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High school research at UMW

A guide to Simpson Library for high school students


Thousands of books on shelves in Simpson Library

Simpson Library has more than 300,000 books in print, and more than 400,000 e-books.


To find books, use the library search box. On the search results page, limit your search to "Books" or "Electronic books."

Locating books on the shelves

When you find a physical book in the library search results, write down the book's call number, and then go to the shelves.

Books are shelved according to the Library of Congress Classification System. In this system, the library is divided into twenty-one broad subject areas, each of which is assigned one letter of the alphabet.

To use call numbers, read them from the top down.

A label on the spine of a book, displaying the call number PR 8875 .P46 1999

For example, here's how you'd find this book:

  • First, follow the alphabet to the PR section of the library, which is part of the larger P section.
  • Next, within the PR section, look in numerical order for 8875.
  • Next, within the books numbered 8875, look in alphabetical and numerical order for .P46.
  • (1999 is the year the book was published.)

Checking out books

High school students who are visiting Simpson Library on field trips may check out library books on a Guest Patron card if their teacher has prearranged it.

  • Up to five books at a time may be checked out.
  • The loan period is 35 days. Books may be renewed up to three times. To renew a book, login to your online account, using the password that came with your library card. Or, call the Circulation Desk at 540-654-1125, or send an email to Our staff can renew books for you.
  • Guest patrons may not check out DVDs, microforms, current periodicals, reserve materials, electronic equipment, or reference books.
  • Guest patron cards do not grant access to Simpson's library databases.

For complete information about Guest Patron cards, see this page.

If you don't want to get a Guest Patron card, you still have several options for using Simpson's library books:

  • Scanning/photocopying. The library has book scanners and photocopiers. Scanning is free. Photocopies are 10 cents per page (cash only).

A large book scanner, controlled by a touchscreen