Nearly 58 years after ground was broken for the construction of John M. Olin Library, Washington University celebrated the completion of a project to reimagine the library for the 21st century. About 800 members of the university community gathered May 1 to dedicate the transformed library and tour its new facilities.
The transformation project, which took two years to complete, ushered in a new era for Olin Library. It included the addition of an entrance on the library’s north side; exhibition and vault space for the University Libraries’ extensive special collections; instruction rooms and research studios offering specialized technology; and significant new spaces for study and exploration.
“This project will help the University Libraries preserve and build upon the intellectual and creative legacies of the scholars who have come before us,” Vice Provost and University Librarian Denise Stephens said during the dedication ceremony. “At the same time, it will enable library users to extend the horizon of knowledge in innovative ways.”
Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton thanked the donors whose support for the transformation project harks back to the example set by John M. Olin, who provided the lead gift for the original construction of the library. “He believed libraries are the heart of all great universities,” Chancellor Wrighton said. “His granddaughter, Adele Braun Dilschneider, and the other dedicated benefactors we honor today are extending his legacy and ensuring that Olin Library remains a cornerstone of our efforts to teach, discover, and serve.”