PHC Library User Guide

Library Home


Staff in the Patrick Henry College Library are here for your research support.

The PHC Library provides an ever-expanding selection of resources and services to support your academic endeavors at PHC. On campus, you will find approximately 40,000 books, journals, newspapers, magazines, CD’s, DVD’s, and musical scores in print. You will also find welcoming study spaces and knowledgeable librarians.

The PHC Library website is your portal to over 280,000 ebooks and over 19,500 journals and newspapers ready to read or download whenever and wherever you need them.

You may want to start your research at one of the course-specific Research Guides linked from the library home page. These guides will take you directly to the online and on-campus resources that your professor has selected for the course. By using a Research Guide, you can have confidence that the information is authoritative and current, a confidence not available from a general internet search.

In the online PHC Catalog, linked from the library home page, you can search for resources, check your account, and renew items from the PHC collection. If you cannot find what you need in the on-campus or online collection, you can request to borrow the item from another library through an interlibrary loan (ILL). ILL requests can be placed directly from a link in the online catalog record for the item.

Librarians are available for research consultations by email at askalibrarian@phc.edu, by phone at 540-441-8400, and in the library. Online video tutorials provide quick answers to the most commonly asked questions and are available from the askalibrarian link on the library’s home page.

With all of the information available, we would like to warmly welcome you to the resources and services available on campus and online in the PHC library.

Mrs. Sara E. Pensgard
Director of the Library


Print and online collection

The library’s complete collection of resources is searchable in the PHC Library Catalog. As you become familiar with searching the catalog, you can limit your searches more specifically by type of source, dates, etc., through the menu on the left of the screen.

The video tutorial, Using the Library Catalog, linked from the library’s ask a librarian page, provides pro tips for finding what you need in the catalog.

Journal articles may be read online, downloaded, emailed, or printed. Ebooks can be read online or downloaded for a check-out period specific to the book. To download, follow the prompts to create a free account.


Reserve Collection

The Reserve Collection is a temporary selection of items reserved for students by faculty request. These items are usually either required or supplementary readings for current classes. To see what books are on reserve for your course, check Course reserves online, linked from the library home page. Each reserve item has a limited check-out period ranging from 2 hours to 3 weeks. Most are 2-hour check-outs, in-library use only. When checking out reserve items, please make sure you are aware of the due date or time and any special instructions.

In order to ensure all students have access to reserve items, an overdue fine of $1 per hour is charged for all reserve items returned late


Want to request an item to be added to the collection

Email library@phc.edu.

PHC students, faculty, alumni, staff, and HSLDA staff have access to all library resources and services without charge. Community users are welcome to enjoy library privileges for a fee of $15.00 per year.

 PHC students and faculty may check out an unlimited number of items. PHC alumni, PHC staff, HSLDA staff, and community users may check out 5 items at any time. Librarians may extend the number and length of time at their discretion.

The circulation period for library items varies. The following are the most common circulation periods:



  • Students may check out books for 3 weeks.
  • Faculty may check out books for 8 weeks.
  • Alumni, PHC, and HSLDA staff and community members may check out books for 3 weeks.
  • Items may be renewed unless requested by another patron.


Audio CDs and DVDs

  • Students, faculty, alumni, and staff may check out items for 7 days. Items may be renewed twice for 7 days each.
  • Community users may check out items for 7 days, no renewals. 


Reserve Items

  • Check-out periods vary from 2 hours to 3 weeks depending on the instructions of the faculty. Please confirm due date and time at check out.
  • Only PHC students and faculty may check out reserve items.

Periodicals, newspapers, reference items, microforms, and specific reserve items may only be used in the library.


Checking Your Library Account

You can check your library account from the online catalog. Select Sign in and then My account links. When prompted, enter your PHC ID # and name. You can renew books online prior to them becoming overdue. You can also check due dates, requests, and any library charges.


Fines and Fees

Currently, the PHC Library does not charge overdue fines for items from the PHC collection. However, we request you renew or return items promptly out of respect for others who may be waiting. If the privilege is abused, the library reserves the right to reinstitute fines and/or suspend a user’s account.

When an item is more than 7 days overdue, it is considered lost and a temporary charge is placed on the account. The fine is removed when the item is returned.

Items not returned or renewed within 60 days of their due date may be considered lost and replacement charges of the cost of the item and a $25 processing fee will be placed on the user’s account. Irreplaceable items are charged at $50 plus the $25 processing fee.

Items kept past the end of semester due date without librarian approval will incur a $1 per day fine per item up to $5.

Reserve items not returned on time incur a $1 per hour fine.

Interlibrary loan items have a 7 day grace period after the initial due date. On the 8th day, fines will accrue at $.50 per day. You can use the grace period to request a renewal online or by emailing the library.

Any fines or fees that are not paid promptly may be placed on the student’s account with the college. Unpaid fines or unreturned items can result in the student’s inability to register for the next semester’s classes or held transcripts. Users with chronic late items or unpaid fines may have their library account suspended.

Overdue notices are provided as a courtesy.

All graduating seniors must return all items and clear their library accounts of any charges prior to receiving their diplomas.

Library staff can make mistakes. If you believe a mistake has been made or would like to appeal a fine or fee, we are happy to review your issue. Please email library@phc.edu or contact any of the library staff.


Hold Requests

PHC students and faculty may place a hold request on library items that are currently checked out. When a hold request is placed, the item may not be renewed by the current borrower. To place a hold request, select Place hold from the item’s catalog page. When the item is returned, the requesting patron will receive an email.

Hold requests may not be made for an item that is on the shelf in the library. Simply come by and pick it up.


Recalled Items

Checked out items may be recalled if it is a required text or supplemental reading for a course or if a faculty member has requested it be placed on reserve. Recalled items must be returned to the library immediately.


Controversial Materials

In an effort to support academic research and encourage critical thinking within a scholarly environment, the PHC Library seeks to provide a wide variety of resources from varying perspectives.

It should not be assumed that all library materials reflect the views of the college. If you have questions or concerns about items in the collection, the director of the library will be happy to discuss it with you.

Interlibrary Loans

If you are unable to find a needed resource in our online or on-campus collection, you can request the item from another library through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). PHC Library users have access to hundreds of thousands of items in thousands of libraries within our lending library network. Books, audio/visual items, and journal articles are available through ILL.

If you wish to check for additional resources in other libraries, select Libraries worldwide from the Refine your search menu on the left side of the catalog screen. When you locate an item that you would like to request, select Request item through Interlibrary Loan.

To request a journal article not available through the PHC catalog, use the Interlibrary Loan Periodical Request Form linked from the Interlibrary Loan 101 web page.

PHC alumni, and HSLDA staff may place ILL requests using the Interlibrary Loan Book Request Form linked from Interlibrary Loan 101 web page.

Timely access to requested ILL items is not guaranteed, as it may take time to locate a library with an available copy. For certain rare materials, an ILL copy may not be available. Please allow at least 7 – 10 days of response time for ILL requests. You will be notified by e-mail when a requested item is available for pick-up. You will also be notified if the item cannot be obtained within our lending network.


ILL Charges

In most cases, there are no charges for an ILL request. However, you will be asked to indicate on the ILL request form how much you are willing to pay for the requested item. If fees are charged, the PHC

The library pays for the first $10. If borrowing charges are more than$10.00, you will be notified before the item is borrowed and asked

if you are willing to pay the additional amount. You may accept or decline.

Community users will be assessed a $5.00 processing fee for each ILL request and any borrowing charges from the lending library.

Due to the nature of the ILL process, textbooks, required readings, and leisure items may not be requested by ILL.


ILL Rewards

The use and renewal of borrowed ILL items is subject to the policies of the lending library. Renewals should be requested at least 3 days before the due date to allow the lending library time to respond to the request. Renewals may be requested through your online account or by emailing library@phc.edu. Renewals are at the discretion of the lending library. You will be notified by email if the renewal is approved or if the item needs to be returned.

Knowledgeable and helpful research librarians and library staff are available to support your academic endeavors. In this age of potential information overload, we can help you locate, evaluate, and use information appropriately. Library staff can help you locate scholarly resources, evaluate a source for authority or accuracy, cite resources correctly within your project, or determine if you have complied with intellectual property law. Check in with a librarian in the library, by phone, or through email at askalibrarian@phc.edu.

If you are just beginning your research and would like some pro tips, begin with an online overview linked from the library home page, How to Research.

Quick online video tutorials are available at askalibrarian, linked from the library home page. They address frequently asked questions, such as saving searches, making online lists and notes, using the citation generator, and so much more.

Subject specific Research Guides are available for most courses linked from the library home page. These guides point you to the scholarly print, electronic, and internet resources that your professors have recommended for research. The guides also suggest additional search terms in the subject area, tips on an effective research strategy, and links to citation style information.

Services for Distance Learners

The library provides resources and services to distance learning students. You can begin with an email to askalibrarian@phc.edu for a personal research consultation or you can search the extensive online collection in the PHC Catalog.

When searching the online catalog, select Ebooks or Articles from the home page or once in the catalog, from the menu on the left of the screen. The library will also mail items from our on-campus collection to you, if needed. For expert tips on searching the catalog, check out the video tutorials at Askalibrarian, linked from the library home page.

Research Guides linked from the library home page provide you access to a growing list of faculty recommended and approved sources specific to your course.

Library staff members are available to assist distance learners in finding, selecting, evaluating potential resources, broadening or narrowing a topic, and using another person's work ethically and legally.

Professional librarians are available between the hours of 8:30 am to 5:30 pm (EST) on Monday-Friday.  We can be reached by email at askalibrarian@phc.edu or by phone at 540-441-8400.  If a librarian is unavailable, we will return your communication as soon as possible.

Services for Users With Disabilities

The PHC Library is committed to providing reasonable and appropriate access for users with disabilities. If you have either permanent or temporary disabilities, accommodations can be designed to meet your research needs. To begin the process, document your need for disability accommodations with the Office of Academic Affairs and then inform the library. Once informed, the library will develop with you a specific set of accommodations to meet your needs. The accommodation list below, though not exhaustive, represents possible options.


Retrieval and Circulation of Physical Materials

Users with disabilities may be granted permission to request for library staff to retrieve materials in our physical collection. Library staff will retrieve the requested materials daily. Retrieve requests can be placed by contacting a library staff member.

If appropriate, users with disabilities may register an aide as a proxy borrower. The aide is allowed to check out materials on the user’s behalf. The user remains responsible for all checked-out materials.

Exceptions to the general circulation policies may be granted for students who require more time with materials in order to convert them into accessible formats. Users will be considered individually for circulation exceptions.


Online Resources

Many of the library’s online resources are developed and maintained by outside vendors, which may cause accessibility to vary between products. If you need help accessing online resources, library staff will happily help.


Research Services
Personal research consultations are available to all library users by phone, email, and in person. Due to the small staff size of the library, appointments are recommended for extended research sessions, such as thesis or directed research and writing projects (DRWs).


The library has accessible study tables and computer stations. All of our computers have screen magnification software and text-to-speech capable PDF readers. The library staff will be happy to assist users with our printers, copiers, scanners, and fax machines.

Internet Access

Wireless Internet access is available throughout the library. 


Public Computers

Computers with Internet access and DVD players are available in the library. Recreational gaming and surfing are not permitted. Users accessing the Internet must abide by the College’s Appropriate Use Policies.


Printing, Copying, Scanning, & Faxing

A printer/copier/scanner is available for general use. You may print to the library printer from anywhere on campus. Campus-wide policies apply for student copying and printing. Copies are $.10 for black and white and $.20 for color. There are no charges for scanning.

The library adheres to all applicable U.S. copyright and intellectual property rights laws. Users are responsible for complying with these laws. 


Conference/Group Study Room

The Library Conference Room is available for meetings or group study and is equipped with a large monitor, conference table, and whiteboards. Groups may reserve the room for a designated time through the on-campus room reservation system. Individuals may not reserve the room, but may use it at any time when it is not reserved. 



The library has a projector and headphones available for check out at the circulation desk. A microprint reader and a microfiche/microfilm reader/printer are also available in the library.


Reasonable food and drinks are allowed. Talking on a cell phone is prohibited.

PHC students enjoy relaxed dress code in the library at all hours.

Patrick Henry College Library

Library Home