Research at the Library of Virginia
General comments for both onsite and remote research
1. Check the LVA home webpage http://www/lva.virginia.gov and explore the various areas available online to determine the resources available.
2. Check the operating hours and any scheduled closings for holidays or staff training. Click on and read the Visitor’s Guide http://www.lva.virginia.gov/about/visit.asp which is an excellent overview of the opportunities for research at the Library of Virginia.
3. Read the research guides http://www.lva.virginia.gov/guides/bibguides.htm written by the library staff to develop a basic understanding of the resources and what information they offer. The guides are in .pdf format and easily downloaded to your computer or printed if that is preferable.
4. Search for items of interest using the online LVA Catalog. An LVA Catalog search includes the Books & Journals catalog, Archives & Manuscripts catalog, and Images & Indexes catalog. Since the LVA Catalog uses an extensive name index, it is useful locating persons named in a document but not named in the title. The LVA Catalog does not use an every name index.
1. The research areas are located on the second floor. The West Reading Room (microfilm area) is to the left. The microfilm is organized by type of record and then alphabetically by county or city. The Main Reading Room (reference volumes and books) is to the right.
2. The Archives and Maps Research Rooms are located to the left at the top of the stairs. To work with the documents in these areas will require registration including providing a photo ID and proof of current address. Most personal items must be placed in a locker. The original records will not be made available in this area if a photocopy or a microfilm reproduction is available.
3. A request form must be filled out and records retrieved by the staff in the Archives and Map Research Rooms. Allow adequate time for retrieval of documents by the staff. On busy days, the wait for documents may be lengthy.
4. Printing the search page for future reference is extremely helpful to you as a researcher as a memory aid and to the library staff should you have difficulty locating the information you desire.
2. Select the digital document group that is of interest. Locate the document desired. Most of the digital databases may be searched by surname and/or location. The document may be printed or saved. If you choose to save the document, your computer may give you the option to convert to a .pdf file. If it does, you will find the documents easier to use in .pdf format
3. Of particular interest to those researching their families are the Military Service database and the City and County Records database. These two are easily accessed from the Collections by Topic link.
4. If reading through the Colonial Records Project, please note that the synopsis of correspondence is all that is available online. An onsite research trip is required to access the photocopies of these documents. These documents were copied from the Public Records Office in London (now located in Kew).
5. Copies of documents may be requested online, by mail, by fax, or by telephone. A prepaid nonrefundable fee is required before documents are retrieved, copied and mailed. If there is any question about the availability of a document, please contact the staff prior to placing an order since the fee is nonrefundable. See the home webpage under “Order Materials” for further information.