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Library Policies

Library Policies

The NOVA Libraries strive to offer excellent customer service to students, faculty, staff and the community. We provide access to a vast collection of materials in a variety of print, audio-visual, and electronic formats that support the curriculum of each discipline, college programs, and popular interests. In addition, we provide individual and group instruction in the identification, use, and evaluation of information resources to enhance teaching, research, and lifelong learning.



A NOVACard is required for NOVA students, faculty and staff to borrow library materials. Library cards can be issued to GMU students at any campus library upon presentation of current registration at the university. Community patron cards can be issued at any campus library upon presentation of a current government ID showing a local address.

Members of the community can borrow books and videos. Community patrons should bring a photo ID with a current local address to the circulation desk at any campus library. We will create a Community Borrower card for you (ages 16 and older), which will allow you to check out three items at a time.

As long as the item is not overdue and has not been requested by another patron, renewals can be done in person, by phone or electronically.

Checkout Length

NOVA Students, Faculty and Staff (with a valid NOVACard)

  • 10 item limit (total)
  • Books, Media, and Audiovisual Materials: 3 weeks, 1 renewal
  • Magazines: 1 week, 1 renewal
  • Reserves: Determined by instructor as in library use only or 1, 3 or 7 days, no renewals

GMU (with a valid ID card and copy of current registration)

  • Books or Audiovisual Materials: 3 weeks, 1 renewal, 10 item limit

Community Patrons, (with validated ID with local address)

  • Books or Audiovisual Materials: 3 weeks, 1 renewal, 3 item limit


Faculty who would like to put an item on reserve should fill out and print the Course Reserve Form found under the For Faculty section of the library Web page.

Copyright permission is required for all photocopied or duplicated materials placed on reserve and must be obtained by the faculty member. Copyright permission forms are available at the campus libraries. There are no renewals for items on reserve.

You will be charged $4 per hour/per day (as applies) for overdue Reserve Materials. The maximum reserve fine is $160 per item. Payment can be made by NOVACard at any campus. The following campuses also accept payment by cash and check: AN, LO, MA, MEC and WO.

Library Instruction

Library Instruction

NOVA Libraries provides quality instruction services to our students, faculty and staff in support of the College’s General Education Information Literacy goal. 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

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. The Library Instruction Request form can be found under the For Faculty section of the library Web page.

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.

Collection Development

Collection Development

This policy is a guide to the planned development of a library collection that will meet the educational needs of the learning community of Northern Virginia Community College. The Libraries support the mission of the College and are an integral part of the instructional program. Our goal is to provide well-organized access to materials in formats that enhance teaching and learning. We strive to build a collection that will support the development of critical thinking skills, and we are committed to educating library users to become capable researchers and effective users of the information resources we provide. 

The NOVA Faculty Handbook (3.7300) states guidelines for the selection of library materials. Materials will be collected in varied formats which 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 librarians, faculty, staff, students, and Learning Resource Committees. Librarians work with the teaching faculty to integrate collection development with the curricula on an ongoing basis. The Collection Development Librarian is responsible for coordination of all collection development activities on the campus; final responsibility for selection and quality of these materials on each campus rests with the Library faculty.

In accord with the Faculty Handbook selection guidelines, the College Libraries have established the following priorities for collection development:

  • To provide students with resources supporting disciplines, programs and courses offered at the College
  • To provide faculty and staff with resources supporting their teaching and professional development activities
  • 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:

  • Items are current and authoritative
  • Items are in a variety of formats that can be accessed on campus
  • Items support the varied academic levels of community college students
  • Items present a wide range of viewpoints
  • 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.

Use of the Libraries

Use of the Libraries

Study Rooms

Study Rooms in the library are for group and academic use only. Please contact your campus library for details on usage policies. Details on specific campus library usage policies can be found under the For Students section of the library Web page. The reservation policies for the use of group study rooms differs by campus -- please contact your campus library to discuss study room availability.

Fines and Fees

Borrowers who lose or damage library materials, including technology items, are required to pay the non-refundable replacement cost of the lost or damaged materials. Overdue materials that have not been returned will result in a hold being placed on the user's record. Users may not check out materials, obtain transcripts, or register for classes until the hold is cleared. Library holds will be released when materials are returned or replacement costs are paid. Payment can be made by NOVACard at any campus. The following campuses also accept payment by cash and check: AN, LO, MA, MEC and WO.  The campus libraries do not provide change. Please visit a campus NOVACard office for change and assistance adding funds to NOVACards and guest cards.

Patron Behavior

All library patrons are expected to behave courteously and with respect for their fellow library patrons, the library space and library staff.

Do not leave items in the libraries unattended. Watch your belongings! The campus libraries are not responsible for unattended items. Unattended items may be reported to the Campus Police.

Computer Use

Students have priority use of computers in the libraries. Non-students may use library computers, subject to their campus library's policy. 

Equipment Returns

Please return breakable items such as laptops, headsets and cameras directly to library staff members.


Children & Visitors on College Property

All library patrons are expected to follow staff directions in cases of evacuation or other emergencies.

Signs and Flyers

Signs and Flyers must be approved by the campus Student Activities Office and by library staff before posting.