Circulation & Reserves


All materials can be borrowed by CUID holders, unless they are on Reference, on Reserves, Folio-sized, or part of Rare and Special Collections. Reserves materials—items specified as required reading for East Asian courses—are kept behind the circulation desk and are handled by the circulation staff.

Locating materials

To find materials, check the Course Reserves page or CLIO, the Columbia University Libraries online catalog.

Circulation procedures

  • Borrowing books
    All books are charged out at the circulation desk for a 1 semester loan period for students, staff, and faculty.  For visiting scholars who obtain borrowing privileges through the Library Information Office (LIO), books may be charged out for 4 weeks.  For more information on borrowing privileges for visitors, please view our policies here.
        Items that are located off-site (ReCAP) can be requested online. Once you find the item you would like to request, click on "Offsite" in the sidebar and follow the directions.
  • Borrowing periodicals
    All bound periodicals circulate for 2 weeks. Current periodicals do not circulate.
  • Returning materials
    Return all materials to the circulation desk. When the library is closed, return materials to the book drop outside Kent Hall.
  • Renewing materials
    Materials may be renewed in three ways: electronically through CLIO by clicking on My Library Account in the upper right hand of the screen (preferred method), in person by bringing items to the circulation desk, or by presenting your CUID at the circulation desk. Courtesy notices are sent three days before a regular circulating item is due. There are no phone or email renewals. Materials may be renewed up to 10 times, at which point an item must be brought into the library to be discharged before it can be charged out again.
  • Recall Policy
    A book may be recalled online by clicking on Recall / Hold in the sidebar.  An item may be recalled after 2 weeks if requested for use by another person, or recalled immediately if an instructor needs it for reserve.  If you fail to return a recalled item by the date noted on the recall notice, your borrowing privileges will be suspended until you return the item.  Or, if you have lost the item, your borrowing privileges will be suspended until you pay the replacement charges.
  • Fines
    Separate rates for reserve and stack materials are in effect.  Rate schedules are available at the circulation desk.

Reserves procedures

  • To find materials
    All items on reserve are listed in CLIO, and can also be found throug the Course Reserves search page.
  • Requesting material
    To request an item on reserve, write the call number on a slip of paper and present it to a circulation staff member. Please be sure to include the complete number, including dates if noted.
  • Conditions of use
    • Before 3:00 p.m., items may be charged out for 2-hour periods. The items may be renewed at the circulation desk if no other patron requests them.  
    • After 3:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday, regular reserve items—as opposed to last copy—may be checked out of the Library overnight, and are due back 1 hour after opening the following day.
    • After 3:00 p.m. Friday, regular reserve items may be charged out for weekend loan and are due back 1 hour after opening on Monday.
    • Last-copy reserve items must be read in the Library at all times, and do not circulate overnight.  
  • Checking out material
    Please present your CUID when requesting materials.
  • Fines
    Separate rates for reserve and stack material are in effect.  Overdue fines must be paid by check (made payable to Columbia University).  You may pay by credit card at Butler Library.
        Please note that reserve fines are extremely high and are rigidly enforced.  First hour fines are $2 and then accrue at the rate of $1 per hour.
  • Note: During final exams and intersession, reserve regulations may vary.  Any changes will be posted at the circulation desk.
  • If you have any problems with reserve materials, please contact our Head of Access Services, Ken Harlin, by e-mail at harlin@columbia.edu or telephone at (212) 854-4318.
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