About Preston Library

The mission of Preston Library is to provide library materials and services of the highest quality; to teach skills needed for academic inquiry and lifelong learning; to support faculty and undergraduate research; to provide access to and promote the use of Institute historical materials; to support the creation and use of multimedia by cadets and faculty; and to offer library services to the community at large.

Named for Colonel J. T. L. Preston, the library was dedicated in 1939, enlarged in 1972, and renovated in 1996. The building is equipped with 32 public-access, networked computers for research use, and a computer instruction lab which enables librarians to offer hands-on training for our numerous online resources. Preston Library also has 110 individual study carrels that are available on a first come, first serve basis. Carrels are equipped with study lamps, power outlets, and network connections. There are six group study rooms available on the 6th floor in addition to many large tables for study and research. Each floor also has a gallery area furnished with comfortable armchairs and sofas. All areas of the library have wireless access. In addition, the library maintains a music collection with music players and comfortable seating in the Timmins Music Room.

Preston Library’s collections include over 300,000 volumes of print materials, over 5000 non-print items, and more than 300 scientific, literary, and general interest print periodicals. The Library installed an integrated library system in 1991 and upgraded its system in 2004. The online catalog is available at library.vmi.edu. In addition, the library provides access to more than 100 full-text and citation databases and over 60,000 full-text electronic journals, many purchased through VIVA (the Virtual Library of Virginia). Preston Library is a selective depository of U.S. government publications, with current holdings of about 200,000 federal and state documents. Interlibrary loan service is available to cadets and faculty free of charge. Preston Library maintains a web presence at www.vmi.edu/library.

Media Services and the VMI Archives are both located within the library. Media Services has 18 media carrels, a media creation room, and a media projection room for classes to view video formats. The Archives contains VMI's historic official records, photographs, manuscripts, and rare materials and its website is here.

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