This page contains all relevant information related to Washington University Libraries’ current operations and response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Unless otherwise noted, the changes listed below are in effect from March 12, 2020, until further notice. We will continue to update these details as necessary.
The University Libraries are committed to adhering to the guidelines set out by the university including masks, physical distancing, self-screening, and other health and safety measures. Please visit the University’s COVID-19 Response website for additional details.
Click a link below to jump to more details:
- Expanded Operations Plans for Fall 2021 – July 30, 2021
- Fall 2021 Course Reserves Details – July 20, 2021
- Transition to Summer Hours & Services May 14 – April 27, 2021
- An Update on Course Reserves for Spring 2021 – November 11, 2020
- Phase 2 Service Details from University Libraries – August 3, 2020
- Libraries Phase 1 Response – May 27, 2020
- Announcement from Washington University Libraries Regarding COVID-19 – March 12, 2020
Buildings and Access
John M. Olin Library and other Danforth Campus libraries are open to those with a valid WashU ID. See the individual library’s location pages for hours and related details.
- Library visitors are responsible for being abreast of and adhering to the university’s visitor guidance and protocols, available on the WashU Together: COVID-19 Response, including self-screening with the visitor screening tool.
- The John M. Olin Library will require a card swipe with a valid WashU ID for entrance during operational hours after 6 PM, Monday-Friday, and during all open hours on weekends. All users without a valid WashU ID are expected to leave Olin Library at 6 PM, Monday-Friday; users without a valid WashU ID will not be able to visit Olin Library during weekend hours. Users should have their WashU ID with them at all times; for safety and security reasons, library staff may request to see a library user’s identification.
- Visitors to Special Collections must be pre-approved with an appointment.
- Library visitors can obtain temporary credentials by presenting a photo ID at the nearest Library Help Desk. Temporary credentials do not provide access to remote subscription databases. These credentials are good for 30 days. Temporary credentials are not renewable but new credentials can be requested as needed.
- Printing is available on Level 1 of Olin Library at public computers and Whispers Café, although printing will not be available on other floors.
- Use of carrels at Olin Library for faculty, graduate students, and students needing a carrel through disability services will resume, although no new carrels will be assigned.
- The Julian Edison Department of Special Collections is open on a limited basis to researchers by appointment and will offer virtual instruction.
- Patrons can use the microfilm reader on a first-come, first served basis in Olin Library to view film or fiche borrowed on Interlibrary Loan or housed in Olin.
- See the website for the Bernard Becker Medical Library for the latest hours and operations information.
Libraries’ Expectations of Users due to COVID-19 Operations
We expect Library users to adhere to University and Libraries COVID-19 requirements at all times, including and not limited to the following points. Additional University policies and details are available on the WashU Together: COVID-19 Response Web page; these policies may evolve during the fall semester.
- Library access & visitors – Visitors are responsible for being abreast of and adhering to the university’s visitor guidance and protocols, available on the WashU Together: COVID-19 Response, including self-screening with the visitor screening tool. Visitors to Special Collections must be pre-approved with an appointment.
The John M. Olin Library will require a card swipe with a valid WashU ID for entrance during operational hours after 6 PM, Monday-Friday, and during all open hours on weekends. All users without a valid WashU ID are expected to leave Olin Library at 6 PM, Monday-Friday; users without a valid WashU ID will not be able to visit Olin Library during weekend hours. Users should have their WashU ID with them at all times; for safety and security reasons, library staff may request to see a library user’s identification.
- Self-screening – All library users and pre-approved visitors are required to complete the University’s daily self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the Libraries. Individuals may be asked to show their screening results to library staff. Users found not to have a successfully passed screening result for that day will be asked to leave/step outside the Libraries and return only when they have a successfully passed screening result.
- Masking – Masking is required in all areas inside all University Libraries locations unless actively eating or drinking (where permitted), including and not limited to: lobbies and vestibules; open spaces and walkways; all study spaces including study and reading rooms; book stacks; instruction rooms; computing areas; and multi-stall restrooms.
Users are expected to have their own mask(s). The Libraries do not provide masks for users. Users found not in possession of a mask will be asked to leave the Libraries and return only when wearing a mask.
- Eating & drinking – Eating and drinking are permitted only in some Olin Library spaces according to Olin Library’s Food and Drink guidelines. Eating is not permitted in other Libraries; covered drinks are allowed.
Users can remove their mask(s) when actively eating or drinking where permitted, allowing for personal space as much as possible
- Physical distancing – Physical distancing is not required, except for allowing for personal space as much as possible when actively eating or drinking where permitted.
Curbside Pickup ended August 5, 2021; in-person pickup and browsing of materials on the John M. Olin Library hold shelves and stacks is now available for students, faculty, and staff with a valid WashU ID. Visitors must be pre-approved with an appointment with Special Collections or another Libraries department. Users should have their WashU ID with them at all times.
Visit our Remote Resources and Guidance page for details about how to access services and additional digital content available during this time.
Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and MOBIUS
- Patrons can place holds and pick up physical materials in person from Olin Library through Interlibrary Loan and MOBIUS; holds and pick up will be available at most other Danforth Campus locations starting August 16.
- We will supply PDFs from the Libraries’ electronic and print collections. We will also obtain PDFs of articles and book chapters from other libraries, although these may be slow to arrive or have a higher cancellation rate.
- ILL is only available to current WashU students, faculty, and staff.
- Becker Medical Library and the Law Library operate separate ILL services.
Materials and Services
- Course reserves: Print course reserves have resumed and electronic reserves will remain available; see Course Reserves for information
- Special collections: Virtual instruction and research appointments are available
- Microfilm: The the microfilm reader is available for first-come, first served basis to view film or fische borrowed on Interlibrary Loan or housed in Olin
- Technology loans: Technology lending has been suspended
- Campus box delivery: Campus box delivery has been suspended
- Poster printing: Poster print services have been suspended
- Book drops: Book drops at the John M. Olin Library and distributed libraries (art, music, and business) are open. We also recommend that patrons utilize our drive-up return bins at Throop Drive, the South 40 on Shepley Drive, or the West Campus Library at 7425 Forsyth Blvd. Download a map of these drive-up book drop locations.
- Returning books by mail: If you will not be returning to campus, please ship materials to:
Olin Library Circulation
Washington University in St. Louis
1 Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130
Instruction and Consultations
- Subject Librarians are available for remote consultations with faculty and students via phone, email, or online (e.g. Zoom), In-person meetings are available on a limited basis
- Limited in-person instruction is available with virtual instruction continuing; to learn more about remote, virtual instruction, please visit the Instruction and Information Literacy Program page
- Data Services staff are available in-person and via Zoom during Help Desk hours and by appointment
- Curators in the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections are available to assist Washington University faculty, staff, and students with obtaining virtual access to materials for research and instruction
- COVID-19 Resource Guide: The Washington University Libraries have created this resource guide to help you find information you can trust about the virus, how it spreads, and how to protect yourself.
- Expanded Content Access during COVID-19
- Rights Issues for Shifting Courses Online