Circulation Services & Policies

These guidelines are designed to promote an atmosphere conducive to study and research and to protect library users and collections.

Food or beverages: Please refrain from bringing food into the library. Beverages in covered containers and cans are permissible, as these containers are less likely to spill.

Noise: Please be respectful of other library users by keeping noise to a minimum.

Cell phones: Please turn off your cell phone ringer while inside the library. If you need to make or receive a call while inside the library, take your call to the staircase landing on any floor, where it will be less distracting to others.

Personal property: Protect your personal property from theft or damage. Do not leave personal property, including laptops, mobile devices, bags, and other articles of value, unattended.

Posters and flyers: Please do not hang, place, or distribute posters and flyers within or outside the building, unless you have obtained authorization from the library Administration office. The Administration office is located on Level 3 and is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Running, skating, and similar activities: Please refrain from these activities. While in the building, carry your skateboard, in-line skates, or collapsible scooter, and do not place these items where they obstruct pathways, corridors, or stairways.

Bicycles and non-collapsible scooters: Refrain from bringing bicycles and non-collapsible scooters into the building.

Stairways: Due to safety and fire regulations, do not linger or sit on staircases.

Smoking: Refrain from smoking or chewing tobacco. These activities are not allowed anywhere on the Washington University campuses.

Pets: With the exception of trained assistance or guide dogs, do not bring animals into the library.

Identification cards: Please bring your ID card with you to the library. For safety reasons, library staff may, from time to time, request to see a library user’s identification. A valid Washington University ID is required to enter the building after 9:00 pm.

Closing time: Prior to closing, an announcement will be made. At that time, please prepare to leave the library while there is still time to check out needed materials.

Washington University students, faculty, staff and courtesy borrowers who have current identification cards may borrow books. A current Washington University I.D. or courtesy card is required for all borrowing transactions.

BJC Residents may receive a courtesy card by presenting their BJC ID badge at the circulation desk at Olin Library.

Visitors may get borrowing privileges after donating to the University Century Club. More information on this program.

Category Loan Period
Undergraduates 28 days
Graduate students 60 days
Faculty 90 days
W.U. staff 28 days
Courtesy Borrowers 21 days
Pop-Lit books 2 weeks (all borrowers)
Videos / DVDs  14 days (all borrowers, limit 30 per person)

Proxy Borrowing

Full-time and emeritus faculty members may designate proxy borrowers. This service is a privilege intended to assist faculty with their library research by granting designated research assistants faculty library privileges when these assistants are performing library transactions for the faculty member. The card is not to be used for the research assistant’s personal research. Eligible faculty members are limited to one designated proxy borrower at a time.

The proxy borrowing card is non-transferable and gives the bearer full faculty borrowing privileges. Faculty members are responsible for all library materials borrowed on the proxy borrowing card. Proxy borrowing cards will be given unique patron numbers which are different from the borrowing numbers of the faculty member or research assistant. All recall and overdue notices and lost book charges will be sent to the faculty member for resolution.

Applications for the proxy borrowing card are available online or from the Circulation Unit of Olin or departmental libraries. The proxy borrowing card will be issued by the Circulation Staff in Olin, only after the application form has been completed. The faculty member may designate the time period for which the proxy borrowing card will be valid. However, the validation period will not be extend beyond August 31st of any given year.

If a proxy borrowing card is lost, the faculty member is responsible for all library materials borrowed on the card until the loss is reported to the Circulation Unit. The borrower member of the lost card will then be blocked to prevent fraudulent use.

For further information regarding the proxy borrowing policy, contact the Supervisor of the Circulation Unit at 314-935-5423; email

Circulation of Periodicals
Periodicals circulate to Washington University faculty and graduate students. Bound periodicals circulate for 3 days. Unbound periodicals (current issues) circulate for 1 day. Graduate students with overdue periodicals will be fined $1.00 per day, with no grace period.

Items that have not been requested by another borrower or reached the renewal limit may be renewed using the My Catalog function on the library system. Patrons may also renew by bringing materials to any library on the Danforth Campus. Telephone renewals are not accepted. If the books have reached their renewal limit or are very overdue, they must be brought to a library to be checked in.

Overdue fines for Olin Library books

Fines for all libraries

General collection materials: 20 cents/day
Nonbook media: $1.00/day
Recalled materials: 40 cents/day
Fines for overdue reserve materials are: 2-Hour, 3-Hour: 60 cents/hour or fraction thereof and 1, 2 & 5-Day: $1.00/day or fraction thereof

A borrower who fails to return a book after the second overdue notice has been sent will be charged for replacement.

A recall is used when someone needs an item that another person has checked out. Unlike a “hold,” which lets the first borrower keep the item until the due date, a recall will sometimes shorten the due date. When a recall is placed on an item you have checked out, you will receive an e-mail notice stating the due date. If the item is checked out, request the item from MOBIUS (when a copy is available) instead of recalling the library’s copy. MOBIUS items arrive sooner than recalled items. Click here to search the MOBIUS catalog. ILLiad is also available to request items not available in our library or in MOBIUS.

Requesting Books to be Paged or Recalled

WU Faculty, Staff, and Students: When you have found the book that you want in the catalog, choose the ‘Request’ button at the top or bottom of the page to request it. You will be asked for your WUSTL Key and password, then choose “Submit.” You will then be prompted to pick the location where you would like to pick up the book and will receive confirmation on whether your request has been accepted.

Eliot, Century Club, and Other Courtesy Borrowers: First create a PIN number in My Catalog. You will then be able to request books directly from the Library Catalog. When you have found the book that you want in the catalog, choose the ‘Request’ button at the top or bottom of the page to request it. You will be asked for the following information: your name, courtesy borrower #, and your PIN. You will then choose “Submit.” You will then be prompted to pick the location where you would like to pick up the book and will then receive confirmation on whether your request has been accepted.

Due Dates for Recalled Items
Every person is guaranteed to have an item until the original due date, unless:

1. The item is needed for course reserves. Items recalled for course reserves are due in 3 days. Only library staff may recall items for course reserves.

2. The item has been renewed or has become overdue. In these cases the items are subject to immediate recall.

3. The item belongs to the Art & Architecture Library or the Law Library. Library users may recall Art & Architecture Library and Law Library items from other users. A recall will shorten the due date. In most cases, users are guaranteed to have Art & Architecture Library and Law Library items for 14 days, unless needed for course reserves.

Other options for getting the items you need: If an item you need is checked out, please consider requesting it through MOBIUS or ILLiad (interlibrary loan) instead of placing a recall for Wash U’s copy. In many cases, you will get the item more quickly by using MOBIUS or ILLiad.

Contact us! If you have problems or questions about recalls or placing requests, contact Olin Circulation at or (314) 935-5420.

Olin Library holds borrowers financially responsible for all library material checked out on their accounts. Borrowers are responsible for notifying the Circulation Unit immediately if library material is lost or stolen. To speak with a member of the Circulation Unit, borrowers may visit the Check-out Desk at Olin Library, call 314-935-5420, or e-mail The Circulation staff will assist borrowers in resolving their accounts or direct questions and concerns to the Circulation Librarian.

Charges for lost and stolen library material are intended to help Olin Library replace the material and make it available for future use. A non-refundable $15.00 processing fee is charged in addition to the replacement cost. Replacement costs vary for Washington University’s material. MOBIUS items have a replacement cost of $100.00 and a $20.00 processing fee.

Payment by the borrower in no way implies transfer of ownership of library property. Unreturned items remain the property of the library. If the borrower finds and returns the material in good condition after paying for the material, the replacement cost will be refunded or credited, but the processing fee will remain.

Library materials kept in lockers and faculty studies must be checked out or the materials will be removed. It is the responsibility of the borrower to check out books at the Check-out Desk and either return or renew them when they are due.

Olin Library provides material storage and study spaces throughout the building for Danforth faculty and students to use.

Day Lockers for one-day use are available to students and faculty on Levels B, A, 2 and 3 near the copier machines. Keys are available at the Check-Out Desk. Day Lockers may not be reserved.

Graduate Student Lockers are available to Danforth faculty and graduate students for a period of one year on a first-come, first-served basis. Graduate Student Lockers are located on Levels B, A, 2 and 3. Keys are available at the Check-Out Desk. Renewals can be arranged on a space-available basis.

Group Study Rooms available for Danforth faculty and graduate students are on Levels B, A, 2, and 3. Faculty and Graduate rooms utilize a card swipe lock and require a Washington University faculty ID card. Undergraduate quiet study rooms are not locked.

Danforth faculty needing space for longer research projects may request one of the assigned faculty studies on Levels B and A. These will be assigned for a period of one year on a first-come, first-served basis. Renewals can be arranged on a space-available basis.

If demand for faculty studies exceeds supply, a waiting list will be maintained. Renewals may be denied to those people who use their assigned space infrequently.

All library material kept in a day locker, lockable bookshelf, or study must be checked out to the person assigned to the space. Library staff will periodically inspect day lockers, lockable bookshelves and studies. Any library material not checked out will be removed and returned to the stacks.

Food or drinks may not be kept in day lockers, lockable bookshelves, or studies.

Trash cans must be placed outside faculty studies to be emptied by the cleaning staff.

Day lockers, lockable bookshelves, and studies were not built to secure personal property and are susceptible to theft. Electronic equipment is particularly vulnerable. For this reason, please do not leave valuables in these spaces.