About the East Asian Library & Collections

The East Asian Library serves the Washington University community as part of the Washington University Libraries. It supports the teaching, study, and research needs of the WU East Asian Studies Program provided by the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures, and other academic departments, schools, and programs.

Library staff and collections also support the Joint Center for East Asian Studies of Washington University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ academic programs. The Library has three levels of book stacks, a basement, and a reading room with over 100 seats. The reading room is one of the best places to study on campus. The Washington University Libraries began the regular purchases of major Chinese and Japanese materials in 1963. These materials were originally housed in the Olin Library. East Asian Library was established in 1972, when the East Asian Collection was relocated to the second floor of January Hall.

The East Asian Library has over 165,670 volumes of books and bound serials, including 104,687 volumes in Chinese, 57,020 volumes in Japanese, and 3,963 volumes in Korean, plus 410 CD-ROMs, 3,350 microfiches, and 1,760 reels of microfilm materials, complemented by a broad range of electronic resources. Monograph and serials holdings are consistent with emphases within graduate East Asian studies programs of instruction as well as faculty research interests. The collection is mainly divided into two major geographical areas – China and Japan – and into roughly two time periods — classical and contemporary. Special strengths are in the fields of languages, literature, history, philosophy, religion, and art history. The Library began to acquire Korean studies materials in 2004. Currently about 24,000 volumes of back runs of periodicals and other lower-use materials are shelved in the West Campus Library.

The East Asian Library houses about 800 volumes of rare and special books, manuscripts and other materials in its Special Collections rooms.

Washington University Libraries also has extensive holdings about East Asia in English and other Western languages, which are mainly shelved in the Olin Library.

Washington University Libraries subscribes to a number of electronic databases and electronic journals in East Asian studies including: Bibliography of Asian Studies, JSTOR, Project MUSE, China Academic Journals Full-text Database, Century Journals Project Full-text Database, Duxiu Database, Shenbao Digital Archive, Taiwan Electronic Periodical Service Database, Siku Quanshu, Zhongguo fang zhi ku, Japan Knowledge, Zasshikiji Sakuin Shusei, Nikkei Telecom 21, Yomidas Rekishikan, Tonga Ilbo Archive, KISS and DBPia.
* Some areas of the East Asian Library will not be available to users while the January Hall renovation project is being wrapped up. Please follow signs and directions from the library staff.

The East Asian Library is located in January Hall (see campus map), on the second floor, just southwest of the Quadrangle, north of the McDonnell Science Building. It can be reached by stairs beginning on the ground level by the University College offices. More about January Hall.

Wheelchair access is provided by elevator from the ground and all succeeding levels to the 3rd floor of Ridgley Hall, then over the bridge to the reading room of the Library, which is adjacent to the stacks. [Effective September 4, 2018, January Hall 2nd floor is accessible using the elevator inside January Hall. Please see the Danforth Campus accessibility map (look for January Hall)].

East Asian Library Floor Maps

Two online catalogs are available: Classic Catalog and Primo. (Information about these two search tools: Classic Catalog and Primo.)

Records for Chinese/Japanese/Korean (CJK) materials display in both vernacular and transliterated forms. Here are romanization guides:

Pinyin System for Chinese
Modified Hepburn System for Japanese
McCune-Reischauer System for Korean

The Library uses the Library of Congress classification system, except for some materials acquired prior to 1969, which use the Harvard-Yenching classification system.