Updated: What to expect at the Library in summer 2021


Summer is always a quieter period in the UVA Library, but we know it’s a critical time for making progress on research! Additionally, various special events take place during the summer which affect Library operations in small ways, and some academic programs begin early… so we’re ready to help you get what you need!

In short:

Beginning Monday, June 7: The biggest change for summer 2021 is that Clemons Library, and Special Collections appointments, are now open to the public.

For anyone visiting Library spaces:

  • Requests for Library books must be submitted in advance. Read more about services for Community Patrons, and the request process. No in-person book browsing is currently available, and staff are unable to retrieve items “on demand”.
  • You are welcome to study/read, use public computers, and browse DVDs.
  • The Library stacks are not available this summer, but all patrons can now request items for pickup at Clemons Library.
  • LEO Mobile (item pickup at the Central Grounds Parking Garage) is available to undergraduate and grad students, as well as faculty and staff, through the summer! This service has never before been extended to undergrads and we’re happy to be able to offer it. Learn how to make a request in Virgo.

Need quick reference? The Status Dashboard will always be up to date with current Library offerings, and COVID-19 FAQ holds more detailed information.

Most Library services will remain available through the summer, so if you need assistance, just ask! Spaces and hours will be limited, but Library staff work all summer long and are happy to assist.

Clemons Library open to all; Special Collections open by appointment

Clemons Library is the only space open for general study space this summer, but Special Collections remains open by appointmentSee full Library hours.

Masks optional for fully vaccinated patrons: Vaccinated patrons are no longer required to use facial coverings. If you are unvaccinated, masks remain required.

Special Collections services: Online Reference Requests will remain available all summer long, and Special Collections is available in person by appointment.

If you have an appointment in Special Collections, you’ll need to leave ALL drinks outside the Reading Room before you enter.

Access to Collections

  • Digital access continues:Our expanded access to digital items through HathiTrust ETAS will continue through the Summer, meaning millions of additional items are now available digitally through Virgo.
  • Stacks closed to public:As long as the HathiTrust ETAS service is available, we are not able to provide direct browsing access to the Stacks. If conditions around the pandemic allow, this may change in fall 2021, so stay tuned! Read more in COVID-19 FAQ.
  • Item pickup now available for all:Our request services continue through the summer. ALL patrons, including members of the public, can now use their Virgo login to request items for pickup in Clemons. Faculty, staff, graduate, and undergraduate students may also request  “LEO Mobile” pickup at the Central Grounds Parking Garage.

What else?

Most checked-out items have now been renewed: sign in to Virgo to see new due dates. Most items are now due August 27, 2021, or later. Note that some specialty items cannot be renewed so check your Virgo account to confirm all due dates.

Ask a Librarian web chat is offering extended hours all summer long! Ask a Librarian summer hours are:

  • Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m
  • Friday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Closed Saturday
  • Sunday: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

FAQ is available on the Ask a Librarian page if you need help during off hours.


Please don’t hesitate to ask if you don’t see what you need or need help with a Library service. We’re here to help!


The post above was updated on May 17 to correspond with UVA’s Health and Safety Requirements around facial coverings, and again on June 4 after UVA opened Grounds to community users and visitors.


Celebrate Pride in June and all year round!

All year round, but especially in June, we celebrate members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning communities and remember and honor the lives of people who have advanced their human rights. Your Librarian for African American and African Studies, Katrina Spencer, recommends the following works as a way of helping you learn more about the peoples represented by the letters LGBTQ, their narratives, their questions, and their lives.

“GoodbyeThumbnail image of book cover., My Havana: The Life and Times of a Gringa in Revolutionary Cuba”, Anna Veltfort, 2019

Author Anna Veltfort was an expatriate from the United States living in Fidel Castro’s Cuba. In this coming-of-age memoir, she must deal with the political tensions of world powers in the 1960s while also navigating her sexuality under a repressive regime that values obedience and conformity. True tales of scarcity, privilege, and clandestine gatherings are all shared in this beautifully illustrated graphic novel, recalling an historic, mid-20th century era with authenticity, fear, and longing. You can also read the e-book in Spanish, “Adiós, Mi Habana: Las Memorias de Una Gringa y Su Tiempo en los años Revolucionarios de la década de los 60”.

“I’m Afraid of Men”Thumbnail image of book cover., Vivek Shraya, 2018

This intensely personal account tracks Canadian Vivek Shraya’s experiences in relationships and with her own femininity. Vivek is transgender and grew up in a society that rejected her gender expression. This autobiographical account examines the fear and doubt she has endured on her journey to self-acceptance. The memoir at once encompasses victimhood, struggle, and triumph. It importantly questions the tendency of society to require people of historically marginalized identities to first display evidence of suffering before receiving respect for their humanity. The title is brief yet the questions it posits are enduring.

“Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More”, Janet Mock, 2014

While growing up in Hawaii, author Janet Mock navigated questions of gender identity with little guidance or know-how and needed to escape her father’s overbearing masculinity in order to find herself. In this memoir, Mock reveals the ways in which people who identify as transgender and/or gender non-conforming are statistically more likely to experience bullying and marginalization. Particularly poignant are chapters that include testimonies about survival sex work and what has become known as “medical tourism”: visiting foreign locales in pursuit of expert, discreet and/or affordable medical procedures.

“Bim Bom: Historias de Lucha”Thumbnail image of book cover., by Arturo Infante and Renier Quer, 2016

“Bim Bom” is the Spanish-language tale of three Cuban men who participate in survival sex work with male tourists in order to financially make ends meet. Largely by enticing clients off the street, the men attend parties organized by foreigners (many European) that include illicit drugs and orgies. The money they earn goes toward house repairs, child support, clothing, gym memberships, and other expenses. Some of the sex workers are gay; some are bisexual; some are heterosexual; many are underemployed and find difficulty supporting themselves outside of this market. This “moonlighting” for secondary income exposes them to a variety of dangers such as wage theft and jailing. This monochrome graphic novel is a brief read that shows more than it tells and documents a sex trade that is predatory and precarious.

“Brokeback Mountain”Thumbnail image of book cover., Annie Proulx, 1998

Many of us are familiar with the cinematic adaptation of this title, but not necessarily the novella that inspired it. It’s a sparse work that tells of two men living in Wyoming as cowboys and within a community in which their love is strictly forbidden, harshly stigmatized, and fatally punished. Proulx is a master writer whose style of saying only what needs to be said mirrors the nature of the hard, unforgiving, traditionally masculine labors her characters carry out. I cannot praise this work enough and highly recommend it. The movie was highly lauded but the raw material from which it was born is the true gem.

For more titles that study themes of gender and/or sexuality, contact Erin Pappas and review the Library’s Women, Gender, and Sexuality research guide. Need a break from reading? Try out these podcasts!

UVA Arts Council grant will help revive popular performance series in the Music Library

In 2014, then-UVA Music Librarian Matthew Vest started a program, “Making Noise in the Music Library,” that provided a new venue for guest performers, including student groups and others who might not otherwise have a space to share their creative work. Vest envisioned that “simply by inviting music and noise into a controlled environment,” the program would make “the library itself a locus of the types of scholarly and artistic conversations that typically happen in non-library spaces.” He was right — the “Making Noise” series proved very popular, often filling the library during performances. However, due to the pandemic the season was cut short in 2020, and the program (along with the Music Library itself) remained shuttered throughout the 2020-21 academic year.

With funding through a grant from the UVA Arts Council, that will change. “Making Noise and Reconnecting after COVID” will revive the series in fall of 2021 and fund monthly performances through the 2021-22 academic year. Grant applicant Amy Hunsaker, Research Librarian for Music & Performing Arts, designed the revived program with an increased emphasis on student involvement. In addition to faculty, student performers will be invited from the Music, Drama, Art, Creative Writing, and Dance departments, and guest performers for two concerts will be selected and invited by an interdisciplinary graduate student steering committee.

Students performing a play in the Music Library while audience looks on. The space has high vaulted ceilings and bookshelves line the visible wall.

“Making Noise and Reconnecting after COVID” will transform the Music Library into a performance space, as the earlier “Making Noise” series did. Above, “Prospective” from “An Evening of Short Plays” — a 2018 performance by students in professor Doug Grissom’s playwrighting class. “Prospective” featured Randy Risher, Priyanka Shetty, Mary Ann Neale, and Jordan Maia.

Hunsaker hopes that the series will increase the visibility of the arts on Grounds, help build stronger relationships between the arts disciplines and between those disciplines and the Library, and also help strengthen relationships with the local arts community. Not only will “Making Noise” raise awareness of the Music Library as a partner in the arts and help rejuvenate live performance in the UVA and Charlottesville communities, but at least one of the invited guest artists will be from the local community. “By providing a platform for artistic endeavors at UVA and beyond,” said Hunsaker, “we hope to inspire UVA and local community members to engage with the Library in new ways.”

The $8,000 grant will pay guest artists, fund faculty honoraria, and support publicity and promotion of the performances. In addition, the grant will cover the cost of hosting receptions at each performance to encourage attendance and foster a collegial and casual atmosphere for performers and attendees to mingle. Hunsaker and colleagues at the Music Library will organize and promote the events and revive the “Making Noise” website, which makes information about the series freely available online. Visit the site for updates, and to learn more about the series and take a look at past performances.

Disparate objects UNITE! Preservation housing adventures in Mylar

This post was contributed by Nicole Royal, Preservation Projects Specialist at the UVA Library.

It’s Preservation Week 2021! During this time, libraries and other cultural institutions across the nation highlight their work in the pursuit of preservation education and information. Coordinated by the American Library Association each year, we hope you will take the opportunity to learn more about UVA Library’s Preservation program on our website and on Twitter.

Preservation staff in libraries, archives, and museums are often challenged to preserve and provide access to collection objects with unique housing needs. These can be especially tricky if they have distinctive parts, which cannot (or should not) be separated, are constructed from different materials, and are connected in a way that has the potential to cause damage over time (such as during use and handling).

An ideal preservation housing for these items would allow the objects to be safely stored, while also facilitating use.

Enter (…wait for it…): the Mylar tray with insert!

Getting started

Before we begin, it is important to note that Mylar isn’t ideal for every project. It produces a static charge and tends to collect dust, eraser crumbs, and other things while you work. Having clean hands and a clean work bench helps, but it shouldn’t be used with media that is loose, flaking, or moveable (i.e., charcoal drawings, pastels or an object with flaking paint).

Tools used:

  1. Mylar: The project in this example used 4mm, but 3mm would also work (learn more about Mylar and its preservation uses)
  2. Pencil and eraser
  3. Ruler or tape measure
  4. Olfa, X-Acto knife, or scalpel
  5. Bone Folder (I also used a Teflon folder, personal preference, but not necessary)
  6. Triangle
  7. Double-sided tape
  8. Gloves (optional, but Mylar tends to get covered in your fingerprints.)

Work table with gloves, tape, ruler, Mylar roll, pencil, eraser, knife, and tape measure

A postcard with a keychain hanging over the top. The keychain is a chain with a small football at the end.

Please note: Model objects were used for the purpose of this demonstration, to illustrate an example of how I have used this process to create housings for special collections material.

Pencil and ruler with hand-written note showing measurements

Start by measuring your object and its parts. Include the height, width, and depth (at the thickest point). Write these measurements down because you will continue to refer to them throughout this process.

Side view of small football laying on card. An arrow points to the vertical height of the ball.

In this case, the depth is measured here

Consider your measurements for the largest or primary item — in this case, the postcard. You will need to add 2x the depth of the secondary piece (in this case, the attached 3D chained piece) to both the height and the width; this will provide you enough material to form the walls of the Mylar tray. Allow for a bit of space around the primary object, enough for ease in placement and a comfortable fit” in the tray, but not so much it slides around. I tend to add a millimeter (or two) for this purpose.

Making the tray

Cut your Mylar to size using your preferred tools. Use a bone folder and triangle to score your folds.

A gloved person uses a bone folder to score a sheet of Mylar

Carefully fold along your scored lines (I use the Teflon folder), to create the beginnings of the walls for your tray.

A gloved person holds a clear plastic sheet with creases around the edges as if to make a box

Decide which edges, long or short, you will cut to create the tabs/flaps. These will wrap around the outside of the walls to create the corners.

A box cutter sits beside the edge of Mylar with a small cut to allow for corner folds

Place your object inside before proceeding further; now would be a good time for a fit check with your item.

With the bottom tray constructed, the item is now placed inside the tray to make sure it fits.

If the fit is good, use the double-sided tape to secure the tabs/flaps and attach them to the outside edge.

An X of tape can be seen on the corner flap on the Mylar sheet

The tray should look something like this:

Clear plastic tray with sides, fully assembled

Creating the insert

Next, create the insert. It will lay gently on top of the primary object to provide easy viewing while keeping the secondary/attached piece from moving around and causing damage. Remember the measurements you noted earlier — the object dimensions (H x W x D)? You will need them here. Don’t worry about adding the 2x calculation again; we’re not making walls at this juncture.

Cut another piece of Mylar to the height and width of the primary object (in this example, the postcard). Round the corners, as Mylar is sharp. Along the top edge, make a mark where the secondary/three-dimensional piece connects to the (primary piece) postcard. Using care, measure the width of the attached (secondary) 3D component and mark it with your pencil directly on the Mylar aligned exactly where the piece rests. Use the Olfa knife to make a cut down the center of this marked area. Then make another cut, perpendicular along the bottom of the marked area, creating two flaps. (Take care not to cut beyond the length of the chain or secondary object attachment.) Fold the flaps up and back. Round the corners of these flaps. This creates an opening in the insert for the chain that attaches these dissimilar objects together.

A gloved hand points to an open panel with flaps, like window shutters

The same item with window opening and flaps like shutters is help up for a different view

Making piece 3: Internal casing

Cut a third piece of Mylar to the dimensions H x W x D of the secondary/attached object (x2 for Depth only, to account for walls) and round the corners. Mark the width and, using the bone folder, score, and fold the sides to create walls. The walls should be the same height as the walls of the tray. The third piece should be “U” shaped, and look like this:

A gloved hand holds a U-shaped piece of Mylar, which will form 3 sides to a box for the football

Check the size of the third piece, noting the height (equal to the height of the 3D object), depth (equal to the walls of tray) and width (equal to the width of the 3D object). You will notice, in this case, the walls are taller than the walls I created for the chain. If correct, apply double-sided tape to the underside of the third piece of Mylar and secure it into place on top of the insert.

The completed insert should look like this, with a pocket for the hanging item:

The assembled insert, with box for the football, opening for the chain, and flat space elsewhere


With the parts and pieces complete, put it all together now.

The fully-assembled final piece. The postcard sits in the clear box, and the insert sits on top of the postcard and provides support to the keychain, without allowing the keychain to rub against the card directly

Upon completion, this Mylar tray provides the student/researcher/instructor with an unobstructed view while in use or consultation. For long-term storage, the tray would be stored in a box with a lid, on shelves in the stacks area when not in use.

The Mylar tray with insert can be created rather quickly and easily once you have a bit of experience. These instructions can be easily altered or modified to fit different needs and preferences. In fact, I’m already considering alternatives to incorporate a similar housing for another set of objects.

This piece, written by Preservation Projects Specialist Nicole Royal, offers insight into one of the many strategies our preservation team has developed for housing dissimilar formats.

Read more about Preservation Week from the American Library Association.

Library contributes to carbon-neutral future

Solar array on the roof of Clemons Library.

April 22 is Earth Day, and the Library is celebrating its contribution to a carbon-neutral future. To find out more, check out the Cavalier Daily article “U.Va. and William & Mary provides updates on their joint climate action plan” and check UVA’s Renewable Energy Tracker to see how UVA is bringing the sun into libraries and other buildings with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030!

Currently, two solar arrays are helping to power the library system — 325 solar panels on the roof of Clemons Library and 470 on the roof of the Ivy Stacks storage and retrieval facility.