Columbia University Libraries is one of the top five academic research libraries in North America. The collections include over 13 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The Libraries employs more than 400 staff members, including a number of expert staff in a range of academic disciplines, and hosts over 4.7 million visitors each year.

Our library facilities offer gathering places to pursue scholarly research, to learn about and use technology, to write, to study, and to draw on the rich collections of print and electronic resources. Our newly redesigned information discovery system, CLIO, provides a single point of service, integrating many previously disparate sources of information. Our Digital Scholarship program and Copyright Advisory Services focus on the purposeful use of technology in learning and teaching – on partnering with researchers and scholars to share new knowledge – and on addressing the relationship between copyright law and the work of the University.

It is our goal at the Libraries to provide excellent service to students and faculty that will advance their research, teaching, and learning and to support library users anytime and anywhere. The Libraries are moving in a number of exciting directions. Learn more about our Strategic Directions process, the signature initiative of Ann Thornton in her first year as our Vice Provost and University Librarian.[1]


Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary

With more than 25 libraries, affiliate institutions, and centers, Columbia University Libraries is located on the Morningside Heights Campus of Columbia University and at Columbia University Medical Center in northern Manhattan. The libraries in the Columbia system include:

Chang Octagon Room in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Butler Library


In addition to its vast collection of more than 13 million volumes, Columbia University Libraries boasts an extensive archival collection, featuring more than 12,000 pieces of art in a range of media, over 12 miles worth of manuscripts, and a half-million rare books. The Libraries also provides users access to numerous electronic databases and resources, including digital reproductions and descriptions of drawings, ephemera, manuscripts, and photographs from our own rare and special collections.[2]

Offsite Library Shelving Facility (ReCAP)

Science & Engineering Library

Columbia University Libraries also participates in a Shared Collection Service with The New York Public Library and Princeton University Library, a partnership that enables joint access to more than 14 million items held in an offsite shelving facility on Princeton's Forrestal Campus. With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (ReCAP) was initiated in 2013 with an intention to provide access to an expanded collection of materials to users of all partner institutions. Upon the project's completion in September 2017, Columbia University Libraries added more than seven million new items to its online catalog. Patrons are now able to seamlessly search, discover, and request materials for delivery through the ReCAP service.[3]

Using the Libraries

It is the foremost priority of the Libraries to enable world-class teaching, learning, and research by Columbia faculty, students, researchers, and staff. To best fulfill this mission, access and borrowing guidelines are in place for all of our facilities and collections and potential restrictions are dependent on your affiliation with Columbia. Columbia faculty, students, and staff must present a Columbia University-issued ID upon entering library facilities. Members of affiliated institutions such as Barnard College, Teachers College, and Union Theological Seminary must present a valid ID from the affiliated school. Columbia also welcomes the use of its collections by guest researchers and scholars, as well as members of certain partner organizations. Visitors may be subject to fees for access and borrowing privileges and should review related policies prior to visiting the Libraries.[4]

Libraries Awards

Columbia University Libraries administers several annual awards and prizes, including the prestigious Bancroft Prize awarded for distinguished work in the field of history. The Libraries also administers the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, which honors the late Senator Ted Kennedy's love of theater and interest in American history. [5]


  1. ^ "About Columbia University Libraries". Columbia University Libraries. 
  2. ^ "Columbia University Libraries". Columbia University Libraries. 
  3. ^ "Offsite Library Shelving Facility (ReCAP)". Columbia University Libraries. 
  4. ^ "Using the Libraries". Columbia University Libraries. 2016. 
  5. ^ "Libraries Awards". Columbia University Libraries. 

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