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East Asian Library: About the Library and Collections

General Information | Library Collection | Library Photos | Library Location | About Online Catalog

The East Asian Library serves the Washington University community as part of the Washington University Libraries. It supports the teaching and research needs of the WU East Asian Studies Program provided by the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures, and other academic schools and departments. It also supports the Joint Center for East Asian Studies of Washington University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis' academic programs. The Library has three levels of book stacks, a basement, and a reading room with over 100 seats. The reading room is one of the best places to study on campus.

The Washington University Libraries began the regular purchases of major Chinese and Japanese materials in 1963, after a five-year period of sporadic acquisition of miscellaneous materials on modern Chinese history. The East Asian Collection was moved from the Olin Library to the second floor of January Hall, and the East Asian Library was established in 1972.


The East Asian Library has over 160,800 volumes of books and bound serials, including 101,900 volumes in Chinese, 55,600 volumes in Japanese, and 3,300 volumes in Korean, plus 315 CD-ROMs, 3,350 microfiches, and 1,760 reels of microfilm materials, complemented by a broad range of electronic resources. Monograph and serials holdings are consistent with emphases within graduate East Asian studies programs of instruction as well as faculty research interests. The collection is mainly divided into two major geographical areas - China and Japan - and into roughly two time periods -- classical and contemporary. Special strengths are in the fields of languages, literature, history, philosophy, religion, and art history. About 24,000 volumes of back runs of periodicals and other lesser-used materials are shelved in the West Campus Library.

The East Asian Library houses about 800 volumes of rare and special books, manuscripts and other materials in its Special Collections rooms.

Washington University Libraries also has extensive holdings about East Asia in English and other Western languages, which are mainly shelved in the Olin Library.

Electronic Resources

Washington University Libraries subscribes to a number of electronic databases and electronic journals in East Asian studies including: Bibliography of Asian Studies, JSTOR, Project MUSE, China Academic Journals Full-text Database, Century Journals Project Full-text Database, Duxiu Database, Siku Quanshu, Japan Knowledge, Zasshikiji Sakuin Shusei, KISS, DBPia, and E-Korean Studies.

East Asian Library Photos


Library Location

The East Asian Library is located in January Hall (see campus map), on the second floor, just southwest of the Quadrangle, north of the McDonnell Science Building. It can be reached by stairs beginning on the ground level by the University College offices. (about January Hall)

Wheelchair access is provided by elevator from the ground and all succeeding levels to the 3rd floor of Ridgley Hall, then over the bridge to the reading room of the Library, which is adjacent to the stacks.

East Asian Library Floor Maps

Library Online Catalog

Washington University Libraries' "Classic Catalog" and "Primo" are available in the library, in other libraries on campus, and by remote access. (Information about these two search tools: Classic Catalog and Primo.)

Records for Chinese/Japanese/Korean (CJK) materials display in both vernacular and transliterated forms. Here are romanization guides:

The Library uses the Library of Congress classification system, except for some materials acquired prior to 1969, which use the Harvard-Yenching classification system.