded back entrance and patio spaceThe renovation will allow us to address necessary infrastructure and accessibility issues, improve overall usability, and better deliver Library services to a much larger user community than Alderman was built to serve. The renovation will create an environment that is welcoming to all and rebuild and restore the Library that has become an iconic symbol of the intellectual experience at the University of Virginia.

For more information, visit

New renderings show a peek of renovated Alderman

The Neoscape renderings below use architectural plans as a guide to make plans for future Alderman come alive. Enjoy!

Wide-angle view of Memorial Hall with service desk on left side and sunny atrium behind

A wide-angle view of renovated Memorial Hall.

A view over the railing from the upper level of an area filled with book shelves and study spaces. There is natural light coming from above and people are utilizing the space.

Clerestory and collections/study space, 4th and 5th floors, facing north.

A view of an open room with display cases on left and right and a door in the center leading to the atrium study spaces.

2nd floor gallery space

Students move through a room with checkered floors, filled with large tables for working and a few book shelves.

Restored and updated 4 east reading room (current reference room)

An area with several large working tables, surrounded by book shelves. There are large windows and a balcony overlooks the space.

The north end of the 4th floor, with a view of 5th floor balcony.

A bright indoor study space with massive sky light and small potted trees.

Study courts replacing unused space in lightwells

Learn more about the Alderman Renovation.

New Library resource gives insight into Extremism and Radicalism in the 20th century

Statue of Homer on the Lawn during anti-war student strike of May 1970, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library

Gain insight into the history of radical and extremist movements from the beginning of the 20th century to the current decade with the Library’s new online resource, Gale’s Political Extremism & Radicalism in the 20th Century. Find previously hidden sources of information on both far-right and far-left political groups in the US, the UK, and other geographic regions. Materials include periodicals, campaign propaganda, government records, oral histories, and ephemera such as stickers, leaflets, and pamphlets.

Documents trace the development of movements once considered “fringe” that have since achieved acceptance (movements for minority rights, women’s rights, and gay rights) and others whose hateful ideologies persist (anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, white supremacist, and white nationalist). You’ll get unique, behind-the-scenes perspectives on often inaccessible groups such as the Black Panther Party and the John Birch Society.

Peripheral groups of all stripes deemed “extreme” or “radical” by contemporaries are represented—anti-war, communist or socialist, creationist, environmentalist, holocaust denial, new left, survivalist.

Collection highlights:

  • The Hall-Hoag Collection of Dissenting and Extremist Printed Propaganda from the John Hay Library at Browextremist literature from the mid-1950s to the late 1970s, includes a cross-section of extremist reactions to integration and civil rights activism, and materials on American anti-Semitism, Christian Identity theology, neo-Nazi groups, and white supremacy movements.
  • The American Radicalism Collection from Michigan State University—ephemera on radical political groups, including those involved in religion, race, gender, the environment, and equal rights, from 1970 to the present.
  • The Searchlight Archive, held at the University of Northampton in the UKmaterial from Searchlight Associates, founded in 1962 to investigate racist and fascist groups in Britain and abroad, and publicize their activities. Includes ephemera, the complete run of Searchlight magazine (1965–present), oral histories, interviews with anti-fascists active from 1940s–1990s, available as audio files and transcripts.
  • The National Archives at Kew in the UKdigitized secret service and home office documents relating to inter-and post-war British fascist and communist movements, includes files on suspected spies in the First and Second World War periods and the inter-war years.

Political Extremism & Radicalism in the 20th Century is an invaluable resource to researchers focused on international and European history, politics, international relations, and government studies, as well as African American studies, gender studies, sociology, psychology, and religious studies.

Library Hires New Director of Communications

The University of Virginia Library is very pleased to announce the hire of Elyse Girard as the Library’s new Director of Communications. She will report to Dean of Libraries John Unsworth and will be a member of the Library’s senior leadership team.

Elyse Girard -photo by Tom Daly

Elyse Girard
-photo by Tom Daly

Girard currently manages all communications for the University of Virginia’s Bicentennial. She has been responsible for directing a wide-variety of communications, marketing, and project management operations that touched multiple parts of the President’s Office and University Advancement. Throughout her time at UVA, Girard has supported over 115 events, secured national media attention for the University, won two international design awards and produced a documentary film that debuted at the Virginia Film Festival.

A graduate of Old Dominion University and the Maryland Institute College of Art, Girard developed communication strategies for the City of Norfolk prior to coming to the University of Virginia. In that role, her responsibilities included communications for the Norfolk Public Library and its branches, including the grand opening of Slover Library.

“I’m thrilled to join the University of Virginia Library to advance the Library’s strategic communications,” said Girard. “The Library has many exciting projects taking place and I’m thankful to get the opportunity to contribute to its mission in supporting the University.”

Girard will work with staff in the Library’s Advancement and UX units to form a new Communications unit that will cover not only Advancement communications but also communications with faculty and students, and internal Library communications as well. She will start in the Library on August 5th, 2019.


Welcome, Elyse!

Library’s Whitman exhibition “Encompassing Multitudes” features contemporary voices

Of all dangers to a Nation, as things exist in our day, there can be no greater one than having certain portions of the people set off from the rest by a line drawn—they not privileged as others, but degraded, humiliated, made of no account. —Walt Whitman, Democratic Vistas, 1871

“Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos …”

Special Collections’ bicentennial birthday exhibition, “Encompassing Mulitudes: The Song of Walt Whitman,” will come down after July 27, so there is still time to come to the main gallery of the Harrison Institute and Small Special Collections Library and feast your eyes on the great poet’s printed and handwritten words. Time also to feast your ears on some contemporary American voices from the multitudes Whitman set out to encompass with verse that sounds a good deal more like speech.

At the center of the exhibition, behind displays of Whitman writings, is a series of video clips from a continuing project, Whitman, Alabama, by filmmaker, journalist, and artist Jennifer Chang Crandall, in which she asks people from all walks of life in Alabama to read verses from Whitman’s “Song of Myself” for the camera. Essentially, Crandall is taking Whitman’s poetry to the common people as the poet himself intended, to those he called “roughs” and identified with, and wrote so eloquently about.

Crandall, who was born in Ethiopia to a white father from Colorado and a Chinese mother, and who was raised in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Haiti, has often deflected the question “Where are you from?” by answering “Washington, D.C.” or “I’m not really from anywhere.” Now she believes a better answer is “I’m a little bit from a lot of places.” At age 16 she was drawn to Whitman’s poetry; and at 37 she concluded that pairing “lives lived today in a Southern state with old 19th century text written by a Yankee seemed like a great way to get at ideas of connection and American identity.”

When asked in an interview if someone without her experience of mediating between cultures could have made this project, Crandall replied, “Walt Whitman did!” … in ‘Song of Myself’ he produced a highly empathetic work and he was a white dude from New York. He had something that compelled him to connect or understand that no matter how we see ourselves, we are inextricably linked to others.”

Before the exhibition closes in July, please come to the main gallery of the Harrison Institute and Small Special Collections Library and find your own connection with Whitman and America’s still emerging identity. Look beyond the printed and written words for the voice behind the writing, and realize that Whitman’s song, like any other song, is not meant to be silently read, but to be heard and heeded.

Library awards Skanska with construction management contract for Alderman Renovation

Skanska ( was awarded the construction management contract for the Alderman Renovation Project on June 7, 2019.  Skanska has experience with library and higher education building projects, and they are currently managing the UVA hospital expansion.  HBRA, our architect for the project, and University staff will now start working with Skanska on construction documents and developing a construction project schedule. We will provide more information about the schedule as it becomes available.

Learn more about the Alderman Renovation. 

High School Interns 2019: DAY 4

What is your proudest accomplishment while interning at the UVA Library thus far and why?

printing press made on 3-D printer

Seychelle’s first 3-D project took five days

My proudest accomplishment was finishing the 3D printing press. Overall, it took five days to complete all the parts along with assembly. I was proud that I helped recreating this old relic. Picking out the color combination was also a fun part of putting my own element into the project. After finishing the printing, I realized I had learned more than I thought I had about the Scholar’s Lab. — Seychelle

My proudest accomplishment has been learning the LOC system so quickly and acclimating to an academic library environment. I feel a lot more comfortable in academic libraries now and don’t feel like I am invading UVA’s space because I have learned that it is a place for the community too. I will definitely continue to use the UVA library. — Talia

That I got all my work done in my jobs sites and that I got to learn new and cool thing like how to reserve maps and old artifact on the computers. I also learn how to digitals book by there pageas and that I take a short amount of time. — Eva

My proudest accomplishment while interning at UVA library was folding the boxes at the preservation and doing the sewing pamphlet because I felt a sort of nostalgia while doing it so it was a pleasant feeling to return to. — Bawk

series of photos of Bawk folding a box and sewing a pamphlet

Bawk folds boxes and sews a pamphlet in Preservation

My proudest accomplishment is 100% the buttons I made and the stuff I learned on the drawing tablet! It was just so fun and exciting and challenging to create something new. Being able to do two new things i have always wanted to do and have them actually work made me so proud of myself. It strengthened my art abilities and creative thinking. It also challenged me to test out new methods and problem solve. — Theo

My proudest accomplishment was being able to attend an usability testing with Melinda. Several people were asked a series of questions, and had to perform some tasks that would help the Melinda see if the new Library staff website was usable. It was fun to see how that process works, and how every person tackled a task differently, and to see their thought process. Another thing I am proud of accomplishing, and contributing to was helping Amber making spreadsheets to see which forms need to be deleted from the website. I also was proud of being able to help Jasmin come up with ideas for a poster for the Library. — Tianna

collage of Tianna's fourth day

Collage of Tianna’s fourth day


High School Interns 2019: DAY 3

What is the most interesting job you have undertaken and/or skill you have gained while interning at the library so far? Why is it the most interesting?

A skill I have gained was to think outside of the box and not to give up easily. I learned this from being in the Scholar’s Lab and working with the 3D printers. I had to learn how to work the printing program and be creative with the tools I have. We also faced issues with the plastic not being sufficient and making a mess. We did not give up and we kept working to solve the problem. — Seychelle

The most useful skill I have learned is how to navigate the LOC classification system. This will be incredibly useful for me when I go to college next year, and could even help me get a job in the library there. I also learned that as a member of the Charlottesville community I can go to the special collections library at any time (that it is open) and look at anything from the special collections. I have also found it interesting to learn about how books get put back on the shelves. I am excited to learn more! — Talia

stack of Tibetan books Talia cataloged

Tibetan cataloging workstation and the books Talia cataloged

Today was a hard day I got to work late. At least I learned something new I got to didolatise music sheet and of a book and paso put the spine and the front cover of the book online and I found out that I was my last day there working with the amazing people that work there but I will come back and viste.Me and my mentor whent to and amazing hidden garment and we sit there and she talk and draw what we saw a I saw a dragon clow and the middle of the garden and she draw this amazing trees and landscape with lot of details . we when to visit the retantra and there was so many wonderful thing like a beautiful landyshade and room filled with  amazing artifice of the way the school use to look like and how long it took to build this place . on the second floor I saw a fireplace that had a footprint on top of a brick door that I saw with on the picture I took on my phone but thith out it there is no door and you can’t see it .At the very top of the building there is the enormous amount of space when you get up there the light shine in and there there is this amazing scenery that you can feel in the room and the peace in there . — Eva

Book that was in the Preservation book press

A book that was in the Preservation book press

The most interesting skill that I learned today was sewing music sheet in to the folder. It was interesting to me because I have never sew music sheet before and honestly my hands hurt pulling the strings but I love doing it. — Bawk

The most interesting job I had during the internship was creating the book marks for all of the other interns with Seychelle!  I learned how to create my own 3D Printing designs. This was the most interesting skill I learned because it was really fun, challenging, new, and I got to be creative with it! — Theo



view of a room in the UVA Rotunda

In the UVA Rotunda

The most interesting skill I have gained was to be able to help Amber make spreadsheets to determine what forms on the Library website would they need to take down , if it’s not being used. I made columns for name, entries, views, and date of the last entry, and that helped us determine which forms should be removed, or maybe revised. I also got to learn about what steps, and the process Amber undergoes to create headlines for web page for different department advertisements. It was really interesting because, I got to see what goes on behind the scenes and the different aspects of the library page. — Tianna


High School Interns 2019: DAY 2

What was the most exciting thing you did or learned today? Why was it exciting?

Theo holds three buttons that she made

Theo’s first three buttons

The most exciting thing I got to do today was make buttons! I learned how to use the Wacom Cintiq 22HD with Photoshop to make a button design sheet. I drew out a few little designs and played with tools like the gradient effect tool. Learning more about digital art is really exciting because it’s something I have always wanted to do! — Theo

Today I had the opportunity to go into the special collections library, vault, and stacks. Inthe stacks, I got to read from a first edition of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. In the vault, I saw a first edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, papers from the Alcott family, and also some of Thomas Jefferson’s plans for UVA. As part of my placement, I learned how to sort books in the Library of Congress system and learned more about the inner workings of the library. Talia

Two books open to pages with illustrations

Two books from Special Collections

The most exciting thing I did today was going to the special collection to learn about different types of book during different century and what was used to create those types of books. I find it fascinating that people in those century revered books very much and that book determined status and wealth. It was also exciting to see different literature games, authors notes and the binding because they were so intact that it is hard to believe that they are some century years old. — Bawk

computer screen displaying 3-D printing software

Designing objects using 3-D printing software

I learned how to fully work and design objects in a 3D printing program. I put together shapes to make a monkey smiling holding a banana. I also got to create my very own buttons. On the second day of the internship the button machine was trial and error. The next day we found the instructions and figured it out. I got to create unique pins from my own drawings and printouts. — Seychelle


The most exciting thing I learn today, I learn how to tack picture of film and write information about them I also got to make them pretty and look better.I got to spent time with my mentor in a calm and peaceful garden in the sun and in the shade the wind started make the trees dance around us.After that I we went back to aldamen liberty and we separated from there she when her way and I went my way till next time we said to each other.I also learn about different  type of form of book and writing from the past .Eva

The most exciting thing I did today was attend a meeting with the UX team, and tour the special collections building. The meeting was exciting because I got to see how the UX team runs things throughout the meetings, and how they collaborate to solve issues. It was exciting to be a part of it, and to really see how they work on a daily basis. The tour in the special collections building was exciting and fascinating to see the exhibitions. It was really exciting to look at all the books, and learn about them, and also, seeing the smallest book they have.  Tianna

collage of books and interns from Tianna's second day

Collage of Tianna’s second day


High School Interns 2019: DAY 1

What do you hope to learn during this internship? What surprised you the most about your first day at the Library and why?

During this internship I hope to learn how I can utilize the Library more in my senior year of high school, and all the resources the Library offers that can make me a better student, and excel. I also want to learn everything about what the UX does, and how they do it. I want to learn how they created the websites, tickets, and how they tackle to complete each task. I want to learn all about what steps and process the UX team goes through to make these certain designs. What surprised me the first day was the level and type of work the UX team does., and how everyone has a set task but they all collaborate together. What also surprised me was that I got to go to a meeting with them discussing captioning for youtube videos on the Library page. — Tianna

scenes from Tianna's first day of internship

Tianna’s first day

I am hoping to be more open and outgoing in the internship.To talk to more people to not get nerves  and to be able to start a conversation with a new person. The thing that surprised me on my first day was how early everyone got here.  also that on my work site how interesting to look at the way the people use to write and how they use maps in the past as well as how different virgina was long ago. I can’t wait till tomorrow and to experans a new day and a new adventure that is  waits for me . — Eva

What I hope to learn from my internship is ways to connect art and technology and experiment with new pieces of technology. I want to learn new 3D printing and digital art related skills. I was most surprised by how fun and engaging the entire day was. I wasn’t nearly as stressed or confused as I thought I would be! The environment was very calm and educational but still fun and exciting to be in. — Theo

I hope to learn more about the binding if I am allowed because I am fascinated with different types of binding in different century. What surprised me the most about my first day at the Library is that the Library offers more than information and is involved in many fields such as media center, 3D printing, preserving special items and so much more that I have yet to explored.  — Bawk

As a long-term patron of Charlottesville’s libraries, I hope to learn more about how the library works from the inside. I am also excited to learn more about all of the services libraries have beyond books. I was surprised by how far the special collections library goes. I knew the UVA library was big, but I didn’t realize how big it really was. I am excited to become more familiar with the UVA library and the LOC system. — Talia

I was aspiring to learn the parts of the library and what the employees do to contribute to the library. I was surprised that there were so many hidden gems and interesting aspects in the building. I also learned that most people see library’s as just a place where books are kept, but they more than that. Library’s store bucket loads of information at your fingertips, and that information is waiting for someone to read it. Reading all the books in the library sounds impossible, but if you did, you would be the most knowledgeable person in life. — Seychelle

Library Welcomes Six New High School Interns

We have six new interns! The Library High School Summer Internship program is in its third year and offers paid internships to local high school students so they can learn more about libraries. Our interns will be blogging every day so please watch this space!

six 2019 high school interns

Talia, Seychelle, Eva, Bawk, Theo, Tianna

Info about the 2020 internships will be posted on this site