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Using the DAR Library

This page is designed to answer general questions on the Library's arrangement and procedures and to orient you to the location of materials. If anything is not clear, please ask the staff for further information.

Hours of Operation

General Information

The Library's stacks are open for browsing.  When you are finished with a book, do not attempt to reshelve a book yourself, but place it on one of the library carts along the center aisle of the Library. Please be careful when walking in the Library and watch for step stools, chairs, and book carts. Use caution when standing on a step stool or passing someone standing on one. On crowded days, please do not occupy neighboring chairs with coats, bags, etc. and, when asked, move such materials for the convenience of other researchers. Supervise your personal possessions. The NSDAR is not responsible for lost or stolen items. All bags, briefcases, and purses are subject to search by the Library and/or security staff for the protection of our collections. The DAR Library resources are FREE to the public.

The Library's Online Catalog

The DAR Library has had an online catalog of the collection since March 1996. This catalog is searchable by title, author, and subject. Terminals for public use are located next to the reference desk at the front of the Library. Click here to go to the Online Library Catalog.

Locating a Specific Book

The Library's collection is arranged by call words not call numbers. In the online catalog the call words for a title are in the call word field. Examples:

VA Virginia section within the state collection
COUNTIES County section within Virginia
ALBEMARLE Albemarle County books
WOO First three letters of the author's last name
FAMILIES Family section
HAMNER Books on the Hamner family
BLACK Full last name of the book's author

Each section of the Library contains many subject breakdowns that are shelved in alphabetical order. The families section is in alphabetical order by the main surname in the title or contents. With only a few exceptions, states, regions, and the District of Columbia are arranged in alphabetical order. Books on cities and towns are filed under the county in which they are located, except New York City, which precedes New York State. Always use the call word and these exceptions will not cause problems when you try to locate a title. Examples of the call words sequence in the Alabama section:

Architecture Biography Counties
Genealogical Records Committee History Religions
Analytical Index

The Analytical Index provides library patrons with a valuable finding aide to older county histories, special book collections, and the file collection. In the index users will find references to families, individuals, and specialized lists such as the participants of the Boston Tea Party. Most analytical cards use a format similar to this:

Hamner family
Woods, Edgar. Hamner family (in his Albemarle County in Virginia . . . 1901, page 214).

This indicates that some information on the Hamner family of Virginia is on page 214 of Wood's Albemarle County in Virginia. To locate information cited in the analytical index, search the online catalog by author or title or consult the author/title card catalog. The Analytical Index has been scanned and is also available for use through the Genealogical Research System (GRS).  

Special Locations

Several abbreviations and notes appear in the online and card catalogs that note special situations or locations in the library.

L.C. - Book shelved in locked case. The book may be used after the patron turns in a request at the Reference desk and leaves some form of identification.

OV - Oversized book, usually shelved at a location separate from the general collection.

P.C. - Poor Condition, kept in office or Poor condition; inquire at desk. Fragile books that have been removed from the general collection. The book may be used after the patron turns in a request at the Reference desk.

CD - Indicates a holding on CD ROM.

F.C. - This is an indication that the entry refers to a file. Make requests for files at the Library's Reference Desk.

FILM - or FICHE Microfilm or microfiche held in the Library's Seimes Technology Center.

MC - Maps found in the Map Case on the upper balcony. Ask a Library staff person for assistance.

MssColl - The manuscript collection of research materials including notes, documents, unpublished genealogies, and indexes. Make requests for items from the collection at the Library's Reference Desk.

File Collection

The Library has a file collection of an estimated 5,400 folders. These files are a mixture of documentation submitted with the DAR applications, subsequent donations by DAR members, and items donated by the public. Among the type of records included in these files are Bible records, family studies, and research notes covering the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. Please note the Library does not have a data file for every individual in the Patriot Index. To view a file, fill out the appropriate form and submit it at the Library Reference Desk. Please do not make photocopies from the documentation files; the staff will do them for you.


Coin, bill, and copy-card operated photocopiers are available in the library for public use. The cost of a photocopy is 25 cents per page. Change is available at the Reference desk. When others are waiting in line, patrons should limit themselves to no more than 25 copies at a time. Digital cameras may be used to take pictures of book pages.  There is a $15.00 fee to use digital cameras.  The fee can be paid at the Reference Desk.  A “Digital Camera Use Policy” form must be filled out by customers and turned in to the Reference Desk when the customer leaves.  Hand held personal photocopiers or scanners are not permitted to be used in the library.