John M. Olin Library (Main)

The John M. Olin Library is the central library of the Washington University Library System housing general-interest materials and collections in the humanities, social sciences, and engineering. You may search library collections in the Classic Catalog or Primo. Olin Library is also the location of many general services for the Washington University Libraries.

Olin Library
One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1061
St. Louis, MO 63130
Phone: 314-935-5420

Directions, Maps, & Parking Details

Unit/Service Phone Email address
Administration (314) 935-5400
Digital Library Services (314) 935-8329
Help Desk: Circulation (314) 935-5420
Help Desk:
Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery
(314) 935-5442
Help Desk: Reference (314) 935-5410
Help Desk: Reserves (314) 935-5451
Special Collections (314) 935-5495
For the comfort and safety of library users and the security of the building and collections, please observe these guidelines when using Olin Library.

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

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.

Balloons: No balloons are allowed in the library.

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.

Faculty studies are available to Danforth Campus faculty on a first-come first-served basis. Faculty members may request a study by emailing the Head of Access. Graduate Student Lockers are assigned to graduate students on a first-come first-served basis. Obtain a Graduate Student Locker at the Check-out Desk (Level 1). Day lockers are also available on Levels B, A, 2, and 3; keys are available at the Check-Out Desk. Policy on the use of studies and lockers.
Computers are available on all Levels in Olin. Please see this page for more information: Computing and Printing.
There is an automated door at the north and south entrances to the Library. An elevator is located on each floor. Please see People with Disabilities  under Visitors and Other Users for more information.
Olin Library has thousands of DVDs. Here’s how to find them.
To see what’s on display, or to request a space for your own exhibit, please see Exhibits in Olin Library.
Please refrain from bringing food into the library. Beverages in covered containers and cans are permissible, as these containers are less likely to spill.
There are five group study rooms on Level 2 along the east side. These rooms are for groups of three or more people. Individual users will be asked to leave if a group wants to use the room. These 5 rooms are also available to be reserved. Reserve a Group Study Room

Graduate study rooms are located on Levels B, A, 2, and 3. Faculty studies are located on the west side of Level 2.

Lost items are kept at the Check-out Desk on Level 1. WU Police pick up the lost items once per day, Monday – Saturday, and transfer them to the WUPD lost & found, which is the central location for those seeking lost items on Danforth Campus. Valuable items such as mobile devices, laptops, and wallets that are not claimed at the Help Desk within 2 hours will be sent to WUPD’s lost & found. For more information, please see WUPD’s Lost and Found.

Microform Scanners & Collections
Location: Level B of Olin Library
There is one ViewScan II and two ViewScan III state-of-the-art microform scanners located on Level B of the Olin Library.

How to Find Microforms
  1. Determine if you are looking for a microfilm, microfiche, or microcard by checking the WU Libraries Catalog.
  2. While looking at the item’s catalog record, make a note of the item’s primary (first) entry in the record. This is most likely the author or title. Also check to see if it is part of a series.
  3. Use the chart below to best determine where your item is located within the collection.
  4. Use signs at the end of each shelf to determine the aisle in which the title is located.
  5. Visit the Interlibrary Loan office around the corner from the scanners for assistance during the hours 8:30-5:00, Monday-Friday. Visit the Help Desk on the first floor for assistance in the evening or on the weekend.
  • Individual titles are often filed under the author’s last name
  • Journals, magazines, and newspapers are filed by title (e.g. New York Times or Time magazine)
  • Items which are part of a series are filed by series title (e.g. STC or Wing reels fall under Early English Books).
Type of microform Description How it is Shelved
Microfiche Approximately 3″x4″ transparent pieces of plastic printed with very small images of documents. Government documents are often printed on fiche. Most fiche are filed alphabetically, by primary entry in the online catalog. Government documents are by the federal government’s classification, or SuDoc, number.
Microcard Opaque cards of various sizes that are printed with very small images of documents. Microcards are filed alphabetically, by primary entry in the online catalog.
Microfilm Approximately 35mm wide rolls of transparent plastic printed with very small images. Microfilm is filed alphabetically, by primary entry in the online catalog.

Students, faculty, and staff who have computers or other devices with wireless capability can access the wireless network on all levels of Olin Library. 
Direct phone lines to the Help Desk are near the restrooms on Levels B, A, 2, & 3.

Courtesy/campus phones may be found in the basement of the Women’s Building; east entrance of Mallinckrodt Center, across from the Bakery; and the south door of Eads on the 1st floor. These phones can be used to make campus and local calls. Dial ‘9’ plus the number for an off-campus call.

Please use your cell phone only in the staircase landing area on each floor. In other areas of Olin, cell phone ringers should be turned off in order to minimize noise and distractions for library users.

Curious about the scripts displayed on the Olin Library plaza? We’ve created a PDF guide about them.
The Libraries provide printing and scanning services to members of the Washington University community (students, faculty, and staff) using color, multi-function printers located throughout the Libraries. These devices provide print and copy services at the same price. Printing is available from all PCs in the Libraries and from personally owned computers with the proper drivers installed.

Printing/Copying Costs
Print and copy charges will be:

  • Black & white, single sided — $0.04 per image
  • Black & white, two-sided* — $0.06 per sheet ($.03 per image**)
  • Color, single sided — $0.25 per image
  • Color, two-sided — $0.40 per sheet ($0.20 per image)

*Default print and copy settings are set to black & white, two-sided. Users may choose other options as desired.
**An image is all printing on one side of a sheet of paper.

Check your PaperCut Account Balance 

Printing From Library Computers
Computers in the Library have one print queue installed which allows users to print to library multi-function printers. Libraries The default print queue is “\\\wulib-print”. This queue can be used to print to any multi-function printer in the Libraries. This queue is set to print black & white, two-sided. Users can change printer properties to print single-sided or to print color, either single-sided or two-sided.

Printing From Personally-owned Computers in the Libraries
Printing from personally-owned computers in the Libraries is available provided you have installed the proper software which is available on the STS web site.

Please report problems with the printers to the Helpdesk on Level 1.

Graduate study rooms are located on Levels B, A, 2, and 3. Quiet study rooms for undergraduates are located on Levels B, A, 2, and 3. Faculty studies are located on the west side of Level 2. Please see these floor maps for the locations. Please note that A30 (grads) and A34 (undergrads) have been designated ‘keyboard-free’ rooms – no laptop or other keyboard devices are allowed, to enhance quiet study.
A portable DVD player can be checked out at the Help Desk. For viewing of Blu-Rays and VHS tapes, use the media station located on Level B near the microform machines. Videos and DVDs also can be viewed in Special Collections. Some departmental libraries also maintain video equipment.
Whispers Café has reopened. For information and hours, visit Dining Services.