About

Students walking across the quad during fall when the yellow ginkgo leaves are draping the campus lawns.

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; an extended-hours study space; reading rooms; lounges; and small-group studies. The other libraries house collections serving specific departments or schools.

Mission

The Washington University Libraries facilitate the discovery, creation, utilization, preservation, and dissemination of ideas. We are an interactive hub of information resources, expertise, services, and relationships advancing research and learning outcomes for an evolving and diverse university community.

Organizational Principles

Open

We are a welcoming hub that inspires discovery and collaboration to foster creative success and intellectual freedom. We emphasize inclusiveness and accessibility in all our programs, services, and initiatives.

Engaged

We serve as a trusted partner, providing specialized expertise throughout the scholar’s journey. We maintain critical relationships with our stakeholders to develop competencies and services in the Libraries in anticipation of changing and evolving needs.

Transformative

We strive to innovate and adapt to facilitate creative approaches to produce successful academic outcomes. We remove barriers to resources essential to scholarly pursuits.

History

A historical photo of a librarian reshelving books at Ridgley Library circa 1910.

The University’s original library, located in Ridgley Hall, was built in 1907. By 1946, the University Library owned 46,000 volumes and consisted of 14 school and departmental libraries in addition to Ridgley. The larger and modern Olin Library opened in 1962 and was renovated in 2004. In spring 2018, the Olin Library Transformation project created new spaces and resources for learning, research, and teaching.