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Local Libraries

The guide is a list of local libraries that you can visit or request books. It includes helpful material such as links to local libraries' websites, hours, and contact information.

Why would I need a public library when I have WashU Libraries?

Despite Washington University Libraries' vast holdings and services, not every library has everything. Although WU Libraries have popular literature, film, and music collections, the focus of our collections and services are for our academic community. Public Libraries, on the other hand, serve the general public, and so typically have more popular print, film, and music collections.  If you are taking a long road trip, many public libraries have extensive book on CD collections. They also may offer databases (like ReferenceUSA or ALLData) and programming (concerts, book clubs, or author visits) not available through Washington University Libraries.

Although public libraries tend to collect for a general audience, WashU students, especially those in the humanities, may find required or suggested readings accessible through local public libraries.

All the local, public libraries profiled below provide access to downloadable eBooks, comics, graphic novels, magazines, audiobooks (OverDrive), music (Freegal), and a free TV & film streaming services (Hoopla). All also offer free wi-fi, and any item belonging to one library system can be returned to any of them.

Municipal Library Consortium

The Municipal Library Consortium of St. Louis County (MLC) consists of nine independent community libraries in St. Louis County, Missouri. The University City Public Library is less than a mile from Washington University's Danforth Campus.  A valid library card from any of the member libraries can be used in any other MLC library. The MLC has a combined catalog, and any item at any MLC library can be shipped to another MLC library.

WashU students who live on campus can get library cards from the MLC with a student ID and campus box address. Students (and anyone else: faculty or staff who live and/or work in St. Louis City or County) who live off campus can get library cards with a photo ID and proof of current address (1st class mail, unpaid utility bill, copy of lease, etc.). 

University City Public Library (6701 Delmar Blvd @ Kingsland Ave)

St. Louis Public Library

St. Louis Public Library has 17 locations across the city and more than four million books and items in its collection. The Charing Cross branch (pictured) is just four blocks from the corner of Skinker Boulevard and Forest Park Parkway (northeast corner of the Danforth Campus). It is a small branch, but any circulating item in the SLPL system can be requested online and transferred from one branch to another. Public Libraries are also alternative locations to study. SLPL's Central location (1301 Olive Blvd.) is over one hundred years-old and a stunning piece of architecture. 

Charing Cross branch, St. Louis Public Library (356 N. Skinker Blvd @ McPherson Ave - next to Snarfs!)

St. Louis County Library

St. Louis County Library (SLCL) has nineteen branches throughout the St. Louis County (MO), all of which are being renovated or replaced over a two-year period. The Mid-County branch in downtown Clayton (7821 Maryland Avenue) is the closest SLCL library to Danforth campus. It is closed for renovation but is scheduled to reopen in late 2018 or early 2019.

SLCL is a younger library system than SLPL. While the former's collection is not as broad and historic as the latter, SLCL tends to have many more copies of the current bestsellers, and they attract a greater number of and more popular author lectures.