Library Policies

Library Policies

Please see the Borrow, Renew, Request webpage for information on borrowing, renewing, and requesting library materials.

Course Reserves

Faculty who want to put an item on course reserve can submit a Course Reserve Form. For more information, contact a campus library.

Some instructors place course materials, including textbooks, on reserve at campus libraries for students to use. These course reserve items are usually for specific courses and are generally only available at the library on the campus where the course is being held.

Instructors determine how students can use course reserve items; most items must stay in the library, and some have time limits. Course reserve items that can leave the library have restricted loan periods. To check out course reserve items, students are required to have their NOVACard. Course reserve items cannot be renewed. For more information, please see the Overdue Items section below.

Some campus libraries list course reserve items in the library catalog. Students can search for course reserve items by following the instructions on the Course Reserves webpage. For more information about course reserves, please contact a campus library.

Fines and Fees

Overdue Items

NOVA Libraries do not currently charge fines for items that are overdue. Students and community patrons with overdue library items, including course reserves, will have a hold placed on their library account. This will prevent them from checking out additional library materials. The hold will be cleared when they return the overdue items. 

Lost or Damaged Items

Library items are the property of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Library users are responsible for the care and return of these items.

Students, faculty, and staff who lose or damage library items must pay the replacement cost. They can make a payment at any campus library using their NOVACard. For more information, please contact a campus library.

Community patrons who lose or damage library items must pay the replacement cost. They can pay at any campus library by purchasing a Guest Card and loading funds onto it. For more information, please contact a campus library.

NOVA Libraries provides quality instruction services to our students, faculty and staff in support of the College’s Core Learning Outcomes. The libraries work collaboratively with the NOVA community to ensure equity of instruction across all campuses and learning environments.

Our instruction program’s continued development is based on:

  • A commitment to helping students gain confidence in identifying, finding and using information effectively and ethically.
  • Valuing and respecting our students, their diversity, their goals and their previous experiences.
  • Encouraging critical thinking skills and continuous learning beyond the academic setting.
  • A commitment to ongoing assessment of the instruction program.
  • Keeping current with changing curricular needs and technologies that affect teaching and learning.
  • Recognition of the professional standards of the American Library Association and the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Requesting Library Instruction

Requests for library instruction can be submitted online using the Schedule Instruction form or by contacting a campus library. Please submit requests for library instruction at least one week (as applies) in advance of your preferred date. Every effort is made to tailor instruction to the specific research needs of each class.

To facilitate dialogue about the assignment and encourage student engagement, instructors are expected to attend library instruction sessions with their class, unless previous arrangements have been made with the librarian.

Librarian-led instruction and research sessions have priority use of library classrooms. Please contact your campus library about classroom availability for other uses; no semester-length or regular use scheduling requests will be approved.

Bringing Classes to the Library (No Instruction)

So that we can ensure your students will have access to the resources they need and adequate support, please notify your campus library if you intend to bring your class into the library.

The Library supports the mission of the College and is an integral part of the instructional program. The Library goal is to provide well-organized access to materials in formats that enhance teaching and learning. The Library strives to build a collection that will support the development of critical thinking skills, and is committed to educating library users to become capable researchers and effective users of the information resources we provide.

Materials will be collected in varied formats that support the mission and goals of the College, the curricula, teaching methods and professional development of the faculty, and special student needs.

Selection of materials is a cooperative responsibility, with participation and recommendations by library faculty, in consultation with the teaching faculty, on an ongoing basis. The Collection Development Librarian is responsible for the coordination of all collection development activities on the campus; final responsibility for selection and quality of these materials across the colleges rests with the Dean of Libraries. The College Libraries have established the following priorities for collection development:

  1. To provide students with resources supporting disciplines, programs and courses offered at the College
  2. To provide faculty and staff with resources supporting their teaching and professional development activities
  3. To provide the campus community with educational and informational resources of reference and general interest

Collection development activities (including selection, regular updating and weeding of materials) will be carried out to provide resources that meet the following criteria:  

  1. Items are current and authoritative
  2. Items are in a variety of formats that can be accessed on campus or online
  3. Items support the varied academic levels of community college students
  4. Items present a wide range of viewpoints
  5. Items are available at a cost that is justified in terms of anticipated use

The Libraries do not acquire materials that are consumable or kept outside the Library. The format of the collection reflects the needs of the student population at each campus. NOVA libraries do not accept donations of materials.

Retention of materials is dependent upon specific curricular demands. For specific curricular requirements contact the appropriate campus librarian.

Policy Number: 232

Intellectual Freedom Statement

Northern Virginia Community College Libraries upholds the principles of the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Statement, the Library Bill of Rights and its interpretations, and the Freedom to Read statements. The principles of these documents frame the NOVA Libraries’ views of intellectual freedom and censorship. 
The libraries select materials which represent diverse viewpoints in support of the College’s academic offerings and suit the varied backgrounds of NOVA students, faculty, and staff. Occasionally, objections to some materials will be voiced regardless of the care taken in the selection process and the qualifications of the persons selecting the materials. Patrons of NOVA Libraries who feel specific materials are inappropriate for inclusion in the collection or should be balanced by the addition of a resource(s) by providing alternate views are free to initiate a Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources.


In the event of an emergency, all library patrons are expected to follow staff directions. For more information about emergency procedures, please see NOVA’s Emergency Preparedness webpage.

Northern Virginia Community College is committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all members of its community. For more information on children and visitors in the library, please see the Children and Visitors on College Property policy.

Patron Behavior

All library patrons are expected to behave respectfully and courteously toward fellow library patrons, library staff, and the library space.

Patrons should not leave their items unattended in the library. The campus libraries are not responsible for unattended items. Such items may be reported to Campus Police.

Computer Use

Computer use is for students registered in current classes. For more information, please contact a campus library. All patrons using library computers must follow and abide by the terms and conditions set forth in the VCCS Student-Patron Acceptable Use Agreement.

Equipment Returns

Please return breakable items such as laptops, headphones, and cameras directly to library staff rather than placed in an unattended location or in a bookdrop.

Signs and Flyers

Signs and flyers to be posted in a campus library must be approved by the  Student Life and by campus library staff before being posted.

Library Classrooms

Librarian-led instruction and research sessions have priority use of library classrooms. Please contact your campus library about classroom availability for other uses; no semester-length or regular use scheduling requests will be approved.