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Simpson Library: Research & Instruction

Research & Instruction



Special Collections & University Archives staff offers instruction sessions for UMW courses. If you would like to schedule an instruction session on how to locate and use our materials for research, design an assignment using primary source materials, or want to show a particular resource to your students, please contact us at or 540-654-2045.

The Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room can accommodate a maximum class size of 15 students. We often divide larger classes into two sessions, and can also bring materials to the Library’s second-floor classroom for instructional use.

Instruction sessions involving digitization and/or digital collections are also available in the Digital Archiving Lab, room 322 in the Hurley Convergence Center.

Students in the Reading Room

A group of college students stand around a table examining books and papers that appear to be from the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.

Professor McAllister's Birth of the Novel class visits for an instruction session on book history.

Copyright Note

*A Note on Copyright

All researchers are responsible for abiding by United States copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code), which stipulates that a copy is not to be used “for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” Although staff members will assist researchers in gathering the information necessary to clarify applicable copyright provisions, it is the responsibility of the individual to determine whether they may use or reproduce digital copies of material.

Student Researchers

Two students, one seated at a table and one standing next to them, examine archival materials. There are boxes around them on the table that contain more papers.

Two student assistants examine materials from the archives.



Special Collections & University Archives is ready and willing to facilitate your archival research needs. Our collections are unique so they do not circulate, but we're glad to welcome you into our Reading Room where you can take your time viewing the materials you'd like to see. Please visit us during our open hours or schedule an appointment to get started!

For more information on our archival and rare books holdings, please see our Collections page.



Staff members are available to digitize rare books, manuscripts, images, and other materials housed in Special Collections & University Archives to support UMW’s research and instructional needs at no cost. Copyright status and the condition of the material are taken into account when a request is placed and may effect or prohibit digitization in some cases.

Faculty who need non-library materials scanned for research or instruction can bring their original items to the Digital Archiving Lab in the HCC building, where they will be placed in secure and stable storage lockers. In the Lab, library staff can digitize both slides and images/text from books or journals. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether materials may be digitized under copyright law*. Simpson Library is not responsible for any damages that may occur to materials during digitization. Turnaround time for this service varies depending on the amount of material to be scanned.

Community researchers and organizations unaffiliated with UMW requesting digitization should contact Special Collections and University Archives staff for more information.