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UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

High school research at UMW

A guide to the UMW Libraries for high school students


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of Simpson Library's services for high school students have temporarily changed.

The following changes are currently in effect:

  • The library's hours have been reduced. Our current operating schedule is on our homepage.
  • We are not currently hosting field trips for groups of high school students.

High school students are welcome to visit Simpson Library. While in the library, you can access the databases that Simpson Library subscribes to, either by using our guest computers or by connecting your own device to our Wi-Fi.


The logo of the University of Mary Washington

UMW invites high school students to use its libraries to find sources for their research projects.

UMW offers...

  • More than 300,000 books.
  • Approximately 200 databases, containing millions of articles.
  • A selection of trustworthy websites, recommended by librarians.
  • Instructions for citing sources.
  • Help from reference librarians.
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Search articles, books, and more...


UMW has one library, Simpson Library, which is located on the Fredericksburg campus. High school students are welcome at Simpson Library.

Exterior of Simpson Library

Checking out books

We invite AP and IB teachers to provide us with lists of enrolled students in AP or IB classes. Students: if your teacher has given us a list of names, and your name is on the list, you may apply for a Guest Patron card and check out books.

  • Up to five books at a time may be checked out.
  • The loan period is 35 days. Books may be renewed up to three times. To renew a book, call the Simpson Circulation Desk at 540-654-1125, or send an email to Our staff can renew the book for you, or create a password that lets you login to your online account and renew books yourself.
  • Guest patrons may not check out DVDs, microforms, current periodicals, reserve materials, electronic equipment, or reference books.
  • Guest patron cards do not grant access to UMW library databases.
  • Cards issued to high school students expire at the end of the school year.
  • Applicants who are younger than eighteen must provide the name of their school and the name of their teacher, and the teacher must agree to serve as a point of contact.

For complete information about Guest Patron cards, see this page.

If you don't want to get a Guest Patron card, you still have several options for using UMW library books:

  • Scanning/photocopying. The library has book scanners and photocopiers. Scanning is free. Photocopies are 10 cents per page (cash only).

A large book scanner, controlled by a touchscreen