Use Guidelines

Butler Library’s primary purpose is to support Columbia University’s educational and research programs.  Butler Library may also serve the needs of local, national and international communities when doing so does not detract from the library’s primary purpose. 

Access to and use of Butler Library is a privilege extended to Columbia University faculty, students, staff, alumni and sponsored guests.  Access to Butler Library’s physical spaces, services and resources by others is normally limited to specific and limited access to library collections or resources.


Current Columbia University faculty, students and staff have priority access to Butler Library physical spaces, resources and services.

Encouraged behaviors

  • Studying
  • Research
  • Using print and electronic library resources
  • Reading
  • Participating in library programs
  • Asking library staff for assistance
  • Muting cell phones and other electronic devices

Discouraged behaviors

  • Behaviors, actions or expressions that threaten personal or institutional safety and security
  • Disruptive behaviors, including but not limited to excessive noise, cell phones, music and rudeness
  • Leaving personal items unattended, including, but not limited to, laptops, cell phones, wallets and textbooks
  • Excessive and inappropriate use of library spaces and resources, including, but not limited to, seating spaces, study rooms, books, journals, databases and computers
  • Eating or drinking except in designated areas, or as approved for specific events
  • Personal photography is not permitted; commercial photography or filming only with prior approval
  • Posting flyers or signage anywhere in the building except on bulletin boards
  • All behaviors or actions prohibited by law or university policy