The Washington University Libraries are a powerful network of academic resources featuring 12 libraries (10 on the Danforth Campus, one at West Campus, one at the Medical School); vast print and electronic collections; and expert librarians whose first priority is helping students and faculty find the information they need.
The center of this rich network is John M. Olin Library, a 197,000-square-foot research library housing humanities, social sciences, engineering, and special collections; a technology center (the Arc); a dual-purpose café and extended-hours study space; reading rooms; lounges; and small-group studies. The other libraries house collections serving specific departments or schools. See the Library Guide for more information.
The Libraries inspire creative exploration, cultivate intellectual growth, and enrich our community’s scholarly pursuits.
5 Strategic Directions
- Retain, recruit, and develop an expert, passionate, and diverse staff.
- Leverage innovative technology and collaborative partnerships to advance exceptional scholarship.
- Facilitate seamless access to robust and distinctive collections.
- Create a flexible learning environment through adaptable spaces and customizable instruction.
- Be a premier research library.
Newer library facilities include the Kenneth and Nancy Kranzberg Art & Architecture Library, which opened in 2006 and serves art, architecture, art history, and archaeology. The Ronald Rettner Earth & Planetary Sciences Library opened in 2005.
Of particular note among the Libraries’ collections are the Film & Media Archive’s Henry Hampton Collection, an archive of unique materials documenting the civil rights movement and other aspects of American history, the Eames & Young and Russell Sturgis architectural photograph collections, the Modern Literature Collection which is part of the Manuscript Collection, and the Contemporary German Literature Collection. As a government documents depository, the Libraries provide access to federal information in a variety of formats.
The digital library, the online gateway to all digital collections at the University, is administered by the Digital Library Services unit of the Libraries. Digital Library Services (created in 2006) offers support to scholars creating digital projects, and promotes, houses, and preserves these projects.
Students, faculty, and staff can get books from other libraries via MOBIUS, which allows them to request books from more than 60 Missouri libraries and pick them up at whichever WU library they specify, or Interlibrary Loan, which provides materials from libraries around the world.
The Libraries offer instant access to vast online resources. Using our website, students, faculty, and staff can search the catalog, request or renew books, read articles, or search databases. This means that information is available around the clock to persons connecting from home or anywhere in the world.
Laptop users who are students, faculty, or staff of WU can plug into the network in some of the libraries or get wireless access in most of the campus libraries.
The Find it! search engine allows users to search up to ten of the Libraries’ databases at once, rather than one at a time, allowing researchers to quickly get information from a variety of sources.
Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) is available across the University. Supported by the Libraries, geospatial technology allows users to represent information visually on computerized maps. Researchers can create maps with several layers of data and explore the relationships among them. See the GIS Research Guide for more information.
The Libraries host regular exhibitions and talks focused on library holdings as well as lectures by well-known figures like Marian Wright Edelman, Bill Gass, and Murray Weidenbaum.
Off the Shelf, the Libraries’ semi-annual magazine, launched in spring 2006, provides news on library activities and profiles important donors.
A variety of giving programs allow donors to contribute to the collections or to preservation while paying tribute to friends, family, or other loved ones.