Library Statistics

Washington University has 12 libraries on three campuses: 10 on the Danforth Campus and one each at the Medical School Campus and West Campus. Here’s the complete list.

The Libraries are a member of the Association of Research Libraries, the Center for Research Libraries, the HathiTrust, the Greater Western Library Alliance, and MOBIUS, among other organizations. See the Welcome to the Libraries page for more information.

2014-2015 Olin (Main)* All Libraries Combined (Includes Medical Library)
Titles held – includes all formats 4,106,379 4,253,864
Volumes held 5,067,113 5,365,825
Electronic books (included in volumes held) 1,711,037 1,735,664
Number of successful full-text article requests (journals) 2,270,020 4,806,389
Number of regular searches (databases) 2,196,126 2,897,199
Number of initial circulations 128,931 134,003
Total number of filled requests provided to other libraries 32,126 41,464
Total number of filled requests received from other libraries or providers 35,442 36,560
Number of reference transactions 56,440 59,689
Number of library presentations to groups 904 984
Number of total participants in group presentations 8,803 9,615
Total Staff FTE 200 240
Professional staff, FTE 79 104
Support staff, FTE 79 94
Student assistants, FTE 43 43
Total Library Expenditures 22,500,281 28,820,746
Total Library Materials Expenditures 11,292,622 15,217,386

*Also includes: Art & Architecture, Business Library, Chemistry, Earth & Planetary Sciences, East Asian, Law, Music, Physics, Social Work, Special Collections, West Campus

For questions, or access to previous years’ data, please contact Carol Mollman, Library Assessment Coordinator at

In November of 2010, over 1900 faculty, students and staff completed the 2010 Library Service Quality Survey, providing valuable quantitative and qualitative feedback. The following chart summarizes the key themes from students and faculty, and provides notes on how the Libraries are responding to these important messages:


What you told us What we’re doing or planning to do
Longer/later library hours are important Beginning with the fall semester of 2012, Olin Library is now open:

  • 24/4 when fall and spring classes are in session
  • 24/7 during reading days and finals

Because of the positive feedback from students, funds were approved to continue providing these longer hours after the trial; we are moving to 24/5 hours in Fall 2013.

An unacceptable number of books are lost, or missing when you need them Cataloging and Access groups worked together to improve coding in the catalog to be more accurate reflection of books available; time for replacement of lost volumes was shortened.
Wi-Fi coverage is inadequate The Libraries worked with the university to upgrade coverage across the libraries in the summer of 2010, and again in 2013.
Faculty and Graduate Students need easier paths to search for known items in the catalog The research box on the Library website main page was redesigned to improve known item searches via the classic catalog.
Article searching is difficult on our website, and requires too many clicks Resource Discovery software platforms which will cover article searching were investigated in the Spring of 2012 and a decision was made to implement the Primo solution from Ex Libris.

Place/Space Use

What you told us What we’re doing or planning to do
Undergraduates asked for more seating in Olin during crunch time of the semester Using the comments from the Service Quality Survey as well as follow-up assessments, the library has made many changes in Olin Library:

  • Periodical shelving on level one was removed in favor of more soft seating.
  • Furniture was juggled and new seating added to Olin
  • Furniture was leased to increase seating during the reading and exam periods

Chemistry Library furniture was upgraded

Students requested more electrical outlets 32 outlets were added on 8 columns in Olin Library.  The design team working on Olin Library has identified access to power as a critical consideration in their planning.
Students need more group study spaces, as well as more quiet study zones. A Space Planning team is working with architects to rethink the layout of study space in Olin, beginning with the entrance level of Olin Library.  Among the team’s goals are to increase the number of group and individual study spaces, and to identify these spaces clearly through signage, design elements, and furnishings.
Bathrooms and desk surfaces need to be cleaner- especially during peak study times Addressed immediately.
The temperature in Olin Library is either too hot or too cold This is a continuing building challenge which will be addressed as renovation occurs.


What you told us What we’re doing or planning to do
Faculty and graduate students voiced concerns over cutbacks in journal subscriptions Subject librarians are working closely with faculty and graduate students to identify journal, book and database subscription needs; Additional funds were requested and approved by the university to help close many of these gaps.

Listening to users is a continuous process; for information on other library assessment activities and outcomes, visit the Assessment Team page at or contact Carol Mollman, Assessment Coordinator,

Every three years the Washington University Libraries administer a formal survey seeking feedback from Danforth Campus faculty and students on the quality of library services. The 2013 survey, which was distributed from October 7-19, 2013, was the fourth run by the library. A sample of the survey questions appears in Appendix 5 of the Library Service Quality Survey 2013 Final Report

Over 2200 faculty and students responded to the 2013 survey, compared to about 1900 in 2010, and 870 in 2007.

In this survey, all customer service indicators remained strong, across all locations. That includes the categories of Competence/Knowledge of Staff; Courtesy; Speed of Service and Quality of Service.   Of the 169 comments about staff, the response was overwhelmingly positive, with praise and appreciation for many individual staff who helped make a difference.

Faculty and students also voiced their concerns directly in over 2,000 comments. Here is a list of the most frequent issues, all of which are now resolved or being addressed by the libraries:

Technology related:

  • Improve the printing process–speed, accessibility.
  • Improve slow logon times–particularly for library computers.
  • Improve cell phone access within the library.
  • Loan iPhone chargers
  • Improve the ease of use for the proxy server

Access services related:

  • Improve stack management so that more books are found on the shelves.
  • Fix the issue with returned books not being checked in, resulting in fines for users they did not incur.
  • Make it easier to browse DVDs

Space related:

  • Add more seating in Olin–both group space and individual quiet study
  • Stay open longer on weekends, summer.