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UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

Research Skills for First-Year Seminars (FSEMs)


Thousands of books on shelves in Simpson Library

Simpson Library holds more than 300,000 books, and your UMW NetID and password give you access to more than 400,000 e-books.


To find books, use Quest. Quest is a search tool that searches the UMW Libraries' physical and electronic collections.

  • To find all books, including e-books, search in Quest and then and look for "Material Type" in the left-hand column. Under "Material Type", click Books.
  • To find only physical books, search in Quest and then check the box labeled "Available in the Library."

Locating books on the shelves

When you find a physical book in Quest, write down its 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.
  • 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.)


The main collection of books is shelved in the Stacks on the second and third floors. Other collections include the Reference collection, the DVD collection, and the Juvenile/Young Adult collection, all on the first floor.

Checking out books

Your EagleOne card is your library card. Use it to check out books, DVDs, and other physical items. There is no limit on the number of items you can check out.

Different types of items can be checked out for different periods of time. For details, please see our Borrowing Policies.

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