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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:

  • Non-UMW students may visit Simpson Library by appointment only. To make an appointment, fill out this form, or call 540-654-1059.
  • The library's hours have been reduced. Our current operating schedule is on our homepage. Appointments for non-UMW students are not available on Saturdays or Sundays.
  • Only one guest computer is available. We encourage visitors to bring their own devices and access our databases via our Wi-Fi.
  • We are not currently hosting field trips for groups of high school students.
  • We are not currently offering library cards to high school students. Patrons who are 18 or older may sign up for a guest patron card, for a $25 yearly fee. Guest patrons cards let you check books out, but do not let you access UMW databases remotely.


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.
Quest Logo
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

If your class visits Simpson Library on a school-sponsored field trip, 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