Library Status Updates
Physical Locations & Study Space During COVID-19
- Face coverings and physical distancing 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.
- Extended Library Hours: Beginning March 7 through the end of Spring term, the Science and Engineering Library will be open until midnight Sundays through Wednesdays in response to student requests for extended hours. Current library hours can be found here.
- Six libraries are currently open. Library spaces are available to students, faculty, and staff by reservation only in Avery, Butler, Business, Lehman, Starr East Asian, and Science & Engineering. Reservations are quick and easy to make anytime before arrival. Special collections visits are available for research by appointment only.
- Seats must be reserved; video conferencing allowed. Users can reserve seats in libraries anytime prior to arrival for up to four hours per day. Video conferencing is allowed in designated rooms.
- Columbia ID is required. You must have a Columbia ID to enter library buildings.
- The Microforms Reading Room is available for in-person use on a very limited basis by appointment only to current Columbia faculty, staff, or students whose individual research requires consulting microfilm or microfiche. Appointments will be scheduled on Mondays between 9am to 1pm or on Fridays between 1–5pm. Please see the Services page for more information.
- Visit our Library Privileges page for more information about current access to our libraries and study spaces.
Borrowing and Returning Physical Materials During COVID-19
- Library stacks are closed; there is no direct access to browsing or handling library materials at this time.
- Book pick-up service is available for select print collections. Eligible items will have a "Pick-up" hyperlink in the CLIO record. Please refer to the Pick-Up Service page for instructions about how to request materials for pickup, how to pick up the materials, and how to return materials.
- Materials can be returned to book bins outside Butler Library, the Science & Engineering Library, Starr East Asian Library, Lehman Library, and the Business Library. Due dates have been universally pushed back to May 28th, 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 return materials to the Butler Library book bins, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to make other arrangements.
Access to Collections Online During COVID-19
- Scanning is available from offsite collections and select 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.
- Millions of items from our collections can still be accessed online, including 40% of our print holdings that are temporarily available digitally.
- Request items for 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.
Get Help Online with Research and Teaching
- Ask a Librarian: get general help online.
- Attend a Zoom workshop on software tools, research methods, and more.
- Get virtual help from an expert with questions about copyright and or digital methods for research and publishing.
- 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.
Frequently Asked Questions about Reopening
While some on-campus services have resumed, many library services remain available remotely.
Six libraries are open for general use and study. Special collections are open to users by appointment. Students may reserve seats in libraries for up to four hours per day before they arrive to ensure that they will have a place to study and work. Face coverings are required. Video conferencing is allowed in in designated rooms. Reading rooms will be monitored for adherence to the Columbia Community Health Compact. Food will not be permitted in libraries.
With overwhelming concern for the safety and wellbeing of our library staff and users, these initial services have been implemented with the fewest possible staff members on site. This page will continue to be updated as additional in-person services return.
Interlibrary Loan is still an option for requesting scans of articles and book chapters. Submit a request directly via the website portal or click the Scan link in CLIO. Hardcopy borrowing and lending via Interlibrary Loan remains suspended.
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 May 28, 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 email@example.com to make other arrangements.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent closure of library locations, many print collections have been made available in digital format. 40% of Columbia’s print collections are now temporarily available in digital format following the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service announcement. Here’s how to access those materials.
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.
- Many software programs and limited-access databases such as Bloomberg are available remotely through the libraries, or from direct download from CUIT. CUIT also provides access to computer lab technologies for access to many additional software and tools.
- Use Electronic Lab Notebooks to organize and store laboratory data and share information with collaborators.
- Organize your research with citation management tools such as Zotero.
- Browse comprehensive research guides by subject, created by subject specialists.
- Take advantage of access to expert-led online professional development courses and videos with LinkedIn Learning.
- Access research and scholarship produced at Columbia University and its affiliate institutions through Academic Commons.
If you need to retrieve materials from a personal space such as a locker or carrel, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements. (Currently this is only possible for lockers and carrels in Butler Library.)
For questions not answered here, please email email@example.com.