Borrow Direct

Borrow Direct

Duke University Libraries is now a member of Borrow Direct. Read more.


Borrow Direct enables current faculty, students, and staff from Columbia, Barnard, and Union Theological Seminary to request material from Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Princeton, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale. The service does not support deputy borrowers.

The Borrow Direct service also can be used to search for and request materials held by the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). Requests for CRL materials are routed through the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) system, allowing for longer loan periods of books, dissertations, journals, and newspapers in print or microform.

Having trouble deciding between Borrow Direct and ILL?  Compare services.

What can be borrowed

Printed books (monographs) and music scores, with the following exceptions:

  • books held in the Columbia library collection that are not checked out
  • books assigned to reference, reserve, non-circulating, or rare book collections by the owning library
  • bound journals or journal articles (can be requested only from the Center for Research Libraries)
  • audio–visual material (DVD’s, videos)
  • microforms (can be borrowed only from University of Chicago and Center for Research Libraries)

To request materials that are outside the scope of Borrow Direct (e.g., journal articles), use Interlibrary Loan or other Request It services.

Loan period, due dates, and renewals

The loan period is six weeks, with one six-week renewal. Recalled books must be returned within 10 days (standard daily fines will accrue for books not returned by the needed-by date).

To find the due date or request renewal of your Borrow Direct book, log in to your CLIO My Library Account and check your Charged Items list. Your Borrow Direct books appear in all capital letters and have an Item Type of "bdir."

Delivery and Notification

Request delivery to any of the following libraries: Avery, Barnard, The Burke, Butler, Business and Economics, Starr East Asian, Geology, Health Sciences, Journalism, Lehman, Mathematics, Music, Science and Engineering, and Social Work.

Books usually arrive within four to five business days. An email notice is sent to your Columbia email account when material is ready for pick-up.

Returning Borrow Direct Books

Return materials to any CUL circulation desk or in the retun slot next to the door of 307 Butler.

Contact Borrow Direct staff

Office: 307 Butler Library
Phone: 212-854-7535

How to Use Borrow Direct

  1. Click on Log In to Borrow Direct and enter your Columbia University Network ID (UNI) and password.
  2. Enter your search term(s) in the single Simple Search box, or click on Advanced Search for more options. Advanced Search gives you the option to
    • search by keyword, author, title, subject, and/or ISBN
    • combine two or more search types, e.g., author and title, keyword and subject
    • limit your search to “all of these words,” “any of these words,” or “this phrase”
  3. A spinning circle icon indicates the search progress. 
  4. Click on the specific title to determine if it can be borrowed via Borrow Direct.
  5. The system will look for available copies (“Searching for sources of this title”) and will display the results below the item’s bibliographic information (author, title, publisher, subjects, etc.). Note: You may have to scroll down to the bottom of the screen to see the available copies and the Request button.
  6. If the item is available to borrow via Borrow Direct, select a pick–up location from the drop–down list and click on the Request button.
    • If the item is available locally in the Columbia Libraries collection, you can link to the item in CLIO, the Libraries online catalog. If the item is held at Columbia’s off-site location, you may place a request for it using the “Request from Offsite” button from the item’s bibliographic record. Materials held off-site can be delivered to any Columbia library.
  7. A request submission message will display, including your request number. You may wish to print this for your records.
  8. An e-mail confirmation of your request will be sent to you, generally within a few minutes. Save the e-mail and request number in case you wish to check on the status of your request at a later time. Another e–mail will be sent when the item is available for pick–up at your selected location.
  9. Log Out:  Make sure to click on the Logout link that appears at the top of the Borrow Direct screen to ensure your privacy and the security of the system. Then close the “Thank you for using Borrow Direct” window.