COVID-19 Information

Image shows a student wearing a mask with a computer studying on a campus lawn.

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.

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Library Announcements

Buildings and Access

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. Visitors are encouraged to complete and pass the visitor self-screening tool.
  • The John M. Olin Library will require a card swipe with a valid WashU ID for entrance during operational hoursafter 8 PM, Sunday-Thursday; no card swipe is required during operational hours on Friday and Saturday. All users without a valid WashU ID are expected to leave Olin Library at 8 PM, Sunday-Thursday, and not to visit Olin Library during the swipe-access-only 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 and is also available near the restrooms on Levels 3, 2, A, and B.
  • 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 site; these policies may evolve over time.

  • 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. Visitors are encouraged to complete and pass the visitor self-screening. 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 8 PM, Sunday-Thursday; no card swipe is required during operational hours on Friday and Saturday. All users without a valid WashU ID are expected to leave Olin Library at 8 PM, Sunday-Thursday, and not to visit Olin Library during the swipe-access-only 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.
  • Masking – Masking is encouraged but not required in all areas inside all University Libraries locations. Users are expected to have their own mask(s). The Libraries do not provide masks for users. 
  • 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.
  • 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

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. 

Remote Resources

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 are available at most other Danforth Campus locations.
  • 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 collectionsVirtual instruction and research appointments are available
  • Microfilm: The the microfilm reader is available for first-come, first served basis to view film or fiche 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

Returns

  • Return locations: Library patrons may return materials to whichever library location is most convenient, including all seven Danforth libraries and the Becker Medical Library.
  • 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
    MSC 1061-141-B 
    Washington University in St. Louis
    1 Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130

Instruction and Consultations

COVID-19 Resources

Contact Us

  • Reach out with questions and concerns via our 24/7 chat service
  • Contact our Help Desk at (314) 935-5420
  • Visit our Ask Us page for additional contact options and details