Visitor Borrowing Privileges

Lobby Arch Photo

Hallway in Butler Library

Researchers and scholars who are not affiliated with Columbia who wish to use the libraries may apply for library privileges which includes both physical access and borrowing privileges.

The charge for these privileges is $75 per month plus $20 for the photo ID card. Application should be made at the Library Information Office. Visitors purchasing privileges will be able to use all of the Columbia libraries except for Teachers College and the Health Science Library. 

Visitors must present a government issued photo ID card. Fees are payable with a MasterCard, Visa, Discover, or personal check. 


Loan Periods

4 weeks; or expiration date of borrowing privilege. 

Visitors with borrowing privileges may borrow up to 20 items at a time.


Fines are charged for overdue books.

  • Circulating books: $0.25 per calendar day for each day the item is late, to a maximum of $7.50.
  • Course reserves/short-term loan items: $1.00 per hour for each hour or part thereof, to a maximum of $50.00.
  • Butler Media circulating items: $7.00 per day, to a maximum of $50.00.
  • Recalled items: $1.00 per day, to a maximum of $30.00.
  • Lost items: Standard replacement (varies by library) and processing ($30.00) fees will be added to the fines.

Borrowing privileges at all Columbia libraries are temporarily suspended if fines or fees exceed $99 or if a recalled item is not returned on time. Lost items should be reported to the Library Information Office.

Services Not Included

The purchase of library privileges does not include the use of Interlibrary Loan, Scan & Deliver, and Borrow Direct services or off campus access to the Library's licensed electronic resources. Many of the electronic resources may be accessed from a public computer in one of the libraries. 

Hours of Use

Visitors who have purchased library privileges may use CU Libraries from 9 am to 11 pm. After or before service hours, the Libraries are restricted to current Columbia students, faculty and staff.

Please Note: The Libraries reserve the right to withdraw privileges if they are abused. Privileges are granted to individuals and are not transferable.