In his remarks made at the unveiling of a plaque in the Butler Library lobby, University President Lee C. Bollinger observed, "We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Milstein family--and particularly pleased that they appreciate the importance of libraries as the center of student academic and social life. Because of the foresight of this wonderful family, students will continue to thrive in the newly renovated Butler Library."
The Milstein family has been actively involved with Columbia for nearly 40 years. There is a long tradition of the Milstein Family attending Columbia at the Law School, the Business School, and Columbia College, and at Barnard College where Mrs. Cheryl Milstein is a trustee.
Dean Quigley said, "It is characteristic of the Milstein family that, when considering a major gift to Columbia, they focused on a project that would make the most difference to the most students." Quigley continued, "Recognizing that, for undergraduates in particular, the library is a social space as well as an academic space, Philip Milstein and his family have helped fund a College Library that is designed to promote experiential learning and technological learning while continuing to provide an inexhaustible set of intellectual resources and a major historical archive." He concluded, "Columbia, as we all know, is a place where intellectual exchange is an essential aspect of social bonding, and the new library is an indispensable resource in the life of our entire community."
University Librarian Neal remarked, "Philanthropy is about freedom, the freedom of those who give to make a difference, and the freedom of those who receive to move in new directions. The Milstein Family, through their extraordinary investment in the Butler Library, have provided generations of Columbia students the freedom to develop and flourish as learners and scholars."
The renovation of Butler Library began in 1995. Early phases of the project refurbished and renovated the first through fourth floors, including the Milstein Family College Library. Most recently, this multi-phase project completed the fifth floor that includes administrative offices and meeting rooms and the first three of ten discipline-based research reading rooms. The balance of Phase Three, renovation of the sixth floor, will refurbish or create the remaining seven research reading rooms. Over the coming year the stack elevators will be replaced and the Rare Book Library stacks will be renovated. Future phases will complete the upper levels and roof work.
The Philip L. Milstein Family College Library houses the interdisciplinary undergraduate collection in newly renovated reading rooms on the second, third, and fourth floors of Butler Library. With a capacity for 100,000 volumes, the collection is based on the merger of the former College, Burgess-Carpenter, and course reserves collections. It is especially strong in history, literature, and the social sciences supporting the undergraduate curricula in Columbia College, General Studies, and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. In addition to the collection, the Milstein Library provides 24-hour reading rooms, offers a variety of seating styles, and includes abundant data connectivity to the campus network and World Wide Web, which makes this a popular place for undergraduates to gather and study.
Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 7.5 million volumes, 49,000 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms and other non-print formats. The collections and services are organized into 22 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. The Library's web site is a gateway to the print and electronic collections and to services.