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Olin Library

Maps: Level B Level A Level 1 Level 2 Level 3

The John M. Olin Library is the central library of the Washington University Library System. It houses general-interest materials and collections in the humanities, social sciences, and engineering. It is also the location of many general services for the Washington University Libraries. For more information about the Washington University Libraries, please see this Welcome page.

Listed below are the departments within Olin Library. Please look at the WU Libraries Organization Chart to see how the Libraries are organized.

Unit/Service Phone Email address
Administration (314) 935-5400 libadmin@wumail.wustl.edu
Arc: Library Technology Center (314) 935-4137 arc@wumail.wustl.edu
Digital Library Services (314) 935-8329 digital@wumail.wustl.edu
Help Desk: Circulation (314) 935-5420 circ@wumail.wustl.edu
Help Desk: Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery (314) 935-5442 ill@wumail.wustl.edu
Help Desk: Reference (314) 935-5410 ref@wumail.wustl.edu
Help Desk: Reserve (314) 935-5451 reserve@wumail.wustl.edu
Special Collections (314) 935-5495 spec@wumail.wustl.edu

See below for general info:

Guidelines for Olin Library Users

For the comfort and safety of library users and the security of the building and collections, please observe these guidelines when using Olin Library.

Studies, Lockable Bookshelves, & Day Lockers

Faculty studies are available to Danforth Campus faculty on a first-come first-served basis. Faculty members may request a study by contacting the Head of Access. Lockable bookshelves are assigned to faculty and graduate students on a first-come first-served basis. Obtain a lockable bookshelf 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.

Change Machines

Change machines are located on Level 1, near the entrance. The machines accept $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills and can give you coin change. There is also a machine that can give $1 bills. Circulation cannot make change. However, change is also available at the Bank of America in Mallinckrodt Center; bank hours are 9:30am-5:30pm. For problems with the change machines, please see Circulation staff at the Check-out Desk (Level 1), or call (314) 935-4013, during regular business hours (8:30am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday).


Computers are available on all Levels in Olin. The majority of computers are on Level 1 and in the Arc: Library Technology Center on Level A. Please see this page for more information: Computing and Printing.

Disabled Access

There is an automated door at the entrance to the Library. An elevator is located on each floor. Please see People with Disabilities for more information.


Olin Library has hundreds of DVDs. Here's how to find them.


Several spaces are available in Olin Library to mount exhibits: the lobby cases and the cube in Whispers Café. To see what's on display, or to request a space for your own exhibit, please see Exhibits in Olin Library & Whispers Café.

Food and Drink

Food is not permitted in Olin Library, except in Whispers Café. Covered drinks are allowed in the Library.

Group Study

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

Lost & Found

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 webpage

Microforms Equipment

The Microforms Area (Level A, outside the Arc) offers machines for reading and printing materials kept on microfilm and microfiche. Report equipment problems in the Microforms Area to the Arc staff.

Network Access

Students, faculty, and staff who have computers or other devices with wireless capability can access the wireless network on all levels of Olin Library. Want to know where? Here are some maps.


Direct phone lines to the Help Desk are near the restrooms on Levels B, A, 2, & 3.

There are 4 courtesy/campus phones near the entrance to Whispers, on your right as you enter the library. Dial '9' plus the number for an off-campus call. Courtesy/campus phones may also 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.

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.


Photocopiers in all campus libraries (except perhaps Law and Medical) have been replaced with multi-function units that are printers as well as copiers. Please see Printing & Copying Services for locations, prices, etc. Please report problems to the Check-out Desk on Level 1.

Plaza Scripts

Curious about the scripts displayed on the Olin Library plaza? We've created a PDF guide and a print-quality PDF guide about them.


There are printers for your use connected to the computers in Olin Library and the other campus libraries. Here is some information about using them.

Quiet Study

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 Levels 2 and 3. 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.


Olin Library no longer has typewriters for public use.


Videos and DVDs can be viewed in the Arc on Level A. Some departmental libraries also maintain video equipment.

Whispers Café

Inside the front door of Olin Library is the entrance to the Café, which is open 24 hours/day during the academic year. As well as serving food and drink, there are 15 computers with Internet and email access, Word, the rest of the Microsoft Office suite, and several other applications.

Renovation of Olin Library was completed in 2004. Here is a brochure (PDF) that shows the completed renovation, and information on awards the renovation won.