Rare Book School

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Program Costs

The following information is provided to help prospective students estimate expenses involved in attending a one-week course. RBS attendees enroll for a single course in any given session/week (that is, they usually do not attempt to take back-to-back courses over a two week period; it is also not possible to take multiple courses in the same session). They generally arrive on either a Saturday or Sunday in time for dormitory or hotel check-in and the Director's Welcome at 6:00 pm Sunday; classes begin on Monday morning. Students make a full-time commitment to any course they attend, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Most students generally stay in residence over Friday night, partly to avoid the annoyances in Friday evening travel, but also to enjoy a final meal with new and old friends. Students coming from abroad or the West Coast usually find it convenient to arrive on Saturday and stay until the following Saturday or Sunday. More comprehensive information will be provided for admitted students in the Rare Book School Information Guide. Prospective RBS students should not make travel or hotel reservations until they have been admitted to a course. An explanation of the admissions schedule may be found on the Application & Admissions page.


The tuition for most RBS 2015 courses is $1295, but for certain courses with field trips or lab expenses the tuition is $1395 (this is noted on the course description page of those courses). Many RBS students, especially those without institutional support to help defray their expenses, struggle to pay the School’s tuition. High as this figure is, it represents only about 45% of the actual cost per student of running the School. If it were not for the generosity (1) of the University of Virginia (which provides free space, the salary of certain full-time staff, and many other benefits) and (2) of the Friends of RBS, RBS could not exist either in its present form or at its present level of excellence. Tuition does not include preliminary course materials or travel and housing expenses (see below for more information about these costs). Some full-tuition scholarships are available for Rare Book School courses.

Travel & Accommodations

In Charlottesville, VA

Charlottesville is a city of about 40,000 persons, 110 miles south of Washington, DC, and 70 miles west of Richmond. The city’s major employers include the University of Virginia, several retirement communities (the quality of life is very pleasant), and the tourist industry (Monticello alone gets nearly half a million visitors a year). Charlottesville is the county seat of Albemarle County, a prosperous rural area dotted by scenic horse and other farms, many containing buildings of great beauty and architectural merit—though none more so than UVA itself. The town also boasts a large number of used and antiquarian booksellers. As a courtesy, Rare Book School publishes a guide to area booksellers, Antiquarian Bookhunting in Charlottesville. Feel free to download and print copies of your own (legal-sized paper required).

The majority of RBS activities take place in or near Alderman Library, located on the historic Central Grounds (main campus) of UVA. The RBS suite is located in Room 118, on the first floor.

Air Transportation to Charlottesville

The following information may be of use to you in estimating air transportation costs. The Charlottesville/Albemarle County airport (CHO) is just off Route 29, eight miles north of the University of Virginia. The airport is served by Delta, American Airlines, United Express, and US Airways. Direct flights to and from Charlottesville are available through Atlanta, Washington DC/Dulles, Charlotte, Chicago O'Hare, Philadelphia, and NYC/LaGuardia. For detailed information about flights into and out of Charlottesville, consult the airport’s website, which also offers links to current flight deals. If you must fly (see information about trains below), it is usually a good idea to fly directly into Charlottesville. Alternate airports require various methods of ground transportation:

Reagan National (DCA): Metrorail to Union Station (DC); Amtrak to Charlottesville. Washington Dulles (IAD): Metrobus to Union Station (DC); Amtrak to Charlottesville. Taxi or rental car as an alternative. Richmond International (RIC): Taxi or rental car to Charlottesville.

The taxicab fare from Charlottesville/Albemarle County airport to UVA (the same for 1-4 passengers) is about $40 each way, including tip.

Ground Transportation

Train: The Amtrak train called the Crescent passes north-south (New York-New Orleans) through Charlottesville (CVS) daily. Another Amtrak train, the Cardinal, passes through Charlottesville from Chicago on its way to Union Station in Washington, DC (and then continues north to Penn Station in New York City). The Northeast Regional train goes from Boston to Lynchburg via Providence, New Haven, New York, &c., with no change in train needed. Consult the Amtrak website or call 1-800-USA-RAIL for arrival and departure times. The Charlottesville Amtrak station is located about a quarter of a mile from the Central Grounds. If you are staying in a local hotel, ask about arranging pick-up and drop-off, or call a taxi. If you live near an Amtrak station, you should consider taking the train. Infrequent riders often are surprised by its convenience and reliability. Tickets from New York City, for example, are competitively priced with airfare, and don’t always require switching trains. You’ll also save time and money getting to and from the airport.

Bus: There are generally at least two buses a day from downtown Washington, DC to Charlottesville ($25-30, each way; usually 3 to 4 hrs; 124 miles). Not all of these routes are direct; you may have to transfer in another city. Be sure to ask about transfers when purchasing your ticket. Check the Greyhound website or call 1-800-231-2222 for fare and schedule information.

Car: The main north-south highway to (and through) Charlottesville is Route 29; it intersects with Interstate 66 about 30 miles west of Washington and about 80 miles north of UVA. The main east-west highway, just south of town, is Interstate 64. Interstate 81 (north-south) lies to the west of Charlottesville on the other side of the Blue Ridge Mountains; it intersects I-64 about 25 miles to the west of Charlottesville. For driving directions to Charlottesville from any point, use one of the popular mapping websites; these give good—often identical—directions. If you want to familiarize yourself with the terrain, consult street-level views from Google maps.


Parking is available in the Central Grounds Parking Garage, accessible 24 hrs/day from Emmet Street and—during the daytime—from Newcomb Road (off of University Ave). The rate is $2/hour Monday to Saturday, 8 am–5 pm payable in cash or check. After 5 pm the rate is $.70/hour until 10 pm. From 10 pm to 8 am there is a flat rate of $1; on Sundays parking is $.70/hour all day.

For students staying in dormitory housing, parking is available at the Culbreth Road Garage through UVA Conference Services for $15 per week.

The University has many parking lots, and many restrictions governing their use. If you park in a lot for which you do not have the proper sticker or dashboard pass, you are likely to get a ticket (fines are $30 and up, depending on the gravity of the offense). There is some chance that you will get towed if you park illegally in a lot where “Towing Enforced” signs are posted. Many University parking lots allow permitless parking after 5 pm and over the weekend. Single-day on-street parking in the immediate precincts of the University is fairly limited (many spaces require a local resident’s permit: read the signs carefully). The most desirable curbside parking spaces in the University neighborhood tend to be two-hour maximum. If you are staying in dormitory housing, weekly parking is available through Conference Services for $15/per week. If you are not staying in dormitory housing, it still may be possible to obtain a parking pass, though additional fees may apply. Contact UVA Conference Services directly at 434-924-4479 for more information. Likewise, some hotels offer parking to their guests.

Dormitory Housing

During the summer sessions in Charlottesville, Rare Book School’s on-campus housing is managed by Conference Services (CS) of the UVA Housing Division. Admitted students may make reservations via this online form. This form has been designed to accommodate most participants' needs; however, if you have other special arrangements, e.g., a non-standard departure time, please contact CS directly at 434-924-4479.

If you are attending back-to-back RBS sessions, please call CS at the time of your reservation.

Conference Services will do its best to accommodate last-minute housing requests and changes, but it cannot create space where there isn’t any: please let CS know your housing requirements as soon as possible! The deadline for housing requests is thirty days before each session begins; after this deadline a $50 late fee will be applied to your reservation. If you apply and are admitted to an RBS course after this deadline and want to stay in dormitory housing, you are still required to pay this fee.

The prices for dorms in 2014 are:

Brown College, double occupancy: $30 per person per night (air conditioned)
Brown College, single occupancy: $40 per person per night (air conditioned)
The Lawn, single occupancy: $34 per person per night

A linen packet containing sheets, a pillowcase, blanket, and towels must be rented for a one-time charge of $25 per person per packet. This fee is included in the total weekly rates listed on the Conference Services website.

For more information about housing options, consult the Rare Book School Information Guide, referenced in your admissions packet and distributed to admitted students only.


There are several hotels within relatively easy walking distance of the Central Grounds of the University. To reserve a room at the Courtyard Marriott, call the hotel directly at (434) 977-1700 and press "3" for the front desk. To reserve a room at the Hampton Inn & Suites , call (434) 923-8600. To reserve a room at the Red Roof Inn, call the hotel at (434) 295-4333 or the national group sales line at (800) 874-9000. You can also book rooms for these hotels online via their websites.

The best hotels in Charlottesville are generally thought to be the Boar’s Head Inn (a Four-Diamond Resort) and the downtown Omni Hotel, each about a mile and a half from the Central Grounds of UVA. There are many other hotels and motels in Charlottesville, including the usual assortment of national chains, as well as an interesting variety of country inns and bed-and-breakfast places (many of them written up in national and regional back roads-and-country-inn guidebooks and suchlike). The walking-distance Dinsmore House Inn will usually offer a discounted rate to RBS students. A boutique hotel, Oakhurst Inn, has recently opened just south of the University. The South Street Inn is popular for visitors preferring to stay downtown. Finally, Stay Charlottesville offers elegant, fully-furnished carriage houses, condos, apartments, and historic homes throughout the town and surrounding county.

Other locations (Bloomington; New Haven; New York City; Philadelphia; Washington, DC)

RBS’s course venues include Bloomington (at the Lilly Library, University of Indiana Bloomington); New Haven (at Yale University Libraries), New York City (at the Morgan Library & Museum), Philadelphia (at the University of Pennsylvania's Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts and the Library Company of Philadelphia), and Washington, DC (at the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Freer/Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution). When estimating costs to attend RBS at one of these locations, your best bet is to go onto one of the many websites specializing in competitively priced travel arrangements (Expedia, Travelocity, Hotels.com, to name a few) and see what you can turn up. You should inquire about weekly rates at your hotel of choice: it may well be cheaper to spend seven nights rather than six. Be sure to ask about other discounts, e.g., the AAA rate (if you are a member) or the government rate (if you are employed by a federal agency).


Course L-45 will be held at the Lilly Library, located on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington. A small number of rooms have been set aside for students at two hotels near the Lilly Library: Indiana Memorial Union - Biddle Hotel and Conference Center (800-209-8145) at $105 per night plus tax and at the Grant Street Inn (800) 328-4350) at $129 per night (including breakfast). These rooms have been set aside for the period of Sunday, 10 May through Saturday, 16 May 2015. Students should contact a hotel directly to make their own reservations and payment arrangements. Owing to Indiana University Commencement activities on Saturday, 9 May, there are no rooms available at either of these hotels on Saturday night. Information on other lodging options in Bloomington may be found on the website of the Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau.

New Haven

The Yale University libraries are located on Wall Street in the heart of New Haven.

New Haven is served by the Tweed New Haven Regional Airport (HVN), which is directly connected to the Yale campus by the bus system's G route. HVN is a smaller airport, however, and flights will likely be cheaper into Hartford's Bradley International Airport (BDL; 1 hour drive from New Haven) or Queens' LaGuardia (LGA; 1.5 hours drive). In addition, New Haven's Union Station (located less than two miles from the Yale Libraries) sits along Amtrak's Northeast Regional (Boston-Washington-Richmond/Lynchburg), Vermonter (Washington-Springfield-St. Albans), and Acela Express (Washington-Philadelphia-Boston) service routes. The Yale campus can be easily reached via bus (SLCP route).

RBS books a number of rooms in the Yale University dormitories. These are by far the cheapest and closest accommodations, though probably also the most spartan. Rooms in older dormitories are $37/night/person in a shared room and $58.10/night in a single room. These dorms are not air conditioned. Yale has recently constructed a new dorm which offers apartment-style housing. A two-room suite (1 person/bedroom) is $88/night, and includes a kitchenette, common area, more fully furnished bedrooms, and is air conditioned. Those staying in Yale dorms will have an opportunity to purchase a meal plan if they wish. There is a one-time registration fee of $20.50. For detailed information on staying in Yale dormitories and to apply for a room, please see their housing registration page.

If you would prefer to stay in a hotel, RBS has reserved blocks of rooms at special rates at the Courtyard Marriott ($119.00 Sun–Fri) and the New Haven Hotel ($119.00 Sun–Fri). The tax rate is 15%. Please mention "Rare Book School at UVA" when you call to make your reservation. be advised that each hotel has a deadline for obtaining the RBS rate (usually one month before the course begins) so please make your reservation as soon as possible. Yale maintains an online list of hotels in the New Haven area, many within easy walking distance of campus.

New York City

Courses in NYC will be held at either the Grolier Club or the Morgan Library & Museum; consult the course descriptions or course schedule to find out where your course meets. The Grolier Club is located at 47 East 60th St (one-way westbound), between Park Avenue (two-way traffic) and Madison Avenue (northbound), New York, NY 10022. There are two subway stops near the Grolier Club: one at Fifth Avenue at 60th Street (N, R, and W trains), the other at Lexington Ave at 59th/60th Streets (4, 5, and 6 trains). There are frequent northbound Madison Avenue buses (e.g. the 1, 2, 3, and 4) and southbound Lexington Avenue buses (e.g. the 98, 101, 102, and 103). Morgan Library & Museum is located at 225 Madison Ave (one-way northbound) between 36th Street (eastbound) and 37th Street (westbound), New York, NY 10016. The Morgan is easily accessible by subway (via No. 6 to 33d Street; No. 4, 5, 6 or 7 to Grand Central B, D, F, Q to 42d Street) or by bus (via the M2, M3, M4, Q32 to 36th Street, or PATH to 33d Street). For general maps, subway maps, and an interactive map/trip planner, see the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's website.

New York City is well served by its three airports. You may find that flying into Newark (EWR) is so much cheaper than flying into LaGuardia (LGA) or Kennedy (JFK) that the savings justifies the sometimes tedious business of taking ground transportation between Newark or Jamaica Bay and midtown Manhattan. CoachUSA offers the Newark Liberty Airport Express shuttle into the City for $15 one-way or $25 round trip. For visitors from nearby states, commuter trains offer convenient access to the city without the hassle or expense of parking.

There are no genuinely cheap hotels in midtown New York City. The Pod Hotel and Salisbury Hotel are two good places to begin your search. Hostels offer dormitory housing (on the cheap) or reasonably priced single rooms.

As you choose your hotel and consider your daily transportation needs, there are also several interactive online maps of NYC you may want to consider experimenting with, including Google Maps with its “Street View” feature that allows you to view panoramic street-level images; and Hopstop, an online route planner which provides door-to-door subway and bus instructions.


The University of Pennsylvania's Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts is located in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library on Walnut Street in Philadelphia's University City district. The Library Company of Philadelphia is in Center City on Locust St.

Philadelphia is well-served by its international airport, PHL, which is directly connected to the UPenn campus by the subway’s Airport Line. From the airport we recommend taking the Lady Liberty Shuttle ($10/person) to Center City or University City, depending on where you are staying. In addition, Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station (located less than a mile from the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center and 1.5 miles from the Library Company) sits along Amtrak’s Northeast Regional (Boston-Washington-Richmond/Lynchburg), Cardinal/Hoosier (Chicago-Cincinnati-New York), Silver Service/Palmetto (Miami-Charleston-New York), and Acela Express (Washington-Philadelphia-Boston) service routes.

The most inexpensive lodging option (and most convenient for those attending Will Noel and Dot Porter's course) is through UPenn's Conference Services, which offers summer housing in the UPenn dormitories. Rooms are priced based on a 7-day stay ($245/week for shared bedroom, $305/week for private bedroom with shared bath, $390 for private apartment), but guests can book only 5 or 6 days if they prefer. Because UPenn requires a sponsor letter for each housing applicant, please contact RBS (email rbs_programs@virginia.edu) to request this letter. For detailed information on staying in UPenn dormitories and to apply for a room, please see their 2014 Short Term Summer Housing page. You may contact UPenn Conference Services with questions at 215-898-9319.

RBS has reserved blocks of rooms at two hotels in Center City. The DoubleTree ($159.00/night, Sun–Fri) is located one block from the Library Company. Embassy Suites ($139.00/night, Sun–Fri) is about a 20-minute walk/10 minute transit ride from the Library Company and a 15-minute transit ride from the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. The tax rate is 15.5%. Please mention "Rare Book School at UVA" when you call to make your reservation. Be advised that each hotel has a deadline for obtaining the RBS rate (usually one month before the course begins) so please make your reservation as soon as possible.

Washington, DC

The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution are located respectively at 1050 Independence Ave SW and at Jefferson Drive and 12th Street on the National Mall, next door to the Smithsonian’s Castle and across the street from the US Department of Energy and the northern end of the L’Enfant Promenade.

The Folger Shakespeare Library is located at 201 East Capitol Street SE, directly across from the John Adams Building of the Library of Congress and a block from the US Capitol.

There are several hotels more or less within walking distance of the National Mall. Moderately-priced hotels include: Hotel Harrington (the best bet for a hotel within walking distance of the Freer/Sackler, though VERY basic: read reviews before making a reservation) and Capitol Hill Suites (the only hotel actually on Capitol Hill). Other more expensive options include: JW Marriott Hotel Pennsylvania Avenue and Willard InterContinental.

Washington, DC is also well served by its Metro. You may find it less expensive to stay at hotel, bed and breakfast, or friend’s/relative’s house a bit further afield, but located on (or close to) one of the metro lines. The Smithsonian Station is served by the Blue and Orange Lines, while the closest Metro station to the Folger Shakespeare Library is Capitol South, also on the Blue and Orange Lines.

Other Costs

All RBS courses have advance reading lists or other assignments that the instructors require their students to work on before they arrive for class. We know that it’s not always easy to get the books and articles assigned by RBS instructors. If you are having trouble locating books, you may be able to borrow books through inter-library loan. There are a number of American used/antiquarian booksellers specializing in books on books and other subjects relevant to RBS courses. Another possibility for purchasing the books you need is through Internet used and rare book services, such as Book Finder or viaLibri.