May 28, 2022

University of Virginia Library System Planning For Renovation of Alderman Library

From The Cavalier Daily:

Alderman Library, the heart of the University library system, houses approximately three million volumes — valued together at $104 million — and serves as a major study space for students. The library is beginning to show signs of age, however, and renovation planning is already underway.

“Alderman is a building that is well-loved, but well-used, so we really want to make it more serviceable, more beautiful,” Library Director of Communications Charlotte Morford said. “The building has good bones — it is very elegant and beautiful — but it needs some love.”

Well-loved is an apt term for the building which receives about 3,575 visitors per day during exams and more than 700,000 visits per year.


Questions central to renovation discussions include the expanding role electronic media plays in the future of higher education and the unclear place of physical materials.

Contrary to popular conception, many students still do check out volumes from the library. This past fiscal year, 156,774 print materials were checked out, Morford said.

But that figure is much smaller than the 4.7 million uses of electronic resources during the same period.

Second-year College student Niki Shumaker said she has checked out books from the stacks a couple times, but turns to online resources more often.

“I’ve used them few times as sources for research papers, but I generally use more resources from online,” Shumaker said. “The books are helpful, but I don’t use them often.”

Morford said faculty often request that the library purchase certain materials, through both interlibrary loans and the online request form. This past fiscal year, the library received 4,500 requests from faculty to obtain physical media, totaling approximately $237,000 worth of materials.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.