Janine Hutchings
Administrative Assistant

Ph:  (540) 464-7228
Fax:  (540) 464-7279

Preston Library
Virginia Military Institute
345 Letcher Avenue
Lexington, VA 24450

Contact Preston Library  

Circulation Policy

Eligible Borrowers

The facilities and collections of Preston Library are primarily for the use of the VMI Corps of Cadets, faculty and staff, but visitors are always welcome.

Circulation privileges are extended to the faculty and students of Washington and Lee University, Southern Virginia University, and to Rockbridge County residents. Those who live outside Rockbridge County are welcome to use library materials in the building; if they wish to borrow materials, they should make an InterLibrary Loan request through their local library.

Library Cards

VMI cadets use their VMI ID cards, which include preprinted barcodes on the back, to check out materials from Preston Library. All other borrowers use a library card that is issued the first time books are checked out. We ask that borrowers present their VMI ID card or library card whenever they wish to check out materials.

Borrowing Materials

Library materials may not be taken from the building unless they have been properly checked out at the Circulation Desk. Anyone who wishes to use library materials at a study or media carrel for more than a day should check out these materials, as well. Items which do not circulate include reference materials, microforms, rare, and archival materials.

Loan Periods

Loan periods vary, depending on the category of patron and the type of material. Cadets and most other library patrons may borrow books, bound periodicals, and government publications for four weeks; bestsellers for two weeks; and CDs, videos, and DVDs for one week. Materials may be renewed in person or by phone.

Faculty of VMI, W&L, and SVC enjoy an extended loan period of an entire academic year for books and bound periodicals. These materials are due in mid-April each year. To ensure the integrity of our collections and the accuracy of our records, these materials must be physically returned to Preston Library once a year. Faculty loan periods are shorter for recreational reading (two weeks) and audiovisual materials (one week), but these materials may be renewed any time, in person or by phone.


Borrowers may renew materials in person or by calling the Circulation Desk at 464-7129. No item may be renewed if another library user has requested it. In April, when materials with the extended loan period are due, faculty members must have items in hand to renew them.

Overdue Materials

The Library notifies patrons that materials are overdue by sending a series of four notices. The first notice is mailed three days after materials are due. The second and third notices follow in weekly increments if materials are not returned. The final notice, sent four weeks after the materials are due, is a bill for the replacement cost.

Lost Materials

If a patron cannot locate an item, a replacement fee is charged. Before cadets can register, graduate, transfer, or receive transcripts, they must clear their library account. Failure to return materials or pay their replacement cost after receipt of the final notice by faculty, staff, cadets, or other library patrons may also result in a suspension of library privileges until the account is cleared.


Faculty may place materials on traditional or electronic reserve in order to make them available to students enrolled in a particular course. Materials placed on traditional reserve have restricted loan periods (for example, two hours, overnight, two days, five days or ten days).

Library staff process reserve requests as quickly as possible, but faculty should allow extra time at the beginning of each semester for reserve materials to be ready for checkout. Traditional reserves may take two days, and electronic reserves may take ten days, depending on the amount to be scanned.


Carrels are not assigned and may be used on a first-come, first-served basis. Cadets should not leave books and personal items unattended in a carrel. These items are to be stored for short periods in the cubbies near the rear elevator on each floor.

Storage Cubbies

Personal items and books may be left for short periods in the storage cubbies near the rear elevator on each floor. Abandoned items are sent to the Lost-and-Found in Barracks.


Preston Library is a public building, and unfortunately some thefts do occur each year. Library users should not leave personal items, especially laptops, unattended. The library is not responsible for personal property.