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Simpson Library: Library Policies


Library Policies

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General Library Policies and Procedures

Simpson Library is open to members of the University of Mary Washington community and the general public. All people using Simpson Library are expected to behave in a manner consistent with the UMW Statement of Community Values and the UMW Honor System. All users of Simpson Library will adhere to the policies and procedures established by the University and the Library, and to local, state, and federal laws.

Simpson Library is committed to maintaining a safe environment that is conducive to research and study. Simpson Library does not permit any behavior that is disruptive to staff and patrons or that may cause harm to one’s self or to others. Staff members reserve the right to make decisions as to which behaviors are disruptive.

Anyone deemed to be acting in a disruptive manner may be asked to leave. Library staff will contact security and/or campus police if disruptive behavior does not stop, or if a user refuses to leave the premises when requested to do so.

All Library patrons are asked to please be respectful of others using the Library and to choose a location that is appropriate for the type of work they are doing. The first floor of Simpson Library is for computer use, group study, and social interaction. The second floor is for quiet study (noise and conversation should be kept to a minimum, and groups should study in study rooms). The third floor is for silent study (no noise at all, except in study rooms).

Simpson Library users can use their cell phones in the stairwells, but they are asked to refrain from using them at the Circulation and Reference desks.

All Simpson Library computer users agree to abide by applicable University and Library policies, including the Network and Computer Use Policy. One of the primary missions of Simpson Library is to “make available to the University’s students, faculty, and staff materials that support teaching and research.” Although others are welcome to use the Library, staff members must prioritize services and resources. The Library has a limited number of computers, and UMW students, faculty, and staff receive first priority in their use.

UMW Students, Faculty, and Staff:

UMW students, faculty, and staff have designated computers that they may log into using their UMW credentials. These computers are located to the left and right of the center stairwell on the first floor of Simpson Library.

Non-affiliated Users:

Simpson Library also provides computers that non-UMW-affiliated patrons may use. These computers are located along the front wall of Simpson Library, near the Reference Desk. Due to limited availability, these computers may be used for two-hour periods. Non-affiliated users are permitted one 2-hour computer session per day. If a user leaves early before the allotted time has expired, they may not request additional log-ins to “make up” the time.

Guest computers provide Internet access and are intended for research. They may not be used to play games or to engage in other recreational activities, such as watching videos. The computers are solely for persons who need to access the unique resources of an academic library.

Individuals with laptops may log on as “guests” and access the UMW-Guest wireless network. Ask Simpson Library staff if you need assistance connecting to the wireless.

Simpson Library includes several exhibition spaces that are available to the UMW community, including the Convergence Gallery and lobby display cases. Exhibition spaces are available to UMW departments, faculty, staff, and student organizations. In an effort to ensure that exhibitions and displays are of high quality and in accordance with the University’s ASPIRE statement of values, the Library requires a short proposal and review process before installation.

To propose a display, please fill out the form here. The Library will confirm receipt of this form, review the proposal, and respond within 10 business days. If approved, Library staff will work with the exhibitor to determine a time period for installation and duration of the display. The final display should adhere to the approved content of the proposal. The Library can provide some materials such as sign holders, platforms, and paper, but content is otherwise the responsibility of the exhibitor.

Simpson Library cannot be held responsible for any damage of items while on display and the exhibitor assumes all responsibility. The lobby display cases are locked and the building is secured outside operating hours, while the Convergence Gallery is always open and accessible to anyone in the UMW community, including overnight.

Simpson Library is not responsible for personal items left unattended. Please be aware that the Library is open to the general public and personal belongings should be kept within sight at all times. Simpson Library loans laptop locks to UMW students, faculty and staff.

  • Items found in Simpson Library are turned in to the Circulation Desk on the first floor.
  • The following items are sent to the Campus Police Station:
    • Electronic devices
    • Purses / wallets
    • Identification
    • Medication
    • Keys
    • Jewelry
  • To claim found property, visit the Simpson Library Circulation Desk during staffed hours; present a form of identification and identify the item(s) that were lost.
  • Found items (excluding wallets and purses, electronic devices, identification, medication, keys, and jewelery) are stored for 30 days. After this time, unclaimed items may be discarded, donated, or absorbed by the University.
  • Water bottles and food containers may be disposed of rather than stored.

To inquire about missing item(s), call the Simpson Library Circulation Desk at 540-654-1059.

Simpson Library is one of five selective Federal Depository Libraries within the 1st Congressional District of Virginia, served by a regional depository located at the University of Virginia. Simpson Library is also a designated State Depository Library for Virginia publications in the State Publications Depository Program. The Library of Virginia is “the official repository of state publications for the Commonwealth,” cited in §42.1-92 et seq. of the Code of Virginia.

Simpson Library provides free access, regardless of format, to all Federal and State government information products selected for its collection. These formats include but are not limited to: electronic, paper, microfiche, microfilm, CD-ROMs, and disks. Equipment is available to utilize the various formats of government information. Simpson Library makes government information usable for all users, including those with disabilities.

Any member of the general public may use Federal government information products in all formats free of charge without impediments. The general public has access to resources in the collection through the Library’s online catalog, direct browsing of open shelves, and all public service points. These service points include staffed Reference and Circulation desks and public computer workstations. There is a designated computer located near the Reference Desk that meets GPO (U.S. Government Printing Office) Technology Requirements.

For more information, please visit the Library’s Government Resources Guide.

Simpson Library has installed lockers on the first floor for patrons who need a secure, short-term location for storing personal items while using the Library. Locker usage is subject to the following policies and procedures:


  • Locker use is limited to active University of Mary Washington faculty and staff and currently registered UMW students.
  • Per availability, exceptions may be made for public patrons or visiting scholars with a disability or a demonstrated research need.

Rental Policies

  • Lockers are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Lockers may be rented for a 6-hour block of time.
  • Lockers are non-renewable.
  • Locker users will be provided with a locker key at the time of check out. Personal locks may not be used and will be removed.
  • Users must empty, clean, and re-lock lockers prior to returning locker keys.
  • Any unclaimed items will be taken to the UMW Police Lost & Found.
  • Simpson Library is not responsible for any lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  • Simpson Library reserves the right to inspect locker contents if deemed necessary.
  • Simpson Library reserves the right to terminate a locker rental at any time for campus security violations or student misconduct.
  • Perishable or prohibited items may not be stored in lockers.
  • If a locker key is lost, the locker user will be responsible for the cost of re-keying the locker.
  • Locker rentals may not be transferred to another user.

Locker Use Guidelines

  • The following materials MAY NOT be kept inside a Simpson Library locker:
    • Any food items (even in sealed containers)
    • Library materials which have not been checked out to the locker user
    • Dangerous and/or illegal items
  • Valuables stored inside lockers should be kept from plain view.
  • If a locker or lock becomes unusable or breaks for any reason, please report this as soon as possible to the Circulation Desk.
  • Materials may not be kept in lockers overnight.

Room Reservations:

  • Rooms can be reserved online through our calendar booking system.
  • To reserve a study room, log in with your NetID and password.
  • Rooms are available in 1 or 2 hour time slots.
  • Rooms can be reserved only once per day.

Terms and Conditions:

  • Groups of 2 or more have priority, and individuals may be asked to relocate when groups are in need of a collaborative study space.
  • Study Rooms are only available to UMW students, faculty, and staff.
  • If a room is empty, your group may use it on a first-come, first-served basis; rooms will immediately be made available if a reservation is made.


  • Study rooms are not locked and are available from when the Library opens up to 15 minutes before closing time.
  • Study rooms are not soundproof and are located on quiet and silent study floors; please be courteous of others.
  • Study rooms are monitored by Library Staff and Security who are available to assist you.
  • Please dispose of all trash and tidy up the room before vacating it.
  • Simpson Library is not responsible for items left in study rooms.
  • All UMW policies apply to group study rooms.

To preserve and maintain our unique and historic resources, we request that all patrons follow the guidelines below when handling and using materials from Special Collections and University Archives.

Reading Room Rules and Regulations:

  • Bags must be left near the entrance, although laptops are welcome
  • No food or drink is permitted
  • All notes must be taken in pencil
  • The stacks are closed; a staff member will retrieve your requested materials
  • Materials from the collections do not circulate

Materials Usage Guidelines:

  • Wearing gloves is required only when handling materials from our photographic collections, but please wash and dry hands thoroughly before handling any rare materials.
  • Care must be exercised not to exert pressure on records; for example, writing notes on paper placed on top of a record. Make no notations on manuscripts or in books.
  • Do not turn down the corners of pages or use metal paper clips to mark your place in a book. Acid-free paper strips are provided for this purpose.
  • Do not use pens or highlighters near the materials; pencils are provided for use in note-taking.
  • Documents are generally filed in chronological order. Please maintain the order as you view collection materials. Notify a staff member if any papers are misfiled.
  • Please handle materials carefully; many of our collections are quite fragile. Turn pages slowly and carefully and use care when unfolding and re-folding maps and other inserts. Use care with books that are brittle; some bindings cannot be opened completely without damaging the item. Book supports are to be used with materials whenever appropriate.

Thank you for helping us keep our collections safe and in good condition for future users.

Materials in Simpson Library’s Special Collections and University Archives are made publicly available for research, teaching, and private study. Any other uses may require permission from the copyright holder.

The copyright law of the United States governs the creation of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions, libraries and archives may provide reproductions of copyrighted material. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction will not be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship or research.” It is the responsibility of each individual researcher to determine whether they need to obtain permission before using specific materials. The Copyright Advisory Office at Columbia University’s online guide may provide additional information in this matter.

Acquiring copies of materials does not confer the right to recopy, reproduce, publish, or exhibit them without written consent from the Head of Special Collections & University Archives and/or the copyright holder. All reproductions of Special Collections materials must include the citation information provided below. Citation Information

All items from Special Collections & University Archives should be cited as follows:

  • Name of item or collection, Special Collections & University Archives, Simpson Library, University of Mary Washington.

University Archives currently seeks manuscripts, photographs, publications, audiovisual materials, scrapbooks, and memorabilia that document the University’s history, as well as unique materials for our rare books and journals collection. Books and other materials that are accepted into the department become the property of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Gifts of money must be made through the University of Mary Washington Foundation. If you have any items you wish to donate, please contact Interim Head of Special Collections & University Archives, Angie Kemp. Staff will evaluate all items offered and respond accordingly.

Children under the age of 16 may not be left unattended in Simpson Library and must be directly supervised by a responsible adult or caregiver aged 18 years or older. If a child under the age of 16 is found to be unattended in the library, staff will attempt to locate or contact the child’s parent/guardian. If the staff cannot locate a parent/guardian, campus security and/or law enforcement officials will be notified.

Children over the age of 16 may use the library unattended provided that their behavior is not disruptive. Disruptive behavior is any form of behavior that seriously or constantly disturbs patrons or staff; damages library property; interferes with library services; or endangers the well-being of the disruptive child or others. Parents/guardians are responsible for the actions of their children in the library whether or not the parent/guardian is present. Parents/guardians will also be responsible for any damages by their child.

Disruptive children may be asked to leave the library. Parents/guardians will be contacted and campus security and/or law enforcement officials may be notified. If any child is left unattended at the Library at closing time, campus security and/or law enforcement officials will be notified. Library staff reserves the right to approach children for information regarding his/her parent’s/guardian’s availability and to request contact information for the parent/guardian.

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