Answered By: Barbie Selby
Last Updated: Sep 10, 2020     Views: 1

The University of Virginia Library system has allowed Virginia citizens at least 16 years old to check out library materials since at least the mid-1970s.  University Librarian Ray Frantz instituted this policy in order to open UVA's deep collections to a wider audience around the state.  More recently, upon registration and presentation of a picture ID, researchers beyond the state can also check out materials.

Mr. Frantz’s decision was explicitly intended to make the U.Va. collections available as a statewide resource.  There was a tradition going back to Jefferson’s original rules for the library that a main emphasis was preservation, not making the collections easily available to users.  One of Mr. Frantz’s goals when he arrived was to promote cooperation and sharing of resources within the state, especially among the universities and colleges.  Making UVA's collections available to anyone 16 years old and above was one way he signaled to the state that we were providers of statewide resources.  Mr. Frantz made our statewide mission visible in other ways.  For example, he was involved for a number of years in Virginia Library Association (VLA), including serving as the VLA president.

UVA's status as a regional federal depository library and UN depository library may have also played into allowing more open access to collections.  When UVA was considering UN depository status the Library sent two staff members to New York to meet with UN librarians and NYU UN depository librarians and better understand the responsibilities of a UN depository.

More information on "Community Patrons" can be found here. 
Policies governing access to databases and Use of the Library can be found here.

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