Patron FAQ

How do I find out what's on Reserve?

Check in CLIO under "Course Reserve" and search by your instructor's name or course number.

How do I get a reserve item out of Reserves?

At the Reserves Desk you will find two boxes full of call slips, and a basket of pencils. Using CLIO, locate the call number of the reserve item you need. Check the box at the top of the call slip to indicate whether you want a book or a folder, then fill in the call number, the author, and the title. Hand the slip to the desk staff member.

What is the circulation policy for the Butler Media Collection?

The collection is comprised of the Butler Media Research Collection and the Butler Media Circulating Collection. 

Butler Media Research Collection: consists primarily of feature films in DVD and VHS format.  The latter can now be requested from Offsite.   Faculty with borrowing privileges at Columbia University Libraries and affiliated institutions can check out up to two films from this collection.  Titles listed as Butler Media Res circulate only to faculty for class screenings and review. Requests should be submitted one week in advance and are checked out for 7 days.

Butler Media Circulating Collection: comprises a portion of the DVD collection.  It circulates to students and faculty/officers with borrowing privileges. 

  • Loan period for Faculty/Officers: 7-day
  • Loan period for Students: 3-day

How many reserve items may I take out at once?

Each patron may check out a maximum of three Reserve items.

Patrons may check out a maximum of two video titles at a time.

Where do I return the reserve items?

Return Reserves items to the Butler Circulation Desk on the third floor.

When the desk is OPEN, you must return books directly to the desk.  

DO NOT leave books lying on the desk!
DO NOT return books to the slot at the Butler Circulation Desk on the third floor!

When the desk is CLOSED, you may return books to the outdoor bookbins outside Butler.

Patrons should be aware that $1/hour reserve fines continue to accrue overnight if reserve items are not returned in the outdoor bookbin. Do not wait until the Reserves Desk opens to return overdue books!

Do I return videos the same way I return reserve items?

The book drops are NOT for use in returning videos. Videos placed in a bookdrop risk damage by having large hard-bound volumes dropped on them from a great height.

Videos MUST be returned by hand directly to the Circulation & Reserves Desk staff. This can only be done during library hours. If you are unable to return videos into the hands of staff during library hours, it is best not to check the videos out in the first place.

How long may I have reserve items?

Before 6:00 PM, all Reserve books circulate for 2 hours. You may renew the books if you wish.

After 6:00 PM, "last copies" circulate for 2 hours; all others are due the following day at 10:00 AM.

At 6:00 PM on FRIDAYS, non-last copies are due Monday morning at 10:00.


What does it mean when the Circulation Desk staff say "This is a last copy"?

The most important thing to remember is that if an item is a "last copy," it may never circulate for more than 2 hours!

When there is only one copy of a book on Reserve, it is designated a "last copy," and its circulation is more tightly constrained than other reserve items. It can never go out overnight. This is the Library's way of making sure that at least one copy of a given book does not get lost, no matter how inadvertently.

If the Reserve collection has more than copy of a book or folder, one of the copies is designated "last copy" for the same reason as above. The other copies are marked "reserve books" and these are the copies that can go out overnight.

What are the fines if I keep Reserve items out too long?

For ALL Reserve items, the fines are $1.00 per hour for each hour (or portion thereof) that the item is late. These dollar-an-hour rates run continuously for 50 hours, or just over two days, at which point they max out.

If the item is still overdue after the $50 maximum is reached, the system flags it as "Not Returned by Patron" and $100 in replacement charges are added to the total. This $100 charge will be removed when the item is checked back in.

If you have questions about your fines, come to the Reserves Office in 208A Butler and ask for the Reserves supervisor.

Why are the fines so high and the loan periods so short?

The Reserve collection is small, and represents books in extremely high demand and with very frequent turnover. Often, a given book is only necessary for one class period, and all the students in the course require access to it in the space of just a few days. Patrons who keep Reserve items out past their due time are causing severe inconvenience to their classmates. The 2-hour loan and the overnight restriction are designed to allow the greatest possible access to the item in question. The prohibitive fines are meant to discourage patrons from preventing their peers access to the material.

Every copy of a book I need is on Reserve, but I need it longer than overnight; what can I do?

Some books in the Reserves stacks are not on reserve for the current semester. Occasionally, the Reserves supervisor may determine that a book that is still in the Reserves stacks may be returned to the Milstein collection for 4-week circulation.

This is done solely on a case-by-case basis. Interested patrons should inquire at the Reserves office in 208A Butler.