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, other Virginia colleges, 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 be checked out at the Circulation Desk. 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; recreational reading for two weeks; and CDs, videos, and DVDs for one week. Materials may be renewed in person, by phone, online, or by responding to an email notice.

Faculty of VMI, W&L, and SVU 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, by phone, online, or by responding to an email notice.



Borrowers may renew materials in person, by calling the Circulation Desk at 464-7129, by logging into MyLibrary, or by replying to an email notice at An item may not 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 sends an email courtesy notice the day before items are due. Two overdue notices are then sent at weekly intervals. The final notice, sent four weeks after the materials are due, is a bill for the replacement cost. The Library does not charge overdue fines, but if materials are consistently overdue and billed, borrowing privileges may be revoked.


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, twenty-four hours, two days, five days or ten days). Materials to be placed on electronic reserve will be accepted if the use is a Fair Use under U.S. Copyright Law.

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.



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 lockers or the cubbies near the rear elevator on each floor.



The Library provides 110 lockers throughout the building. Lockers may be "checked out" for one semester on a first come, first served basis.


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 occur each year. Library users should not leave personal items, especially laptops, unattended. Cadets may drop off their laptops or academic bags at the Circulation Desk for safekeeping for short periods.