Olin Library Transformation — FAQs

More space for collections. More seating and study space, with ample access to power outlets. An expanded and improved Whispers Café. A new north entrance for seamless access to the John M. Olin Library. All of this is included in the ambitious renovation of the Olin Library.

A rendering of Risa’s Landing, balcony seating in the Newman Tower of Collections and Exploration

A rendering of Risa’s Landing, balcony seating in the Newman Tower of Collections and Exploration


Some disruptions will occur during the construction. Please review the frequently asked questions for more information on the project.

When will the Olin Library Transformation project begin, and when is it scheduled to be completed?

Construction began May 23, 2016, with new spaces slated to open in time for the spring 2018 semester.

Will the entrance to the library change?

The south entrance will be open until mid-fall 2017. At that time the new north entrance is expected to be open and operational, and the existing south entrance will close for renovation. When the south entrance is complete in spring semester 2018, both the north and south entrances will be open.

When will Whispers Café open?

Whispers Café will be open in the spring 2018 semester.

Will it be noisy in Olin Library?

Yes, expect noise, especially between the hours of about 6 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday. Exceptions may occur, including Friday work at times. Earplugs are available at the Help Desk.

Are there quiet places where I can study?

Take the opportunity to visit one of the departmental libraries on the Danforth Campus.

Where are the newspaper and university publication racks that were in Whispers before construction began?

All of the racks are currently located just inside the entrance of Olin Library.

Will the bike racks be affected?

The bike rack near the south entrance will be inaccessible during construction, but the rack on the west side of the library will be available.

How much dirt has been excavated from underneath Whispers?

Approximately 1,100 truckloads of dirt will be removed. The dirt is going to an off-campus project, the Kingshighway/Forest Park Parkway interchange, to be used as fill.

What food is available at Olin Library now that Whispers is closed for renovation?

There are five vending machines in the Olin Library Ginkgo Room on Level 1. They accept university ID cards, cash, and coins. They will include hot coffee and other hot beverages; cold soft drinks; milk and juices; granola and energy bars; chips and pretzels; candy; and a variety of other snacks.

Will microwave ovens be available in Olin Library while Whispers is closed?

Microwaves and toaster ovens will not be available in Olin Library during the project. When Olin isn’t under renovation, microwaves and toaster ovens are confined to Whispers. This helps control food odors within the library, and some users are sensitive to odors.  None of the items in the Ginkgo Room vending machines will need to be microwaved or toasted to be consumed.

Where can I eat in Olin?

Please keep food on Level 1. Covered beverages may be taken anywhere in the building.

Will the stacks and/or faculty carrels be moved or changed?

The stacks and faculty carrels will not be moved or changed, though users will experience noise and disruption at times. Due to construction, there may be very brief periods during which small portions of the stacks and individual faculty carrels are temporarily inaccessible. Should you have trouble accessing anything, please ask at the Help Desk or contact Sarah Laaker at slaaker@wustl.edu.

Will the George Washington statue in front of the library move to a new location?

The statue will remain in its current location and be protected throughout construction.