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UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

Simpson Library Orientation: Reference

Research Help

The library is not just a building full of books! You can go to the library to get help with research, just as you would go to the Writing Center to get help with writing or go to the Speaking Center to get help with speaking.

The quickest way to get help is to talk to the librarians at the Reference desk. The Reference desk is on the first floor of the library, just inside the front door. You can visit the Reference desk in person, call the desk at (540) 654-1148, chat with a librarian online, or email a librarian at The Reference desk is open whenever the library is open (see the library hours).

Here are some examples of questions that the librarians can answer:

  • "Where can I find journal articles about surrealism?"
  • "Where can I find books about game theory?"
  • "Where can I find statistics about pet ownership?"
  • "What does 'peer-reviewed' mean?"
  • "What is a 'primary source'? Where can I find primary sources about the Cuban Missile Crisis?"
  • "How do I cite my sources?"


If you'd like more in-depth assistance with a particular research topic, you can schedule a one-on-one appointment with a librarian. During an appointment, the librarian will examine your research topic and then point you toward sources that you can use, such as books, articles, and more. This is a free service that any UMW student may use.

You can schedule appointments with any of these librarians:

Arts & Humanities

Picture of Jack Bales

Jack Bales

Office: 115 Simpson Library
Telephone: 540-654-1780

Subject specialties:

  • Art and Art History
  • Classics, Philosophy, and Religion
  • English, Linguistics, and Communication
  • Historic Preservation
  • History and American Studies
  • Modern Foreign Languages
  • Theatre and Dance

 Social Sciences

Picture of Elizabeth Heitsch

Elizabeth Heitsch

Office: 111 Simpson Library
Telephone: 540-654-1742

Subject specialties:

  • Business
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Political Science and International Affairs
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology




Rosemary Arneson

Office: 200 Simpson Library
Telephone: 540-654-1147

Subject specialties:

  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Geography
  • Health, Physical Education, and Recreation
  • Mathematics
  • Nursing
  • Physics                                       

First-Year Programs

Picture of Peter Catlin

Peter Catlin

Office: 114 Simpson Library
Telephone: 540-654-2438

Subject specialty:

  • First-Year Seminars