Access to Other Libraries by Columbia University Students, Faculty & Staff

Borrow Direct Plus On-Site Borrowing Program

Under a new pilot agreement beginning October 1, 2014, current Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary students, faculty and staff have on-site library borrowing privileges at Brown University, University of Chicago, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University via the new Borrow Direct Plus (Borrow Direct institutions plus Duke University) on-site borrowing program.

It is recommended that individuals considering a visit to another Borrow Direct Plus library view their policies ahead of time. Items, collections, and participating libraries available will vary by institution. The lending library’s policies and loan periods apply to Borrow Direct Plus borrowers. Borrowed items may be returned at either the lending library or one of the Columbia University Libraries.

When first visiting one of these libraries, eligible individuals will be asked to show their current Columbia University ID card and log into the Borrow Direct service to verify their status and confirm their library account is in good standing. Once verified, a borrowing card will be issued.

For the most part, these same materials already are available for borrowing and delivery to current Columbia faculty, students, and staff through Borrow Direct, a rapid book request and delivery system used by all of the participating institutions with the exception of Duke University. The new agreement expands the system to include this in-person component.


Columbia University is a member of SHARES, and Columbia students, faculty, and staff have on-site access privileges at member libraries outside the New York City area. These privileges typically include reading privileges and access to collections. Use of electronic and computing resources may be restricted. Borrowing privileges are not provided.

In order to facilitate access to other libraries, Columbia students, faculty and staff must present a valid Columbia ID card with a semester sticker upon request. An additional government issued photo ID card may also be required. Please consult the websites of member institutions in advance.

New York University/Columbia University Cooperative Agreement

Columbia University also has a special agreement with New York University. Students, faculty and staff have access to the NYU libraries described here.

MaRLI: Manhattan Research Libraries Initiative

The New York Public Library and the libraries of Columbia University and New York University offer expanded access and use of collections to better serve their users. The collaboration, dubbed the Manhattan Research Library Initiative (MaRLI), enables NYU and Columbia doctoral students, full-time faculty and librarians, and approved New York Public Library cardholders with a demonstrable research need not met by currently available resources, to borrow materials from all three institutions. For more information and to register for MaRLI privileges, please visit the MaRLI website.

2CUL Reciprocal Borrowing (Columbia University/Cornell University)

As part of the 2CUL initiative, Columbia students, faculty, and staff may register to borrow books at Cornell University. Information about this initiative, and a link to the registration form may be found here.


Library Information Office

201 Butler
Phone: 212-854-7309