The Library of Virginia welcomes attendees of the 2023 National Genealogical Society conference!
Created in 1823, the Library of Virginia is the commonwealth’s state library and archives. The holdings include state and local records and a variety of private collections—including personal papers and records relating to organizations, houses of worship, and businesses—as well as books and periodicals relating to Virginia history and culture. Our collections, which contain more than 130 million items, document and illustrate the lives of both famous Virginians and ordinary citizens.
Our reading room hours for the week will be Tuesday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Several sections of the Library will have altered hours to accommodate the conference schedule:
Our Archives Research Room will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the week and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, although no requests are taken between 12:45 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. and after 4:00 p.m. (3:30 p.m. on Saturday).
Special Collections (prints, photographs, rare books, and maps) will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the week.
We will reopen the reading rooms on the evening of Thursday, June 1, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.! The Archives Research Room and Special Collections will be open from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with no requests after 8:00 p.m. The Microfilm Area will be available from 6:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
We encourage you to contact us in advance with questions and to determine whether the original archival materials that you wish to see (particularly local and state records) are housed at the Library of Virginia or will need to be transferred from the State Records Center.
If Virginia is not a focus of your research, we still hope to see you!
- Celebrate our 200th anniversary with us! Our 200 Years, 200 Stories exhibition draws on the human stories that Library staff members, researchers, educators, students and visitors have teased out of this cacophony of materials. Rather than a Top Ten or a Who’s Who, we present an assemblage of captivating stories of Virginians of all stripes: heroes and villains, the famous and infamous, the powerful and the powerless—reflecting the sweep of Virginians’ experiences. Our Exhibition Gallery, located at the rear of the lobby, will be open Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., as well as Thursday evening from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Stop by for breakfast or lunch! Can Can Café at the Library of Virginia offers soup, salad and sandwiches, as well as to-go coffee, pastries, desserts and other items Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Buy a few souvenirs! The Virginia Shop’s merchandise includes books and literary- and Virginia-themed gift items. The shop is open Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
We encourage you to stay up to date with all that is happening at the Library of Virginia during conference week by visiting the web page that we created for your visit: https://edu.lva.virginia.gov/welcome-ngs-conference-attendees/
Making the most out of your Library of Virginia visit
Trying to balance conference sessions and research time can be a challenge! Planning in advance is key. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Check out our web page for NGS attendees. Our page (https://edu.lva.virginia.gov/welcome-ngs-conference-attendees/) provides content that is essential if you are visiting during conference week. It has links to resources, a list of expanded hours and time limits just for conference week, and nearby restaurant options if you need a quick meal or snack during a break from your research.
2. Review our website. We are always posting new information on our website, particularly on the Research Guides and Indexes page (https://lva-virginia.libguides.com/). That page and the catalog (https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/discovery/search?vid=01LVA_INST:01LVA&lang=en) will give you a good idea of our holdings.
3. Review our digital content. If it has been a while, take some time to look at the databases and indexes created by the Library of Virginia to check for new content. For example, the Chancery Records Index (https://www.virginiamemory.com/collections/chancery/), Virginia Chronicle (https://virginiachronicle.com/), and Virginia Untold (https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/discovery/search?vid=01LVA_INST:VU) have recent updates.
4. Review our list of databases. The databases (https://lva-virginia.libguides.com/az.php) to which the Library of Virginia subscribes are not unique to us, but we may offer a database that you have had trouble accessing elsewhere. Our list notes whether databases are freely available, available remotely to Virginia residents, or are only available while at the Library of Virginia.
5. Contact us in advance. We can answer your questions so you can have a plan for how best to find the information that you need. This is especially important if you need original local or state records because many are stored off-site at our State Records Center and will need to be transferred. Email us through the Contact Us page of our website (https://www.lva.virginia.gov/about/contact/) or give us a call:
Archives Reference Services: 804-692-3888
Library Reference Services: 804-692-3777
6. Prioritize what you want to see. Focus on resources that are not available elsewhere, such as original archival and manuscript collections, photograph collections, and maps. Also focus on unindexed records and books, because our mail-in copy request forms do not cover extended research. Wondering if a resource is available through interlibrary loan? Ask us!
We look forward to seeing you!
Registration for the NGS 2023 Family History Conference is now open at https://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/.