Top 5 things to love about summertime in the Library

Summer is a great time at the Library! With fewer people around, and less general hubbub, there’s more space for you to be you — in new ways or old. Here are a few ways to make the most of it:

1. Scope out spaces, find your spot.

Two chairs and a small table face into a corner with floor-to-ceiling windows and a view of a large grassy space

Corner window study space in the Fine Arts Library.

With fewer people around, this is a great time to wander from place to place and get to know Library spaces! The Library currently has five locations open for your enjoyment: Clemons Library, Harrison/Small Special Collections Library, Brown Science & Engineering Library (in Clark Hall), Fine Arts Library, and the Music Library. All locations are open to everyone — the subject-specific names simply indicate what types of materials you’re likely to find there.

A rounded space with tall white columns is filled with comfy chairs and rich blue carpet

The main floor of the Music Library.

In Harrison/Small Special Collections Library, you’ll find several exhibitions to explore: permanent exhibitions include “Flowerdew Hundred” on the entry floor and “The Declaration of Independence” on the downstairs level. Rotating exhibitions are featured on the entry level (to your right upon entering the building) and downstairs.

See all Library locations and hours.

2. Make your own screening room

Clemons Library offers tens of thousands of videos for checkout — including a massive collection from Sneak Reviews, a video rental store which operated in Charlottesville until 2014. On the fourth floor of Clemons, you can borrow a DVD or VHS player, pick out your movies, and settle in for comfy screening! As with everything at the Library, movies and equipment are totally free of charge.

When you need a break between seasons of your newfound favorite show, check out the graphic novel collection! (And when you tire of that, Clemons also has a “New Books” shelf with tons of enticing options!)

That said, you do have to bring your own snacks…

Movie theater popcorn in a red and white paper cup

3. The perks of a quiet summer campus

Busses may be on limited service but bike racks tend to be wide open! With reduced summer traffic, this is a great time to cycle around Grounds.

A person in a sweatshirt stands in front of a green screen and gestures. A person in headphones points a camera at the scene.Fewer people in Library spaces also means easy access to tech stuff. Visit the Robertson Media Center on the 3rd floor of Clemons and try out a new game in Virtual Reality, or borrow a camera to capture Charlottesville’s wildlife! Once you’ve had your fill of nature, check out some A/V equipment and make your own blockbuster movie… and you can edit it on a G-Lab computer.

Heavy beams hold up two brick walls while a huge crane towers overhead

The main library renovation continues through 2023.

When you take a tech break to rest your eyes, get a breather in the new Gallery 4 space beside Clemons’ 4th floor information desk, or wander outside to the large patio outside Clemons 4th floor, where you can watch the future unfold in the massive renovation of the main library building.

If it’s a bit too quiet for you, summer is actually busy season in Special Collections! Find out more about making a visit to the Special Collections Reading Room, where you’re likely to have good company all summer long.

4. Enjoy the ambiance. And the high-speed internet.

What makes for better ambiance than free air conditioning on a hot day?! And if that’s not enough, remember that UVA provides high-speed internet to all visitors: just connect to the UVA Guest wifi network.

Plus, depending on where you go, the Library offers plentiful smells of old books, general peaceful quiet, and access to millions upon millions of published works from across the globe. Search or browse the collection now.

A bench is shaded under a huge green magnolia tree

5. Let us come to you!

Not planning to leave your house? We get it! The Library is here for you with online resources to keep you busy all summer long.

In addition to digital resources for research, the Library offers thousands of streaming movies. It’s as good as watching your new favorite films in Clemons… except closer proximity to your [fill in the blank: pets, snacks, favorite pillows]. Find out how to watch on-demand.

If you’d rather dig into a great new book, check out the Library’s themed reading lists, featuring the latest and greatest for all kinds of interests.

Finally, for when you want to feel like you’ve left the house (whether or not you actually do), dive into a digital tour. Six tours introduce you to UVA in new ways by telling stories of UVA places in light of the Enslaved African American experience, or taking you deep into the ongoing renovation of the main library. Take a Library tour on your phone, tablet, or computer.

A circular concrete structure surrounds a green area. The concrete is engraved with names and information about enslaved individuals in the Charlottesville area.

Several Library locations are near the powerful Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, worth a visit in any season.

Many thanks to Zeke Crater, Ronda Grizzle, Kristin Jensen, Arlyn Newcomb, Josh Thorud, Holly Robertson, Leigh Rockey, Katie Rojas, and Robin Ruggaber who provided critical input for this piece.


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