Visitor Borrowing Privileges

Lobby Arch Photo

Hallway in Butler Library

Researchers and scholars who are not affiliated with Columbia but who wish to use the libraries may apply for Reader or Borrowing Privileges.

The charge for reading privileges is $55 per month and for borrowing privileges the charge is $100 per month. Application should be made at the Library Information Office. Teachers College Library is not included in the Reading Privilege and the Health Sciences, Law, and Teachers College libraries are not included in the Borrowing Privilege.

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

The Libraries will issue a photo identification card to visitors, and a fee will be charged for the card.

Loan Periods

4 weeks; or expiration date of library borrowing privileges: All libraries except Barnard which has a 4-week loan period, and the Health Sciences Library which has a 3-week loan period.

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 reader or borrowing privileges does not include the use of Interlibrary Loan, Scan & Deliver, and Borrow Direct services or access to the Library's licensed electronic resources.

Hours of Use

Visitors who have purchased reading or borrowing privileges may use CU Libraries during normal service hours. 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.