The UMW Libraries’ collections consist of 500,000 volumes in the social sciences, humanities, and sciences as well as research materials in a wide variety of formats. The Libraries own nearly 40,000 print and online serials, and some 1,600 maps. In addition, the Libraries have an extensive microform collection consisting of journals, government documents, and research sets. The Libraries have acquired a number of online materials, including over 100,000 electronic book titles. The Libraries currently license about 50 bibliographic databases, which supplement the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) collection of more than 180 databases, many containing the full text of journal articles or reference resources.

  • Simpson Library Collections


    • With several thousand titles, the University’s Audiovisual Collection is comprised of foreign language and classic films, as well as popular titles
    • This collection, created through a Funds for Excellence grant, and is located on the first floor of Simpson Library
    • To search for a specific title within the collection, go to Quest and select the location “DVD Collection” from the side-bar menu after entering the title in the main search box

    Juvenile / Young Adult and Curriculum Materials Collections

    • Juvenile and Young Adult books are selected to support the literacy instruction program of the College of Education and to provide a collection of notable and award-winning juvenile books (Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, etc.).
    • Games and manipulatives to support K-12 instruction in math, science, social studies, and language arts are also included.
    • Both the Juvenile / Young Adult books and the curriculum materials are located on Simpson’s first floor, behind the main stairwell.

    Popular Reading

    • Simpson Library has a leased collection of popular fiction and non-fiction titles including mysteries, romances, science fiction books, and biographies
    • These titles are available for 35-day checkout periods, and can be renewed
    • This collection, located on the first floor of Simpson Library, can be searched in Quest by author or title
    • You may also limit a search to this collection by selecting a Location Filter of “Popular Reading”
  • Special Collections

    Rare Books and Journals

    • Simpson Library’s rare book and journal collection is made up of over 1,500 volumes dating from the 16th century to the present
    • The collection includes many first editions, fine and private press editions, limited editions, and volumes on subjects including history, art and architecture, travel, religion, science, philosophy, and English and American literature
    • All rare books and journals can be located through Quest

    University Archives

    • Simpson Library’s University Archives collects and preserves the history of the University of Mary Washington
    • The Archives serves as the repository for historical materials from all offices, departments, and divisions of the University and also houses all published undergraduate honors papers
    • In addition to written records, photographs, and artifacts, the papers of past presidents and renowned faculty members are also stored in Archives
    • All University Archives materials can be located through library catalog

    Digital Collections

    • Many Special Collections materials have been digitized and are available online
    • These materials include photographs, artifacts, undergraduate honors papers, University publications, and more
    • For more information and online access, view the full list of our digital collections
  • Collection Development and Purchase Requests

    Collection Development Policy

    • UMW Libraries has established written guidelines for the continuing growth, management, and maintenance of the University of Mary Washington’s library collections
    • Our policy is intended to serve as a tool to communicate the Libraries’ collection development procedures to the faculty, administration, students, librarians, and other interested individuals in the University community
    • For more information, read our full Collection Development Policy

    Purchase Requests

    • The UMW Libraries welcome recommendations from current faculty, staff, and students for materials to be purchased for our collections
    • All requests to purchase new library materials will be evaluated according to the terms of the Collection Development Policy
    • Due to budget constraints, the Libraries cannot guarantee that all requested items will be purchased, but all input is appreciated and will be considered
    • To request an item for purchase, please use our Purchase Request Form