Access Services

Use of the Library

A valid Columbia ID card, or visiting reader's card, is required for entrance to the library.

Visitors who wish to use Avery materials should consult Access to Columbia's Libraries for Visitors and Alumni.  Avery's access policy conforms to that of the Columbia University Libraries.

For use of the Classics (Rare Book) collection, see details on the Classics page.

For use of the Drawings & Archives collection, see details on the Drawings & Archives page.


Please consult the Hours calendar.  Hours change during vacation periods, summer sessions, and intersessions.


Avery Library, one of Libraries' distinctive collections, is an open-stack non-circulating research library containing over 500,000 volumes and 1,900 periodical titles. The Library is composed of three collections: Avery, Fine Arts, and Ware. The Avery collection, one of the world's outstanding collections in the field of architecture, also includes materials on archaeology and the decorative arts. The Fine Arts collection represents the range of literature in art history. The Ware collection, the library's only circulating collection, is composed primarily of urban planning, housing and real estate development materials, as well as some core English language art and architecture books.

Locating Material

CLIO, the online library catalog, contains records and circulation information for all materials cataloged since 1981, records for all currently received journals, and records for on-order/in-process materials since 1983. The Avery Library card catalog is a union catalog for all art and architecture books and periodicals on the Columbia campus added until 1987. LibraryWeb terminals provide access to a variety of periodical indexes, reference tools, Internet resources, and catalogs from other universities.

If you are a Columbia affiliate, any in-process item may be requested for rush processing by submitting an in-process request form. If an item is not found in CLIO or the Avery Library card catalog, see a reference librarian.

The Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals is an index to articles on architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and urban planning in journals received at Avery Library.

Using Materials

Avery and Fine Arts books and periodicals do not circulate. Assigned shelves and carrels are available for Columbia graduate students and faculty. Temporary hold shelves, for all other patrons, are available. Ware books may be charged out for one semester, with renewals permitted.

Reserve materials for graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses in architecture, art history, urban planning, real estate development, and historic planning are shelved behind the Service Desk.  Reserve materials may only be used within the Library. There are no overnight loans.  Many course reserve readings are available online through CourseWorks to those registered in classes. Fines apply to Reserve books and Ware materials only.

Missing books will be searched for as time permits. Search request forms are available at the Service Desk and online.

Special Collections

  • Classics
    Rare books are designated "Classics" in Avery Library. The Classics Reading Room (Room 234) is open Monday-Friday (view hours). Rare books are paged once per day.
  • Drawings and Archives
    The collection contains over 1.5 million items including original architectural drawings and a variety of archival materials. Drawings and Archives materials may be seen by appointment only, Monday-Friday (view hours).
  • Art Properties
    The Art Properties Department oversees the Columbia University art collection. The collection is comprised of works of art in all media, from all cultures and time periods. They encompass a broad range of art forms: paintings, sculpture, watercolors, drawings, prints, photographs, and decorative arts, including ceramics and tapestries.

General Information

Eating, smoking, and cellphone use are not permitted anywhere in the library.

Scanners are available in room 220B and on the 100-level.

Restrooms are located on the 200-level off the Graduate Reading Room, and in the Wallach Study Center for Art & Architecture (this restroom is ADA compliant).

Personal security: Please keep a close watch on handbags, briefcases, cameras, laptops, and other valuables. Should you lose anything, please report the theft to the Lost and Found at the University Security Office, 111 Low.