Rare Book School

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Program Costs

We provide the following information to help prospective students estimate the expenses involved in attending a one-week course. RBS attendees enroll for a single course in any given session/week (that is, students cannot take multiple courses during the same session, nor do they usually attempt to take back-to-back courses over a two-week period). Students generally arrive on either a Saturday or Sunday in time for dormitory or hotel check-in, and for the 5:00 p.m. registration on Sunday. Classes begin on Monday morning. All students must make a full-time commitment (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday) to any course they attend. Most generally stay in residence through Saturday morning, partly to avoid the annoyances of Friday evening travel, but also to enjoy a final meal with friends, old and new. Students coming from abroad or from the West Coast usually find it convenient to arrive the previous Saturday and stay until the following Saturday or Sunday. (For a more comprehensive schedule, see the Information Guide provided to admitted students). 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 2015 RBS courses is $1295; however, for certain courses with field trips or lab expenses, tuition is $1395. (If applicable, higher rates are noted on the course description page.) 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, however, 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 rates do 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, located 110 miles south of Washington, DC, and 70 miles northwest of Richmond. The city’s major employers include the University of Virginia, the financial sector, and the tourist industry (Monticello alone gets nearly half a million visitors a year). It is also the county seat of Albemarle County, a prosperous rural area dotted by scenic 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.

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

Air Transportation to Charlottesville

The following information may be of use when 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 Airlines, and US Airways, with direct flights to and from Atlanta, Washington DC/Dulles, Charlotte, Chicago/O'Hare, Philadelphia, and New York/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 variously inconvenient 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.
Richmond International (RIC): Taxis and rental cars (optional at either DCA or IAD, these are the only feasible link between RIC and Charlottesville). 

Taxicab fare from Charlottesville/Albemarle County airport to UVA (the same for up to four passengers) should be between $35–45 each way, plus tip.

Ground Transportation

Trains: Amtrak’s Crescent line (New York to New Orleans) passes north-south through Charlottesville (CVS) daily, as do some trains on the Northeast Regional line (Boston to Lynchburg, via Providence, New Haven, New York, &c.). Another train, the Cardinal, passes through Charlottesville thrice weekly on its way from Chicago to New York’s Penn Station (via Union Station in Washington, DC). Consult Amtrak’s website or call 1-800-USA-RAIL for arrival and departure times. Charlottesville’s Amtrak station is located about a quarter of a mile from 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, the train may indeed be your best option: Infrequent riders are often pleasantly surprised by its convenience and reliability. Ticket fares from New York City, for example, are competitive with airfare, and itineraries don’t always require switching trains. You’ll also save the time and expense involved in getting to and from the airport.

Bus: There are generally at least two Greyhound buses a day from downtown Washington to Charlottesville ($20–30/each way, if purchased online; the trip is usually 3–4 hours, 124 miles). Not all of these routes are direct, however, and 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 thirty miles west of Washington and about eighty 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 thirty-five 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.


Public 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 Avenue). The rate is $2/hour, Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., payable in cash or by check. After 5 p.m. the rate is $1/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, Culbreth Road Parking Garage permits ($14.25 / week) are available through UVA Parking & Transportation (434-924-7231; Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).

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 also a good 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 p.m. and on weekends. 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 have a two-hour limit.

Dormitory Housing

During the summer sessions in Charlottesville, Rare Book School’s on-campus housing is managed by the Conference Services (CS) division of UVA Housing & Residence Life. Admitted students may make reservations directly via an online form, available here. This form has been designed to accommodate most participants' needs; however, if you need to make 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 them 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 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 2015 are:

Brown College, double occupancy: $31 per person per night (air conditioned)
Brown College, single occupancy: $41 per person per night (air conditioned)
The Lawn, single occupancy: $35 per person per night

A linen packet containing sheets, a pillowcase, a light 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 Information Guide (distributed to admitted students only).


There are several chain hotels within relatively easy walking distance of Central Grounds; RBS usually sets aside discounted room blocks at three of these: Courtyard Marriott (434-977-1700, ext. 3; $155/night, Sunday through Thursday; up to $209/night on Friday), Hampton Inn & Suites (434-923-8600; $143/night), and Graduate (formerly Red Roof Inn; 434-295-4333; $99/night). Quoted rates do not include tax (11.3%), and other fees may apply. Availability may also differ by week, so be sure to make your reservations well in advance. (Remember to mention “Rare Book School” to ensure sure that you get the proper rate!)

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 Central Grounds. There are many other hotels and motels throughout Charlottesville, of course, including the usual assortment of national chains, as well as an interesting variety of country inns and bed-and-breakfasts (many of which have been written up in national and regional back roads-and-country-inn guidebooks). Within walking distance, Dinsmore House Inn will usually offer a discounted rate to RBS students. Oakhurst Inn, a new boutique hotel just south of the University, offers a block of rooms at a discounted RBS rate ($950/week for a standard queen room; $1450/week for a queen suite). The South Street Inn is popular for visitors preferring to stay downtown, while 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 University of Indiana's Lilly Library); New Haven (at Yale University Libraries), New York City (at the Morgan Library & Museum, the Grolier Club, and the New York Public Library), 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, the Freer/Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution, and the Library of Congress). When estimating costs to attend RBS at one of these locations, your best bet is to visit 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—and 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).


The Lilly Library, located on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington, hosts Joel Silver’s course L-45: Reference Sources for Researching Printed Americana.

Getting to Indiana University by air really means flying into Indianapolis International Airport (IND), then taking ground transportation fifty miles south to Bloomington. (If you book a flight to the “Bloomington Airport” (BMI), you’ll end up in Bloomington, Illinois, two hundred miles to the west!) Most of the airport-to-campus shuttles charge about $20 for a one-way trip, with tickets available online or at kiosks located within IND.

A small number of discounted rooms have been set aside for students at two hotels located near the Library: the Indiana Memorial Union - Biddle Hotel and Conference Center (800-209-8145) at $105 per night (weekday)/$125 per night (weekend), plus tax, and the Grant Street Inn (1-800-328-4350) at $129 per night, plus tax (includes breakfast). These rooms have been set aside for the period of Sunday, 10 May, through Saturday, 16 May 2015. Students should contact either hotel directly to make their own reservations and payment arrangements. (Don’t forget to mention “Rare Book School” to ensure the discounted rate.) Because Indiana University Commencement activities are scheduled for 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 traditionally books a number of rooms in Yale University dormitories. These are by far the cheapest and closest accommodations, though probably also the most spartan. Most rooms are in older buildings without air conditioning, but the university has recently constructed a new dorm which offers apartment-style, climate-controlled housing: a two-room suite (1 person/bedroom) includes a kitchenette, common area, more fully furnished bedrooms, and air conditioning. Those staying in dorms will have the opportunity to purchase a meal plan if they wish. There is also a one-time registration fee.

If you would prefer to stay in a hotel, RBS often reserves blocks of rooms at special rates at the Courtyard Marriott and the New Haven Hotel. 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 New York City will be held at the Grolier Club, the Morgan Library & Museum, or the New York Public Library; 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). The Morgan Library & Museum is located at 225 Madison Ave (one-way northbound) between 36th Street (eastbound) and 37th Street (westbound), New York, NY 10016. It 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). The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is located between 40th Street (one-way eastbound) and 42nd Street (two-way), with its main entrance on 5th Avenue (one-way southbound). The library is about a six-minute walk from the Morgan, and is most easily accessible by the B, D, F, M (42 Street/Bryant Park stop) or 7 (5th Avenue stop) trains. For general maps, subway maps, and an interactive map/trip planner, see the Metropolitan Transportation Authority website.

While New York City is well served by its two metropolitan airports, LaGuardia (LGA) and Kennedy (JFK), you may find fares into Newark (EWR) at a considerable discount—sometimes enough to justify the tedious business of getting across the Hudson and into Midtown Manhattan. CoachUSA offers the Newark Liberty Airport Express shuttle (to Bryant Park, Grand Central, or the Port Authority Bus Terminal) for $16 one-way/$28 round trip. Medallion taxis (painted yellow) charge a flat rate of $52 plus surcharge, tolls, and tip for a trip from JFK to Manhattan; trips from LGA to Manhattan are metered, and you can expect to pay at least $35 plus tip (assuming perfect traffic conditions). For visitors from nearby states, commuter trains may offer the most convenient access to the city, with neither the hassle nor the expense of parking.

Unfortunately, there are no genuinely cheap hotels in Midtown; that said, the Pod Hotel and the Salisbury Hotel are two good places to begin your search. Many hostels offer both dormitory housing (on the cheap) and 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’s international airport (PHL) is directly connected to UPenn’s campus by the subway’s Airport Line, as well as by the Lady Liberty Shuttle ($10/person), which makes stops in both University City and Center City. If you opt to take the train, 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) lines.

Philadelphia lodging options will depend on the location of your course. Students attending UPenn-based courses have a variety of options, ranging from dormitory housing (with UPenn Conferences Services, 215-898-9319) to conveniently located hotels, some of which offer discounted RBS rates. Private bedrooms with shared baths are available in UPenn dormitories for $46/night (plus tax and a one-time access card fee of $19), but note that sponsorship letters are required for each housing applicant: please contact RBS (rbsprograms@virginia.edu) to request this letter. Discounted room blocks are also available at both Homewood Suites ($159/night plus tax) and the Inn at Penn ($169/night plus tax).

For students staying in Center City, RBS has set aside blocks of discounted rooms at two conveniently located hotels, the Holiday Inn Express Midtown ($134/night plus tax) and Rodeway Inn Center City ($117/night plus tax), both on Walnut Street just a few blocks from the Library Company. Don’t forget to mention “Rare Book School” to ensure the discounted rate, and be advised that each hotel has a deadline for obtaining the RBS rate. Please consider making your reservation as soon as possible.

Washington, DC

The Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery are located at 1050 Independence Avenue SW and at Jefferson Drive and 12th Street, respectively. Both are on the National Mall, just south of the Smithsonian Castle, and across the street from the US Department of Energy and the northern end of the L’Enfant Promenade. The Library of Congress (101 Independence Avenue SE) and the Folger Shakespeare Library (201 East Capitol Street SE) are located across the street (2nd Street SE) from one another, and just to the west of the US Capitol Building.

Three major airports serve the greater Washington, DC, area: Washington Dulles International (IAD), located about thirty miles west of the city; Ronald Reagan National (DCA), just across the Potomac River; and Baltimore/Washington International (BWI), located in Maryland, about thirty miles to the northeast. While DCA is conveniently located for RBS students, it offers fewer flight options compared to the other two airports; on the other hand, getting to the city from IAD or BWI takes extra time, planning, and expense. If you are arriving from a nearby state, Amtrak may offer the most convenient and affordable means of getting to the capital, with the centrally located Union Station only about a fifteen-minute walk from the Library of Congress.

Of the several hotels located within walking distance of the National Mall and Capitol Hill, Hotel Harrington offers some of the lowest rates; that said, the accommodations are very basic, and students should read reviews carefully before making a reservation. If your course meets at the Library of Congress or the Folger, you may want to consider the Capitol Hill Hotel, where RBS sets aside a discounted block of rooms at $177/night. Another option is to stay at Club Quarters, located just northwest of the White House; for advice on how to secure their RBS corporate rate, contact programs staff at rbsprograms@virginia.edu, or call us at 434-924-8851.

Washington, DC, enjoys a world-class Metro system, which may prove helpful in your search for housing. You may well find it less expensive to stay at a 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 Library of Congress and the Folger 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.