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Circulation Policy

Eligible Borrowers

The facilities and collections of Preston Library are primarily intended for the use of VMI’s Corps of Cadets, faculty, and staff. However, visitors are welcome.

Circulation privileges are extended as well to faculty and students of Washington and Lee University and Southern Virginia University; to faculty and students of Virginia colleges participating in the Virtual Library of Virginia’s Cooperative Borrowing program; and to Rockbridge County residents (including the cities of Lexington and Buena Vista).

Visitors who reside beyond the borders of Rockbridge County are welcome to use Library materials in the building; if they wish to borrow circulating materials, they should make an Interlibrary Loan request through their local library.

Library Cards

VMI cadets, faculty, and staff use their VMI ID cards to check out materials from Preston Library. All other borrowers use a library card issued upon completion of our application process. Borrowers must present their VMI ID card or library card whenever they wish to check out materials.

Borrowing Library Materials

Circulating Library materials, such as books, DVDs, books on CD, and government publications, may be checked out at the Service Desk. Some items do not circulate – such as reference materials, microforms, and rare or archival materials – and so may not be checked out, but are available for use in the Library.

Loan Periods and Item Limits

Loan periods and limits on total items checked out at any given time will vary, depending on the category of patron and the type of material. All checked-out materials are subject to recall.

Cadets may borrow Main Collection books, bound periodicals, government publications, New Books, Recreational Reading books, books on CD, and DVDs for the extent of a semester or summer term. All materials are due on Reading Day each semester (or on the last day of summer session classes). A reminder email will be sent to borrowers approximately one week before the due date.

VMI faculty and staff enjoy an extended loan period of up to a full year for Main Collection books, government publications, and bound periodicals. These materials are due in mid-April each year. VMI faculty and staff may borrow New Books, Recreational Reading books, DVDs, and books on CD for one academic semester (or summer term). A reminder email will be sent on or about April 1 for Main Collection books, government publications, and bound periodicals due in mid-April, and one week before the due date for New Books, Recreational Reading books, DVDs, and books on CD.

Faculty of W&L and SVU enjoy the same borrowing terms as VMI faculty.

Students at W&L and SVU, VIVA faculty and students, and Rockbridge County residents may borrow all circulating item types for a four-week period. Reminder emails will be sent three days before the due date.


Borrowers may renew materials in person; by phoning the Service Desk at 540-464-7129; by logging in to MyLibrary; or by email to Patrons may also simply reply to a reminder email, requesting a renewal of their items.

An item may not be renewed if another Library patron has requested the item. There are limits as to how many times items may be renewed.

Overdue Library Materials

The Library sends borrowers a courtesy email reminder before items are due. If the items are not returned, two overdue notices are then sent at weekly intervals. Four weeks after the materials were due, a bill may be sent for the replacement cost of these lost items.

The Library does not charge overdue fines, but if materials go overdue to the point of being billed, a hold may be placed on a cadet’s registration, transcript, and diploma, and / or borrowing privileges may be revoked.

Faculty and staff borrowers will receive an email reminder before items are due, requesting that the items be returned at the end of their loan period. The Library expects that items will be returned to make them available to other users as well.

Lost or Damaged Library Materials

If a patron cannot locate, has damaged, or does not return a Library item checked out to him or her, a replacement fee is charged.

Before cadets can register for classes, transfer, graduate, or receive transcripts, they must settle and clear their Library account.

For all patron types: failure to return materials in good condition, or to pay their replacement costs after receipt of the final email notice, may also result in a referral of lost-material charges to collections – after which time these charges become nonrefundable even if the item(s) should later be returned – and a suspension or revocation of library privileges until the account is cleared.

Course Reserves

VMI faculty may place materials on traditional or electronic reserves to make them available to students enrolled in a particular course. Traditional (print) reserves materials will be placed on a dedicated open shelf.

The Library encourages the placement of required or recommended reading materials on Canvas as electronic reserves. Please note that all such items need to abide by U.S. copyright law.

For more information about course reserves at Preston Library, please visit our Course Reserves page.

Study Carrels and Group Study Rooms

The Library’s study carrels, located on floors 3, 4, and 6, are not assigned and may be used by cadets on a daily first-come, first-served basis, regardless of class or rank.

Group study rooms, also located on floors 3, 4, and 6, are reservable with a VMI email address; click here for the reservations page (add link to group study rooms booking subpage).

Personal Belongings

Personal items and books may be left for short periods in the open storage cubbies located on most floors of the building, usually near the elevators. Please note that the Library cannot be responsible for personal belongings.

Cadets should not leave books or personal items unattended in a carrel or group study room. Such items may be stored for short periods in the open cubbies on each floor.

Library personnel will remove all personal and Library materials from carrels and rooms at the end of each day.


The Library provides lockers for cadets' convenience on the 6th floor of the building. Cadets may check out lockers at no cost for one semester on a first-come, first-served basis.

Lost and Found

On a short-term basis, personal items left in the Library will be kept in the Service Desk’s Lost-and-Found bin; valuable items may be handed over to VMI Police.

When possible, Library staff will attempt to notify an item’s owner that it has been found. Library patrons may leave contact information and a description of lost items at the Service Desk for follow-up in case the item is found later.

Abandoned items will eventually be sent to the Lost-and-Found in the Barracks Guard Room.

Reshelving Carts

Reshelving carts are located throughout the Library building. Place on these carts any Library materials you might have used but do not intend to check out. Library team members will reshelve the materials.

Policy Adopted by Pongracz Sennyey, Library Director