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UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

Using the Library During the COVID-19 Pandemic

UMW Libraries COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Availability of Services

Public Health and Safety Guidelines

Enhanced Hygiene and Cleaning Practices

Availability of Services

Is the library open?

***Please check the Library Hours and Directions page for up-to-date, accurate hours.***

  • During the Summer 2021 semester, Simpson Library will be open the following hours:

    • Monday – Thursday, 8am – 5pm
    • Friday, CLOSED
    • Saturday, CLOSED
    • Sunday, CLOSED
  • Due to university-observed holidays, Simpson Library will be closed on:

    • Monday 5/10 (Employee Appreciation Day)
    • Monday 5/31 (Memorial Day)
    • Monday 7/5 (Independence Day obs.)

During the summer, all library visitors are welcome to visit on a walk-in basis. Appointments are no longer required.

  • Please note that the hours are subject to change.
  • All services will be provided from the Main Service Desk.
  • Special Collections and University Archives and the Digital Archiving Lab are open by appointment only, and also continue to offer remote services. Contact for an appointment or to request assistance


Can I get help from a reference librarian?

  • Yes! During the summer, reference librarians offer remote research assistance Monday - Thursday.

  • You can email a librarian at You can also schedule a remote consultation with a reference librarian for help with research or citing sources. Find your subject librarian on this list and make an appointment, or email and we'll forward your request to the appropriate person.


Will I be able to reserve a study room?

  • Study rooms are closed until further notice and will not be available for reservation.
  • Please note that a number of other empty classroom and meeting spaces across campus are now available for express scheduling in 25Live. You can reserve these spaces up to 14 days in advance for up to two hours at a time, and MMDC rules must be observed while in the space. To schedule a space, visit 25Live.


I need a space to attend my class online. May I use the library?

  • You may! However, since study rooms are closed and we can't assure complete privacy, we recommend the use of headphones, or a headset with a mic, to minimize the noise. Please also be sure to keep appropriate distance at all times between other library visitors.
  • Please note that the third floor is still the quietest floor of the library. If you plan to speak during your online class, we recommend finding a place on the first or second floor.


Can I use a public computer, printer, or scanner?

  • The printers and copiers will still be available, and we will have two scanners for public use. Computers will still be available for use as well; however, in order to maintain safe social distance, we've reduced the number of public computers to about 25.


Will I still be able to check out books?

  • Absolutely! We will have staff at the desk during all open hours to help you check out books, and we also continue to offer our no-contact pickup service.
  • To request an item for pickup, find the item in Quest (the UMW Libraries catalog), log into your library account, and click "Request." The item will be pulled from the shelves and held at the main service desk. You will receive an email notification when it is ready to be picked up.
  • If you wish to use the no-contact pickup service, once you have placed your request(s), contact Simpson library by email at or by phone (540-654-1059) to arrange a pickup time. In addition to scheduling a date and time for pickup, library staff will also give you information about parking and what to do once you arrive to pick up your materials.


How do I access my course materials on reserve?

  • Our staff has been busy scanning as much of the course reserves as possible so we can deliver these materials electronically. Your professor may also have a Library Reading List in your course Canvas page where you can electronically access reserves.
  • Physical reserves will be closed. Please contact Olivia Vander Bleek, Reserves Supervisor, or email with any questions.


Can I request items through ILL?


Can I still access the remote library services that were available last spring?

  • Not only can you still access all the online resources and services from before, but the library has been working hard to expand what's available with more resources and video tutorials. Check out our online guide for more information.


I'm not affiliated with UMW but would like to use the library as a guest. Is the library open to me?

  • Yes! During Summer 2021, anyone (including those unaffiliated with UMW) may visit Simpson Library on a walk-in basis. Appointments are no longer required.
  • All visitors must wear masks and observe all posted safety procedures.
  • To promote social distancing, only one guest computer is available. There is a 60-minute limit on the guest computer and you will be logged off automatically once time expires. If no one is waiting for the computer at the end of your session, you may be logged in for a second 60-minute session. Each visitor will only be permitted two logins per day.
  • Staff members are also maintaining distance, and therefore cannot provide research or technical assistance.
  • Please bring your own headphones if you plan to use computer audio.
  • Please note that guest computer access is first come, first served.



Public Health and Safety Guidelines

Do I have to wear a mask?

  • Yes. UMW's COVID-19 Face Coverings/Masks Policy requires wearing a face covering while inside a University facility or on any University property when in the presence of others.


What does social distancing look like in the library?

  • You'll see that some tables and chairs are gone to encourage at least 6’ of space between visitors.
  • Please observe all floor markers to help keep appropriate distance while waiting for desk service, water fountains, or printer use.
  • A plexiglass barrier at the service desk helps keep all of us safe.
  • Only one person is allowed in an elevator at a time.


Can I bring food into the library?

  • Food is prohibited in the library at this time. Beverages are allowed.


Enhanced Hygiene and Cleaning Practices

Will hand sanitizer be available?

  • Definitely! All around the library, you'll see new touchless dispensers for hand sanitizer. These are positioned in the highest traffic areas: near stairwells, doors, and public service points.


What increased cleaning measures are in place?

  • Housekeeping is doing additional disinfecting throughout the day at high touch points, but we all need to do our part to make sure the library stays clean!
  • Disinfecting wipes are available throughout the library; please use them to wipe down your area before you leave. For keyboards and other electronics, wring out the wipe to remove excess liquid first, then wipe the equipment.
    • Do not use the wipes on touch screens, please! Hand sanitizer is available for you to clean your hands after touching shared screens.


Are circulating materials safe to handle?

  • We are quarantining materials for 72 hours before returning them to circulation.