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

Wei Wang: Librarian for East Asian Language, Literature, & Cultures

Subject Liaisons are librarians who focus on specific topics. They have a robust knowledge of library resources and are happy to assist with research and answer questions, large and small! 

Today we’re interviewing Wei Wang, who is the Research Librarian for East Asian Studies.

Subject Specialties

  • East Asian Language, Literature, & Cultures


Can you give an example of specific ways you’ve been able to help people learning and working in your subject specialty areas?

Wei Wang

Recently I had an upper class undergraduate working as a research assistant on Chinese environmental issues. She does not read Chinese, but was asked to find news coverage of a specific Chinese city. She remarked, “I found some great sources through the databases you showed me”.

What’s the best way for people to find or contact you?

My office is very difficulty to find.  Just email me first and I’ll come to Alderman Café to pick you up!

If someone comes to you for help, what does that look like? Is it usually a one-shot deal? Do you work together long-term?

It depends.  For undergraduates, usually one-shot.  UVA China office has found our library and librarians quite helpful—sending inquires to me, to Jean Cooper, and know to look for treasures at Special Collections.

What’s a resource you think people in your subject area(s) aren’t very aware of, but would find useful?

National Diet Library (NDL), Japan offers interlibrary loan to the users outside of Japan.

Enthusiastic endorsements…

“[Wei is] a miracle worker”

Visit Wei’s staff directory page.



Clay Ford: Librarian for Statistics

Subject Liaisons are librarians who focus on specific topics. They have a robust knowledge of library resources and are happy to assist with research and answer questions, large and small!

Today we’re interviewing Clay Ford, who is the Senior Research Data Scientist for Statistics.

Subject Specialties

  • Statistics

Contact: Email | Visit Brown Library i-044

What are some of the specific ways you can help people learning and working in your subject specialty area(s)?


Clay Ford

I manage the UVA Library’s Statistical Consulting Service, StatLab. That means I can help people get up and running with statistical software such as R, Stata, SPSS and SAS. In particular I have a great deal of experience with “data wrangling”, which is manipulating and cleaning data so it is ready for analysis and visualization.

For example, imagine having 20 years of survey data spread across 20 spreadsheets. To visualize change in survey responses over time, we need to combine those 20 data sets into a single data set. That is something best done programmatically as opposed to by hand. I can also help with selecting, implementing and/or interpreting a statistical method when it comes to analyzing data. In our survey, some response values appear to increase over time. How do we quantify the increase? Is the increase real or perhaps due to random chance? Can we build a model to forecast future responses? Is our model any good?

Every fall and spring I teach workshops on statistical software and methods. I try my best to make the workshops self-contained so they’re suitable for self-study and reference. See what’s on tap and browse my past workshops.

I also write tutorials on various statistical and data wrangling topics.

If someone comes to you for help, what does that look like?

Since coming to the library in 2013 I have hosted hundreds of consultations. A few examples include helping a Curry faculty determine samples sizes for experiments, helping a Darden faculty respond to reviewer comments on the statistical analysis of an article, helping a nursing PhD candidate wrangle air quality data for visualizations, helping a statistics graduate student web scrape figure skating scores, helping a student health staff member analyze student survey data, and helping numerous undergraduates pull together a statistical analysis for their distinguished majors thesis.

Students and faculty will usually email with some questions and ask to meet. I’ll schedule an hour of time and we’ll meet in my office. Occasionally I’ll go to a faculty’s office if that’s more convenient for providing assistance. If possible, I try to get as much information about their questions in advance. What’s the research question? What kind of questions do you have for me? What have you tried so far? Can you share a small sample of your data? Anything to help me prepare and ensure we hit the ground running and have a productive session.

Sometimes one meeting is all it takes, especially if it’s a technical question such as how to merge two data sets, or how to make a specific tweak to a graph. Other times we’ll continue to meet over and over throughout the semester. This often occurs when someone is working on a big project and they learn I am available as a resource. They’ll use me as a reference as they encounter difficulties or want a second set of eyes to review their statistical analysis.

What are some research challenges you enjoy?

The biggest challenge for me, and one that I am determined to enjoy, is evolving and keeping pace with statistical computing and methodologies. For example, ten years ago a compelling visualization was a static 2-dimesional plot with a bit of color. Now it’s an interactive web-based application. When I finished grad school, I thought SAS was the primary statistical programming. Now it’s pretty much R and Python. It’s exciting to imagine where everything will be in 10 or 20 years. It’s going to be a challenge to keep up, but one that I embrace.

What’s something surprising you’ve found in the course of your work in this subject area?

Michele Claibourn (Director of Research Data Services) and I started a user group for the R statistical computing language. We knew there was interest in R around grounds, but had no idea if a user group would appeal to anyone. Well, 5 years and 500 members later, we know there is major interest! It’s fascinating to see how a seemingly niche language like R has found its way into such disciplines as education, archaeology, finance, physics and sociology.

What’s a resource you think people in your subject area(s) aren’t very aware of, but would find useful?

That’s easy. Our Licensed Data Sources. Students in statistics classes are often tasked with finding data to carry out an analysis for a project. Their first reaction is to start Googling for data sources. (That was mine when I was a statistics student at UVA!) While that can certainly turn up some free and open source data sets, it won’t get you access to licensed (read: not free) data sources. That’s where the UVA Library comes in. We provide access to a couple of dozen very large data sources spanning several disciplines. Do yourself a favor and browse our collection!

What’s a recent book you’ve read that you’d recommend?

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

What’s a place or an activity you enjoy in Charlottesville?

My wife and I enjoy unwinding and reflecting at Champion Brewery.

Enthusiastic Endorsements…

“I wanted to thank you very much for taking the time to work through with me the data in the two conference papers. You were very patient and very helpful. As a result I have been able to convey the difference in the results, and their overall meaning, with much more confidence and detail than would have been possible without the time you gave to help me understand the issues in the data.”


“I just needed to extend my sincere gratitude and thanks to Clay Ford, for writing the page “Understanding Q-Q Plots” on the University of Virginia Library website. This is the best explanation of Q-Q plot understanding I have seen on the whole internet. It is amazing.”


“[Clay,]… I wanted to tell you that this particular project was finally accepted for publication at a very prestigious psych journal. So, I wanted to reach out to you to thank YOU for all the incredible help that you’ve given me over the past two years. We really couldn’t have done it without you.”


“I really appreciate your receptiveness, time and expertise. I would have been scrambling and panicking had you not been there at some critical moments. So, thank you.”


“Your Reading PDF Files into R [tutorial] was not only accessible, it was also immediately actionable.”

Visit Clay’s staff directory page.


Library online resource fDi Markets—the latest news on global Foreign Direct Investments

The new Library online resource fDi Markets is a comprehensive database monitoring worldwide activity of “greenfield” investments. What are greenfield investments? They’re a type of foreign direct investment (FDI) where businesses start new companies in foreign countries rather buy into existing companies. Want data on China’s greenfield investments in the United States, or on US investments in China? You can find them in fDi Markets.

Enter special access code “UOV” to log in. After you have registered and agreed to the terms of use, you’ll get an email with a link allowing access for 60 minutes, which you can extend if you need more time.

Everything on the screen relates to the current search, filtered by categories such as “Source markets,” “Destination markets,” “Industries,” “Companies,” “Company turnover,” “Date-range,” “Investment/Jobs,” and “Project types.”

For instance, if you want to see data on all of China’s greenfield investments in the United States since 2003, select “New search” at the top of the screen.

Screenshot of fDi Markets search box with "New Search" selected. Select “Source markets” from the drop-down menu.

Screenshot of drop-down menu with "Source markets" selected. Select the the category “Countries,” scroll to China, add it to the the selection box, and Confirm your selection. Go through the same process to choose the United States as the “Destination market.”

Screenshot showing the category "Countries" selected with China is highlighted and ready to be added to the selection box

After you have set the parameters, view the results in four fDi modules by clicking the tabs for “Home – Live Data,” “Project Database,” “Company Database,” or “Trends Analysis” displayed below. All data in the fDi modules relate to your search for investments made in the United States by companies based in China since 2003. Click on the any of the companies to get a company profile and information on projects.

Home – Live Data Overview

Screenshot of "Home - Live Data" module showing profile of the company Dynaudio in a pop-up window.

Projects Database

Screenshot of "Project Database" module showing profile of the company Duan & Duan in a pop-up window.

Company Database

Screenshot of "Company Database" module showing profile of the company Haier Group in a pop-up window.

Trends Analysis

Screenshot of "Trends Analysis" module showing data on greenfield investments by China in the Unites States since 2003.

Jenn Huck: Librarian for Data Discovery, Data Science, Public Policy

Subject Specialists are librarians who focus on specific topics. They have a robust knowledge of library resources and are happy to assist with research and answer questions, large and small!

Today we’re interviewing Jenn Huck, who is a Data Librarian.

Subject Specialties

  • Data Discovery
  • Data Science
  • Public Policy

Contact: Email | Schedule an appointment | Batten students and faculty can also find Jenn in Salesforce.

What are some of the specific ways you can help people learning and working in your subject specialty area(s)?


Jenn Huck

  • Finding or accessing data and statistics for their research project, focusing mostly on the social sciences;
  • Finding local news that will help inform a study about a specific geographic area;
  • Finding, using, and citing gray literature to bolster public policy studies, as well as federal and state government documents.

What’s a key message you’d like people to know?

Undergrads, did you know that there are people in the library that will help you find and use the best materials you need to write impressive research papers?  Also, we don’t grade you, so we hold no judgement.  We just want to see you succeed!

We have a wide variety of skills in the library.  The team I work on has expertise in data discovery, data management, GIS, statistics, Python, research software support, data wrangling, analysis, and visualization, plus several of us have advanced degrees in the disciplines we support. I think people are often surprised to hear about the depth of expertise we have here in the library.  And it seriously makes our day when we get to share our expertise in such a way that it helps someone else succeed.

If someone comes to you for help, what does that look like?

If I’m working with a Batten student, I almost always meet once, one-on-one.  It gives me a chance to hear about their project, and I can show them the library resources that are most suitable for their research. This usually takes half an hour.

If I have a data request, I’ll either meet in person, or I’ll take requests via email, to get a sense of what they are looking for.  Then I typically use my tried-and-true data discovery techniques on my own to see what I can find, then I report back with a detailed email.

What are some research challenges you enjoy? 

I LOVE getting a good data request.  These often take me several hours to sort through.  I think it gives me a chance to flex some traditional librarian skills, but in a data context.  There is no single database for finding data, so it’s a good challenge.  Like many librarians, I’m a dog with a bone in this context.

What’s something interesting you’ve found in the course of your work in this subject area?

ICPSR (“Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research”) is a data archive of over 250,000 social and behavioral datasets.  The best thing about ICPSR is that the datasets are well curated and documented—no more wondering that that variable actually represents.  They also offer a very well-regarded summer program in quantitative methods in social research.

What’s a recent book that you’d recommend?

R for Data Science.  I’m trying to learn more about R; right now, I’m mostly focusing on data wrangling and research project workflow best practices.  R4DS offers a clear introduction to using R for wrangling, visualizing, and modeling data.

What’s a place or an activity you enjoy in Charlottesville?

I have two small children, so we love taking advantage of the city splash pads and public libraries.

What do you enjoy about your job? 

I like hearing about other people’s projects—I get to learn something alongside the researcher.  This job gives me a lot of opportunity to learn new content and skills.

Is there anything else you’d want people to know about you? 

Extending on my personal theme of lifelong learning, I’m currently learning to sew.  I have never done it before this year, but I’m loving making garments, reading about sewing techniques, and watching endless sewing instruction videos.

Visit Jenn’s staff directory page.

Binding Braille Books: A Library Labeling Challenge

A few months ago we were sent a set of books to be bound, in a format we had never bound before: the books were in Braille.  Luckily, Wert Bookbinding, our Library binder, had bound such books before, and knew that with adequate stubbing (stubs of pages put into the spine to give space for the rest of the pages), we wouldn’t have to worry about the Braille dots getting flattened.

When the books came back from the bindery, I realized we had a challenge—the title on the spine was written for someone who was sighted.  How was someone with low- to no vision (who wanted to read a book in Braille) supposed to tell that this was the book for them? Furthermore, how would they distinguish between the four volumes in the set without opening the books?

Braille book, bound, with non-Braille title on spine

Braille book, bound, with non-Braille title on spine

I reached out to Ammon Shepherd in the Scholar’s Lab and asked if he knew if Braille could be 3D printed.   He had never done it before but was up for the challenge and printed out some demo titles.

Before I tried to figure out how to attach the titles to the spines, I thought I better run them by someone who could actually read Braille. Christine Appert, who teaches adaptive technologies at the Curry School, came to my rescue.  Unfortunately the spacing on the 3-d printed images was not consistent and made it confusing to read, so she took it to her Braille translator, Ricki Curry, who made us some Braille title labels using a Braille-specific label-maker.

Braille labels

Image of the Braille title labels before being placed on books

At this point I don’t know if the labels will stand up to the test of time, but what I like about the final product is that the Braille title is on the spine for those with low- to no vision, and the title is also visibly printed directly underneath the transparent Braille label, for the sighted patrons and staff who likely are unable to read Braille.  We have provided a solution that gives everyone what they need to use and shelve this book.

Image of books with transparent Braille title labels placed over the titles orginally stamped by the bindery.

Books with Braille title labels placed overtop the titles originally stamped on by the bindery.

Erin Pappas: Librarian for Linguistics/Media Studies/Slavic Languages & Literatures/Women, Gender, & Sexuality

Subject Liaisons are specialist librarians who focus on specific topics. They have a robust knowledge of library resources and are happy to assist with research and answer questions, large and small!

Today we’re interviewing Erin Pappas, Research Librarian for the Humanities.

Subject Specialties

  • Linguistics
  • Media Studies
  • Slavic Languages & Literatures
  • Women, Gender, & Sexuality

Contact: (434) 924-4982 | | Alderman 408A 

What are some of the ways you can help people learning and working in your subject areas? 


Erin Pappas

I’m usually able to help at various points in the research process. Sometimes people just need to bounce ideas off someone and talk through ideas, others need to know how to structure what they’re doing in terms of research design or methods. Later on, I can help make sure there’s nothing that’s been overlooked.

What do you want people to know about the Library?

That we have a ton of people working here with all kinds of different expertise. That, and librarians absolutely love to answer questions, solve problems, and track down obscure information. We’re like detectives that way!

What’s the best way for people to find or contact you?

I have office hours that people can schedule with me outside of the library, in Brooks or Levering Hall. Otherwise email me to set up an appointment—I am rarely in my office, but if you see me around Grounds certainly say hello!

Can you give us an idea of how it works when you’re assisting someone with their research?

With undergraduate students we usually meet once in-person to discuss their work and strategies for conducting research. Depending on the depth of the project we will usually talk more over email and possibly meet again. If someone is working on a big project, like a capstone or DMP, then I’ll be in touch with them at multiple points over the semester.

What are some research challenges you enjoy?

Tracking down a secondhand citation and finding the original; obscure facts and figures; finding digital surrogates in unexpected places.

What’s something interesting you’ve found in the course of your work?

I absolutely love looking at digital collections of materials from the former Soviet Union: like this one of children’s books from Princeton; Duke’s Soviet poster collection; and the Open Society Archives Soviet propaganda films.

Enthusiastic endorsements…

“[Erin,] thank you so much for coming to our class. The students who attended the session have already commented how useful it was, and how much it is helping them.”


“[A student] said she had been dreading this session because she thought it would be so boring, but she ended up finding it really fun and interesting. You made subject headings interesting!”


“Erin, seriously, you are AMAZING!!!  This assignment looks awesome and I am so deeply appreciative of the work you put into it”

Visit Erin’s staff directory page.

Virgo 4 Prototype is Live

Now Live! Try out the Virgo 4 Prototype.

Things to try from any browser, from any location:

  • Search for a known item
  • Explore a subject area
  • Hide or show a group of search results
  • Limit your search to a specific library
  • Share what worked, and what surprised (and hopefully delighted) you, via email to

Thanks to all the folks who have provided feedback so far. Want to do more? Contact Dave Griles to get on the list of formal testers. We won’t bother you more than 15 minutes once a month.

Up Next:

The next few features will be:

  • Course reserves
  • Internationalization
  • Article searching
  • Library account status

Meet Sherri Brown: Librarian for English

Subject Liaisons are specialist librarians who focus on specific topics. They have a robust knowledge of library resources and are happy to assist with research and answer questions, large and small!  

Today we’re interviewing Sherri Brown, who is the Librarian for English.

Subject Specialties

  • English

Contact: (434) 243-2104 | | Alderman 537 | Schedule a Consultation

What are some of the specific ways you can help people learning and working in your subject area?


Sherri Brown

I’m here to help with all stages of a research project—from choosing a topic and formulating a question as you begin, all the way to formatting your paper or project as you complete it.

With over 600 databases available, where to look for resources can be overwhelming—ask us to help guide you to sources.

What’s a key message you’d like people at UVA to know about the Library? 

Librarians want to help you. No question is too big or too small. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll try our best to guide you to someone who might.

What are some research challenges you enjoy? 

Liaising for English is exciting because the research is very interdisciplinary. It’s not often that I’m looking for literary resources for a topic—it’s often about finding historical, economic, cultural, or other information to support an idea or find answers to a question. And some of the time it is important for researchers to know that there is not much written on a topic.

What’s a resource you think people aren’t very aware of, but would find useful?

There are more and more online digital archives popping up all the time. Some you may know about, others we can help you to uncover.

What’s a recent book you’ve read that you’d recommend?

I read in quite a number of different genres and have a hard time picking favorites. Here are a few recommendations:

Recommended memoir/personal essays: A House of My Own: Stories from My Life by Sandra Cisneros (author of The House on Mango Street, among other works). 2015.

Recommended collection of linked short stories: The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat. 2005

Recommended novel: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. 2012.

Recommended non-fiction: Sex Workers, Psychics, and Numbers Runners: Black Women in New York City’s Underground Economy by LaShawn Harris. 2016.

What’s a place or an activity you enjoy in Charlottesville?

I’m fairly new to the city, but a couple of places I’ve really enjoyed so far are the Saunders-Monticello Trail and the Carter Mountain Orchard.

What do you enjoy about your job? 

My favorite moments happen when I can find the “perfect” resources to meet a person’s research need or show them a new tool that will make their work easier in some way.

Visit Sherri’s staff directory page.


LEO delivery for Graduate Students: What’s new?

A pair of hands hold a large plastic decal in close proximity to the side of a white vehicle door

Pictured: LEO decal being applied to Library delivery vehicle.

We are thrilled to announce an expansion of LEO delivery service to Graduate Students as of Fall 2019! Read on to see how it can make your life easier as you learn and research at UVA.

What is LEO delivery?

Library Express On-Grounds (LEO) is a service that delivers library material to Library locations and departmental offices.

What’s changing with LEO?

Previously, departmental delivery services were limited to Faculty members only. As of Fall 2019, we’ve expanded LEO deliveries to graduate students as well.

What are the delivery locations?

Graduate students have two options for delivery locations:

  1. You can choose a Library location where materials will be held until you pick them up,
  2. Or, if your department is among those providing secure storage space, you can request for materials to be delivered to your department.

The following departments* provide secure holding space for LEO delivery for graduate students:

  • AMEL
  • Anthropology
  • Classics
  • Drama
  • English
  • French
  • German/Slavic
  • Materials Science
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology
  • Spanish

*This list is subject to change, visit the LEO Delivery page to see the most up-to-date version.

How do I specify my delivery location?

To have materials delivered to a Library location, you can select a preferred location in your ILLiad account.

To have materials delivered to a department listed above, email to request the department to be added to your account.

How do I request LEO delivery of an item?

To request an article or a book, find the item in Virgo. After viewing the details of your selection, click ‘Request LEO delivery’. You will be prompted to sign in or create an account, if you haven’t already. Select ‘Submit Request’ and you are done.

Articles and book chapters will be delivered via email in PDF format. Other materials will be delivered to your preferred delivery location. Unfortunately, certain types of materials cannot be delivered via LEO, like items from the reference collection and microfiche.

The LEO delivery service also delivers items requested through Interlibrary Loan. Read more about Interlibrary Loan.

Still have questions? Read more about LEO delivery and remember you can always Ask a Librarian!