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Simpson Library: Policies

Visiting the Reading Room

Visiting the Reading Room

We welcome visitors to the Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room! Please note the following information regarding our space and collections:

  • Bags must be left near the entrance, although laptops are welcome at the Reading Room table
  • 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 Use and Handling Policy

Materials Use and Handling

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 & University Archives.

  • Wearing gloves is required only when handling materials from our photographic collections, but please wash and dry hands thoroughly before handling any rare materials.
  • Exercise care 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.
  • Use the acid-free paper strips provided to mark your place in a book.
  • 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!

Copyright Policy


Materials in Simpson Library’s Special Collections & 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.

Donations Policy


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 Staff will evaluate all items offered and respond accordingly.