Library Status Updates

Last updated Friday, September 17, 2021 at 12:05pm EST

What's Available & Open Now

  • Most library locations are currently open for study and access to stacks for faculty students, and staff.  Hours can be found here.
  • Regardless of vaccination status, masks are required at all times.  Library reading rooms are monitored for adherence to the Columbia Community Health Compact. Users will be asked to leave the library and referred to Student Conduct for failure to comply.
  • Visitor and alumni access remains suspended. This page will continue to update as reopening continues. 
  • Video conferencing and group study allowed in designated rooms. Study space options can be found here. 
  • Special collections visits are available for research by appointment only.
  • As of September 9, Butler Cafe is open. Eating is not allowed in library spaces, except Butler 214 which is adjacent to the Butler cafe. Drinks are allowed in library spaces in spill-proof containers only. 
  • If you have left or are leaving the New York City area permanently and cannot return materials to the Butler Library book bins, please email to make other arrangements. 

Ongoing Access to Online Collections and Help

  • Scanning is available from offsite collections and most campus locations.  Scanning via Interlibrary Loan has also been enabled.  Eligible items will have a "Scan" hyperlink in the CLIO record. Reproductions of small portions will be made in accordance with the Terms of Service. Archival collections, rare books, and some other offsite materials are not eligible to be requested.
  • Faculty and instructors can request required course readings be placed on  Course Reserves by using our submission form as soon as possible. Library staff will then be in touch with details on the availability of each item. Whenever possible, we will supply electronic copies of materials. Also, consult with an expert about using films in courses.
  • Faculty and instructors can request a tailored library instruction session and/or consult with a subject specialist or relevant distinctive collections repository about designing and supporting research assignments and alternative projects in the context of a remote or hybrid learning environment.
  • Any library user can get general 1-1 help online by using our Ask a Librarian service.
  • Any library user can get 1-1 help online from an expert with questions about copyright or digital methods for research and publishing

Frequently Asked Questions about Reopening

Borrow Direct requests can be filled from many of the consortial partners.  Search via the website portal or click on Pick-Up (Borrow Direct) in CLIO.  

Interlibrary Loan scan and hardcopy borrowing requests can be submitted directly via Borrow Direct if no requestable copy is available, via e-Link in Worldcat or the ILL website portal

Books from the First-Generation, Low-Income (FLI) Partnership Library at Columbia are available through the Libraries’ Book Pick-Up Service

For further information about the collection and to suggest new additions, please see FLI Partnership Library page on the Libraries’ website.

Materials can be returned to book bins outside Butler Library, the Science & Engineering Library, Lehman Library, and the Business Library. For users who are unable to return materials in person, we have taken several steps to mitigate the pressure of due dates and fines for all borrowers. Due dates have been universally pushed back to October 21, 2021; regular late fines have been removed; account blocks have no negative effect on access or permissions.

If you have left or are leaving the New York City area permanently and cannot leave your materials with someone to return later, please email to make other arrangements. 

Many of our collections are always available online, including ebooks (choose “ebooks” on the left before or after any search in CLIO), research databases, digital reproductions from our rare and special collections, and access to health sciences databases and health sciences resources

If you have questions about the availability of a collection, how to access a collection, or how to make a collection request, please contact us


If you need to retrieve materials from a personal space such as a locker or carrel, please email to make arrangements. (Currently this is only possible for lockers and carrels in Butler Library.)

Please continue to refer to the University’s COVID-19 Guidance for the Columbia Community for information about classes, campus events, health updates, travel restrictions, and preventative measures.

For questions not answered here, please email