Family Weekend

36621895664_8bc72c6265_zFamily Weekend is nearly upon us at VMI. This coming weekend, October 19-21, cadets’ families will be on Post to get a glimpse into the lives of their sons and daughters while they’re at their home away from home during the academic year. Parents will get an opportunity to attend classes with their cadets, meet with their professors and advisors, tour Barracks, attend the VMI vs. The Citadel football game on Saturday, and more!

Click on this link for more information, including a Family Weekend brochure detailing this weekend’s events and times. We hope you’ll also take an opportunity to tour Preston Library and see where your cadets spend some of their time studying. To all the parents and families of VMI’s esteemed cadets, we welcome you to Post!

Photo credit: VMI


Events · Hours

Fall FTX

Cadets_in_flight_on_Air_Force_Transport_during_FTX_ca_1950This coming weekend, VMI’s cadets will be participating in Fall FTX (Field Training Exercises). FTX provides cadets with training exercises specific to their ROTC branches, as well as opportunities to bond with one another.

Preston Library will be open during its regular hours this weekend except for Saturday when the Library will close at 1900. Enjoy FTX, cadets!

Photo credit: Cadets in flight on Air Force Transport during FTX, ca. 1950, courtesy of the VMI Archives Digital Collections.


Vietnam War Symposium

bell-uh-1-906516_640VMI’s Center for Leadership & Ethics (CLE) will be hosting a Vietnam War Symposium on September 24, 2018, at 8:00 AM. According to the CLE, “This one-day conference will examine a few key issues that continue to dominate the debate about the war. Topics we’ll cover include thoughts on the Vietnam War 50 years later, perspectives on strategy and its execution, leading citizen-soldiers in combat, the POW experience, and media and reporting during the Vietnam War.”

This event is open to the public and the dress code is business casual. Keynote speakers will include Hal Kushner and the Honorable James Webb. The Honorable James Webb is the author of ten books, six of which are best-selling novels, including Fields of Fire and Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America. Both of these novels can be found in Preston Library!

Additional information about speakers and the program schedule can be found on the CLE’s Vietnam War Symposium website.

Photo credit:


Welcome, Board of Visitors!

Board of Visitors, 1972. VMI Digital Archives.

Preston Library would like to extend a very warm welcome to VMI’s Board of Visitors, who will be visiting and meeting on Post September 10-12, 2018.

“The Board of Visitors is the supervisory board of Virginia Military Institute. The Board defines the mission of the Institute as a public institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and oversees the development, revision, and implementation of a strategic plan for the accomplishment of that mission” (excerpted from Board of Visitors Bylaws, Section 3, paragraph 1).

Did you know…that 12 of the 16 Board of Visitors members must be VMI alumni? and that the remaining 4 non-alumni must be Commonwealth residents? To find out more about the Board of Visitors and how they serve the VMI community, check out their page on VMI’s website.


Fall 2018 Academic Convocation

VMI’s Academic Convocation is today, September 5th, during Dean’s Hour from 11:05-12:15 in Cameron Hall.

© 2014 Larry D. Moore

This year’s convocation speaker is Mr. Jon Meacham, Presidential Historian and author, who released a book in May of 2018 titled The Soul of America: the Battle for our Better Angels. You can find this book and others written by Mr. Meacham in the Preston Library!




Events · The Friends of Preston Library

Guest Speaker: William F. Connelly Jr.

The Friends of Preston Library will sponsor guest speaker William F. Connelly Jr. Ph.D., the John K. Boardman Professor of Politics at Washington and Lee University, at 3:00 PM on Tuesday, April 18, in the Turman Room at Preston Library. Dr. Connelly recently co-edited Is Congress Broken? The Virtues and Defects of Partisanship and Gridlock with John Pitney, Jr. and Gary J. Schmitt, published by the Brookings Press. Dr. Connelly was the 2007 recipient of the Virginia Council of Higher Education Outstanding Faculty Award, has taught courses on Congress, the Presidency, and the American Political Process, has been faculty advisor to Washington & Lee’s Mock Convention since 1988, and has directed Washington & Lee’s Washington Term Program since founding it in 1987. He has published extensively in his areas of scholarly interest. The talk is free and open to the public.

Events · Uncategorized

Celebrate 2016 Banned Books Week

Preston Library is celebrating “Banned Books Week” from 25 September to 1 October.  This annual event celebrates our freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.

The American Library Association monitors the attempts made by individuals and groups to have books removed from library shelves and classrooms.  Books that were on the list includes such literature as:

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

You can find these books in Preston Library.

Source: ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF)  For more information about frequently challenged books go to


Preston Library Recognizes 2016 First Classmen

Preston Library hosted a pizza luncheon on May 5, Reading Day, for its cadet assistants. Library staff recognized first classmen for their outstanding work and contributions to the library. Joining the celebration were Col. Susan Hastings, who retired in March, and Col. John Brodie, who brought a small brass ensemble to serenade Col. Hastings with Sweet Caroline.

Getting ready to dine

The serenade

Firsts with Col. Samdahl

A good time was had by all and good luck on exams!

Events · The Friends of Preston Library

Friends Recognize Cadet Ryan Poffenbarger for 2016 Camper Award

Col. Samdahl, Mr. Poffenbarger, Mr. Camper (l-r)

The Friends of Preston Library awarded Cadet Ryan Poffenbarger, ’16 with this year’s Camper Award on 5 May, Reading Day. Representatives of the Friends’ Board, Col. Don Samdahl, library staff, and Mrs. Camper’s son, Bob, recognized Mr. Poffenbarger for his leadership and service to Preston Library. Cadet Poffenbarger served this past year as Preston Library’s Head Library Cadet Assistant.

The award’s namesake, Mrs. Frances Camper, was a great teacher and role model for library cadet assistants. Cadet Poffenbarger received a letter of recognition, a certificate, and a cash award. Mr. Poffenbarger is an Applied Mathematics major who will commission in the United States Army Reserves as a Medical Service Corps officer in Ft. Meade. He will be working in air and missile defense at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. We wish all the best to this outstanding cadet.

Events · Survey

Preston Library Cadet Survey 2016

Col Samdahl with Cadet Thers, winner of $150.
Col Samdahl with Cadet Thers, winner of $150.

Cadet Nickolas Thers, ’16 was our lucky winner in our survey drawing for taking the Preston Library Cadet Survey. The prize was a check for $150. Cadet Thers is an IS major and will be graduating this year. Congratulations!

We received input from 345 cadets in this year’s survey. Thanks to all cadets who participated in the survey. We value your input in evaluating library resources, services, and facilities and use your comments to help us improve.


Survey Results: Preston Library Cadet Survey 2016.