The Jefferson Library welcomes queries on any aspect of Thomas Jefferson's life, times, and legacy and the Monticello plantation. If you are planning to visit us to do research on a Jefferson-related topic, we will be happy to assist you in locating and using our informational resources. Appointments are required for research visits; please see our Visitor Information page for more details.
Long-Distance Reference Services
If you cannot visit us in person, we may still be able to provide a limited amount of assistance to you. We also have a great deal of information available in the Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia that may already answer your need, so be sure to check there first before submitting a query.
Please be aware that, because of our small staff and limited resources, we cannot provide in-depth research services to off-site patrons. We are not able to assist with certain types of queries which would either involve extensive research or fall outside our scope. Types of queries we cannot assist you with include:
Genealogical queries, unless they concern Thomas Jefferson's immediate ancestors or descendants. For example, if you suspect you are a descendant of one of Thomas Jefferson's workmen, we cannot assist you in tracing your ancestry; however, we may be able to provide information on Jefferson's family, friends, slaves, or employees.
Interpretive questions, e.g. "What was the nature of the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton?"
Image research for books and other publications. If you know that the Thomas Jefferson Foundation owns an object or image which you would like to reproduce in a publication, you will need to contact our Public Affairs office. For more information, see Guidelines for Photographic Reproduction.
Research for school assignmentsand projects. We are happy to refer students to appropriate sources, but we will not answer questions or perform research that is part of a student's assignment.
Proofreading and/or fact-checking of manuscripts for publication.
Questions on topics unrelated to Thomas Jefferson's life, times, or legacy.
All reference services are free of charge. Typical response time is approximately 1 to 2 weeks from the day a query is submitted, so please plan accordingly. All inquiries are handled in the order in which they are received.
Please note that we do not accept reference inquiries over the telephone. You may contact our reference staff by filling out our reference form, emailing us, or sending your inquiry by mail to the Jefferson Library, P.O. Box 316, Charlottesville VA 22902.
Reading Room Use Policies
Patrons are required to store personal belongings in designated areas. Coat closets are available on the second floor near the front office; lockers are available on the first floor near the reference desk. Only notebooks, laptop computers, and essential materials are allowed in the Reading Room and the Multimedia Center.
Use of pens in the Reading Room and Multimedia Center is prohibited. Pencils will be provided by the Library if necessary.
Food and drinks are not allowed in the Reading Room or Multimedia Center.
Use of cell phones in the Reading Room and Multimedia Center is prohibited.
The library is equipped with:
1 microfilm/microfiche reader with printing/scanning capabilities, and one microfilm/microfiche reader/printer
1 black and white photocopier
1 color copier/printer/scanner
3 desktop computers for short-term use
1 black-and-white printer
1 television equipped with DVD/VHS player
1 stereo system for playing CD's and audio cassettes
Note: The Library does not provide Ethernet cables, data storage media (floppy disks, data sticks, CD-RW's etc.), or headphones for patron use.
Photocopying and Reproduction
The Jefferson Library offers black-and-white and color photocopying, printing, and scanning free of charge on a self-service basis, within reasonable limits.
Photocopying of archival materials and items from Special Collections is prohibited.
The Jefferson Library only circulates materials to Thomas Jefferson Foundation Staff, interns, and International Center for Jefferson Studies Fellows. All other patrons are welcome to use library materials on-site.
Library borrowing periods are as follows:
Thomas Jefferson Foundation Staff:
Books are loaned for 90 days, renewable 3 times.
Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies Fellows:
Books are loaned for 90 days, renewable once.
Public Readers (members of the general public):
Library materials may be used on-site only.
Videos are generally loaned for a period of 7 days, renewable 3 times. Special collections materials, information files, microforms, documentary papers, and reference materials do not circulate.
Gifts and Donations
The Jefferson Library welcomes gifts and donations of all types of materials relevant to the life, times, and legacy of Thomas Jefferson. For a description of the scope of our collection, see our Collections page.
For more details on donating to the Library, click here.