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Washington University Libraries

John M. Olin Library, Washington University in St. Louis
John M. Olin Library
Established 1853
Branches 12
Size 4.2 million volumes
Other information
Budget 37 million USD
Director Jeffrey Trzeciak, University Librarian
Staff 113

Washington University Libraries is the library system of Washington University in St. Louis. The system includes 12 libraries and over 4.2 million volumes.[1] The John M. Olin Library is the central library.


  • Olin Library 1
  • Washington University Film & Media Archive 2
  • Bernard Becker Medical Library 3
  • Specialty libraries 4
  • References 5

Olin Library

Centrally located on the Danforth Campus, just west of the Brookings Quadrangle, Olin Library houses general-interest materials and collections in the humanities, social sciences, biology, mathematics and engineering. It is also a designated federal depository library and houses over 70,000 microfilms. Special collections include the literary papers of James Merrill, Samuel Beckett, Howard Nemerov, Stanley Elkin, William Gass, and Mona Van Duyn; the Washington University Film & Media Archive includes material created by alumnus Henry Hampton documenting the Civil Rights Movement.[2]

Built in 1963 after a gift from John M. Olin, the John M. Olin Library replaced the University's former main library at Ridgley Hall.[3] In 2004, the Olin Library underwent an extensive renovation. The library contains a cafe and coffee shop, study spaces for graduate and undergraduate students, and many general services and administrative support for the Washington University Library System.

Washington University Film & Media Archive

The Washington University Film & Media Archive is an archive is composed of completed films and videos, most notably Eyes on the Prize the definitive documentary on America's civil rights movement. The archive also holds numerous materials that went into the creation other works. The Archive collects photos, interviews, stock footage, producer's research notes, correspondence, treatments, and scripts, all of which provide a distinctive look at the film making at storytelling process for scholars, teachers, filmmakers, and students.

Opened in the Fall of 2002, the Film & Media Archive's first acquisition was the Henry Hampton Collection, an archive of the work of one of the most influential African-American filmmakers. For the first time ever, the tens of thousands of materials created by his company Blackside, Inc. during the production process became available for study.

The Archive has expanded from its inaugural collection to include the collection of filmmaker Bill Miles, the St. Louis Public School's educational films, and material from Insignia Films' Reporting America at War series. It continues to grow, focusing on collecting film archives that examine the great social movements of American history and African-American life and culture, and supporting documentary studies. In addition to acquiring collections of major historical importance, the Archive preserves and organizes these materials, publicizes them, and creates related educational and outreach programs.

Bernard Becker Medical Library

Located on the Washington University School of Medicine campus, Becker Library serves the Washington University School of Medicine, the Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The mission of the Becker Medical Library is to provide information resources and technology in support of the educational, research and patient care objectives of the School of Medicine. The library contains over 146,000 volumes, along with over 9,100 print and electronic journal titles.[4]

Becker Medical Library is organized into several departments which play unique roles in serving the Washington University School of Medicine community, including: Archives and Rare Books, Collection Management Services, Health Information Resources (Reference), and Translational Research Support.[5]

Specialty libraries


  1. ^ WU Libraries: Library Facts
  2. ^ WU Libraries: Special Collections
  3. ^ WU Libraries: Olin Library
  4. ^ Bernard Becker Medical Library Facts About the Library
  5. ^ Becker Library Departments and Staff
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