Library Status Updates
What to Expect for Fall 2021
All library locations will reopen for the 2021 Fall term for all users. Library stacks will fully reopen for browsing and Circulation desks will be staffed to assist users with check-out of library materials. Butler Library will resume 24-hour operations and Butler Cafe will reopen. The full return of in-person, physical library services will be complemented by robust online resources and activities that will continue to be in place to support users no matter where they are learning.
See the full announcement here. Please continue to check this page for updates.
Physical Locations & Study Space During COVID-19
- Visitor access, including alumni access, remains suspended. At the start of the Fall Term of 2021, all libraries will reopen to alumni and visitors for general use and study. Please check back for exact dates and protocols.
- Six libraries are open for study for faculty students, and staff. Reservations are no longer required. The following libraries are open as study space to students, faculty, and staff only: Avery Library, Butler Library, Business Library, Lehman Library, Starr East Asian Library, and Science & Engineering Library. Hours can be found here. Access to spaces in those locations may be limited or varied while libraries prepare to open more fully for Fall semester; please follow signs that identify which rooms are open for use. Video conferencing will continue to be allowed in designated rooms. Special collections visits will continue to be available for research by appointment only.
- Regardless of vaccination status, 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.
- 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 from 9:30am to 1pm, Wednesdays from 2–4:45pm, and Fridays from 2–4:45pm. Please see the Services page for more information.
- The Ancient & Medieval Studies and Papyrology & Epigraphy Reading Rooms in Butler LIbrary will close starting Aug 2, reopening for use (no appointments required) on Monday, August 16. Hours will be the same as other Butler reading rooms. Please contact email@example.com with any questions.
- 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, Barnard Library, the Science & Engineering Library, Starr East Asian Library, Lehman Library, the Business Library, and the Health Sciences Library. Due dates have been universally pushed back to October 1, 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
- All library locations will reopen for Fall Term 2021. At the start of the Fall Term of 2021, all libraries will open for general use and study and special collections will open by appointment for current Columbia students, faculty, and staff.
- Stacks will reopen. Library stacks will fully reopen for browsing, and circulation desks will be staffed to assist users with check-out of library materials.
- Visitors and alumni will be able to access libraries. At the beginning of Fall Term, alumni, individuals in cooperative programs such as Ivy Plus and MaRLI, and other qualified visitors will be able to access libraries by following an attestation procedure. Visitors to special collections will be permitted by appointment beginning in October.
- Butler Library will resume 24-hour operations, and Butler Cafe will reopen. Other library locations will resume expanded hours of in-person service.
- Both in-person and online programming will be available. Some in-person workshops for students and faculty will resume in the fall, and larger-scale events for the general public will take place online.
- Robust digital services will continue. Libraries will provide millions of digital resources and services, including millions of ebooks, streaming audio and video collections, and help via live chat.
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 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.