Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions are frequently asked by people visiting, calling or emailing the library. If you have additional questions or comments, please return to Ask a JMRL Librarian.

How can I find out if the library owns a particular item?

Check the catalog. Use the drop-down menu to search by author, title, subject, or keyword. You may search by a specific branch or the entire library system.

How can I get an item if it is currently checked out?

If an item is unavailable, you may place a hold on it. Once a copy is returned, JMRL will notify you by email or phone. You can also reserve titles by clicking "Request Hold" while viewing an item in the catalog. Just enter your name, library card, and preferred pickup location. You may also call the reference desk 434.979.7151 ext 4 and library staff will put items on hold for you.

How do I place a hold on an item?

You can place a hold from the JMRL website or by calling your JMRL branch and making a request.

  • Click Catalog on the green menu bar.
  • Search for the item you want.
  • From the results screen, look for Request a Hold. If you click on an item, look for Request a Hold at the top of the page.
  • Log into your Account with your Library Card.
  • Choose where you would like to pick up your item and hit submit.

You will get an email or call when your item is ready to be picked up.

How can I get an item if the library does not own it?

JMRL provides an Interlibrary Loan service to borrow books from libraries outside of the library system. This service is available at all library branches. Check the Interlibrary Loan page to request a book or learn more. If the book you want is new, you may suggest that we order it by filling out the Suggest a Purchase form. You may also request to place a hold on the item if JMRL adds it to the collection. You will be notified if the book is ordered and when it is available for checkout.

How can I get a library card?

The Borrowing Policies explain the requirements for getting a free library card. You can also view or print a library card application.

How do I know which periodicals are in the library?

All of JMRL's periodicals are now cataloged. See #1 above. You can search by title and by subject. You can also search by keyword using the periodical's title followed by the phrase "and periodical" for quick results.

How can I find periodical articles on a particular subject?

There are many databases that are accessible from both the library and home. Use the Databases section to locate the database you want to search. All databases allow you to search for articles by subject and keyword, and often provide the full text of the article. For access from home, you will need to verify that you have a library card by inputting your last name and your library card number.

How do I get directions to a branch library?

Directions to all the branches are included on the each individual branch page on JMRL's site. Click on your branch from the main navigational area, above.

Where can I find information on genealogy?

The library subscribes to two databases: HeritageQuest, which can be used at home with access using your library card and, which can be used at any of the JMRL branches. The Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society has some local genealogy information in its library. The books in the historical society are accessible through the JMRL catalog. To acquire obituaries from Charlottesville’s "Daily Progress" email JMRL's Adult and Reference Services at or call 434-979-7151 ext. 4.

Can I access the catalog from my home computer?

Yes. This is the URL:

Does the library offer public Internet access?

Yes. All libraries in the JMRL system have computers that provide public access the internet. See the Internet Access Policy for full info.

Is wireless Internet access available at any of the libraries?

Yes. Wireless is available at all libraries in the JMRL system. You can also print from your laptop at branch libraries. more info

Where may I park downtown to visit the Central Library?

The Central Library does not have a parking lot. Parking is available on the street for 2 hours. If you park longer than 2 hours you may get a ticket.

Bring your ticket from the Water Street or Market Street parking garages and have it validated for 2 hours of free parking (the first hour is free to everyone), a service of the Friends of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library.

Find more information on parking rates and payment options at:
Charlottesville Parking Information
Charlottesville Parking FAQs

May I donate books to the library?

For books that you would like to see added to the library's collection, please call collection development with your donation request: 434.979.7151 ext. 6686. The Friends of the Library also collects used books and sells them at their popular annual book sales in the fall and spring. Donations can be dropped off at the Gordon Avenue Library on the basement level. The money generated from these sales helps fund the library's programming. For more information or to find out what other items can be donated contact the Friends of the Library at 434.977.8467 or

May I suggest that the library buy a book?

Yes. You need to have a library card to request the library purchase a book. Use the Suggest a Purchase form.  Or you can call the reference desk at the Central Library: 434.979.7151 ext. 4

Does the library have copying facilities?

Yes, there are copy machines in all the branch libraries. Black and white copies are $.10 per page and color copies are $.50 per page.

Can I send a fax from the library?

Faxing is available at $1 for each page, including any cover pages, within the United States. For international faxes, the charge will be $5 for the first page and $3 for each subsequent page.

Does the library have word processors or typewriters for public use?

All branches have computers with word processing for public use and printers connected to the computers with word processing. Black and white printing is $.10 per page and color printing is $.50 per page. The Central Library has  two-hour computers for employment and education-related purposes.  There are no typewriters available.

What meeting rooms and equipment are available at the libraries?

Each branch homepage on this website has a list of services, equipment and meeting room facilities. These homepages also have a meeting room schedule link to check the availability of meeting rooms. See also: Meeting Room Policy.

What hours is the library open?

Each branch webpage  lists its hours, directions and contact info.

Does the library have a notary public?

Yes. There is a notary public at all branches of the library system. Call your local branch to make an appointment.

How can I find out about jobs at the library?

Jefferson-Madison Regional Library utilizes the City of Charlottesville Human Resources when posting or advertising all library positions that are available to the public. Please see the City’s JOBS BOARD for information about available library positions. The City also advertises in The Daily Progress and includes library positions that are available. Please note that in addition to the City advertisements, JMRL may also decide to advertise any available library positions for the outlying counties for Greene County in the Greene County Record, for Louisa County in The Central Virginian, and for Nelson County in the Nelson County Times.

What is CIPA and how does it affect the library?

The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is a federal law requiring public libraries to filter or block Internet materials that may be harmful to minors. A library that has more than 1 computer with Internet access intended for use by the public (including minors) shall certify that it has installed and uses a technology to filter or block material deemed to be harmful to minors.  All adults (17 years old and older) seeking unfiltered Internet access for their own use,  must show proper identification (picture ID with date of birth) when requesting that staff enable unfiltered access.

How does the Patriot Act affect my use of the library?

Under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT ACT (Public Law 107-56) records of books and other materials borrowed from this library, as well as Internet activity in this library, may be obtained by Federal agents. This federal law prohibits library staff from informing you if records about you have been obtained by Federal agents.