Although often thought of as the domain of public libraries, providing access and services to the general public has long been an important, and sometimes controversial, issue for academic libraries. State and national policies have been suggested, but none have yet provided any definitive guidance to academic libraries in Virginia, leaving each institution free to find its own way of dealing with access and services to anyone outside its primary clientele of students, faculty, and staff. As the Association of College and Research Libraries' 1975 Access Policy Guidelines states,

Institutional goals and circumstances are highly variable, making it both unworkable and undesirable to be prescriptive in approaching the question of community access to library collections and services.

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Copyright © 1988 Virginia Library Association. This article first appeared in Virginia Librarian 34:2 (1988), 9-12.

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