Like many similar institutions, the Virginia Room depends on donations to enhance its collection of unique materials for both historical and genealogical research.  Throughout the years, the generosity of donors has helped to build an exceptional collection.  As a donor, it is important to know what types of material are useful to that particular archives, library, or historical society.  Likewise, it is the institutions responsibility to determine which of the many items offered will add value to the existing collection.  Due to space constraints or because the materials are not within the collecting mission, the following may be used as a guide for potential donations to the Virginia Room, stemming from our mission statement:

“We are committed to collecting preserving and making available materials of the Roanoke Valley, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and to a lesser degree, materials of states which are closely tied to Virginia and its people by birth, immigration, migration or by boundary divisions.”

What We Accept

  • Journals/diaries
  • Genealogical research files
  • Historical research files
  • Scrapbooks
  • Identified photographs and negatives
  • Organizational records, for example: civic and social clubs, churches, etc.
  • Business records
  • Oral histories
  • Bible records
  • Yearbooks from area schools and colleges
  • Unpublished family histories
  • Architectural plans of local structures
  • Correspondence – both personal and professional

What We Do Not Accept

  • Original newspapers
  • Duplicate copies of items already in the collection
  • Blank forms
  • Unidentified photographs and negatives
  • Personnel files
  • Records that include sensitive or confidential information, such as account numbers, social security numbers, medical records, and financial data
  • 3-dimensional artifacts, furniture, clocks, coins, etc.
  • Textiles of any kind
  • Fictional works
  • Awards, plaques, and trophies
  • Art
  • Nationally or widely available publications
  • Moldy or water damaged items


The Virginia Room is, after all, a genealogical and historical research library, so books are the most commonly donated items.  First determine if the item is already part of the Virginia Room collection by searching the online catalog located at . If the item is already in the collection, try to find another institution for which the book may be useful.  If it is not in the collection, consider the following:  Is the book a non-fiction work related to the Roanoke Valley, Southwestern Virginia, Virginia, or any of the surrounding states?  Does its content include genealogy or items of historical interest?  If you can answer yes to both of these questions and the book is not already in the Virginia Room collection, it is likely a good candidate for donation.  If not, look for other places to donate the book.  If you are unsure, do not hesitate to contact Virginia Room staff.  To avoid transporting books that cannot be accepted, it is a good idea to create a list of the books you wish to donate in advance, including title and author, for staff to review.  The list may be submitted via email to

We kindly ask that boxes of books are never donated without first speaking with staff.  Books that are simply “old” and do not fit our collection policy will not be accepted.  Nationally or widely available publications, such as encyclopedias, workbooks, textbooks, and study guides also will not be accepted.  The Virginia Room reserves the right to discard donated materials as appropriate.

Books in any of the following conditions may not be accepted:

  • Dirty
  • Moldy
  • Burnt
  • Water damaged
  • Damaged bindings or pages
  • Missing covers or pages
  • Excessive writing, markings, or highlighting

Serial Publications

In some cases, the Virginia Room accepts serial publications, such as journals and magazines.  Please contact the Virginia Room for more information.

Other options for book donations include:

  • Library book sales – Roanoke County Libraries has a book sale in the Spring and Fall each year at the South County Library. Please contact the South County Library at (540) 772-7507 for more details.
  • Used book stores
  • Goodwill

Guidelines established for collection development ensure a well-curated collection and enable staff to devote time to the preservation of and access to materials with the highest level of research value.

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