Circulation & Reserves

All materials can be borrowed by CUID holders, unless they are on Reference, on Course Reserves, Folio-sized, or part of Rare and Special Collections. Course Reserves materials—items specified as required reading for East Asian courses—are kept behind the circulation desk and are handled by the circulation staff.

Locating materials

To find materials, check the Course Reserves page or CLIO, the Columbia University Libraries online catalog.

Circulation procedures

  • Borrowing books
    All books are charged out at the circulation desk for semester loan for students, staff, faculty, and Provost-appointed visiting scholars.  For more information on borrowing privileges for visitors, please view our policies here
  • Items that are located offsite (ReCAP) can be requested online. Once you find the item you would like to request, click on Pick-Up under Requests in the sidebar on the right and follow the directions.
  • Borrowing periodicals
    All bound periodicals circulate for semester loan and may be renewed. Current issues on the shelf in the reading room do not circulate.
  • Returning materials
    Return all materials to any Columbia University library circulation desk. When the library is closed, return materials to the book drop outside Kent Hall. However, Course Reserves materials must be returned to the Starr circulation desk or the Kent Hall book drop.
  • Renewing materials
    Materials may be renewed electronically through CLIO by clicking on Log in to ... and then My Borrowing Account in the upper right of the screen. Courtesy notices are sent three days before a regular circulating item is due. There are no phone or email renewals.
  • Recall Policy
    While a book may be recalled online, we recommend that you first try Borrow Direct first, by clicking on Pick-Up (Borrow Direct) in the sidebar on the right. If an item is not available any other way, you can recall it by clicking on Place A Recall under Requests in the grey bar at the top of the bibliographic record.  An item may be recalled after 2 weeks if requested for use by another person, or recalled immediately if an instructor needs it for reserve.  If you fail to return a recalled item by the date noted on the recall notice, your borrowing privileges will be suspended until you return the item.  Or, if you have lost the item, your borrowing privileges will be suspended until you pay the replacement charges.

Reserves procedures

  • To find materials
    All items on reserve are listed in CLIO, and can also be found through the Course Reserves search page.
  • Requesting material
    To request an item on Course Reserve, note the call number and present it to a circulation staff member. Please be sure to include the complete number, including dates if noted.
  • Conditions of use
    • Before 3:00 p.m., items may be charged out for 2-hour periods. The items may be renewed at the circulation desk if no other patron requests them.  
    • After 3:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday, regular reserve items—as opposed to last copy—may be checked out of the Library overnight, and are due back 1 hour after opening the following day.
    • After 3:00 p.m. Friday, regular reserve items may be charged out for weekend loan and are due back 1 hour after opening on Monday.
    • Last-copy reserve items must be read in the Library at all times, and do not circulate overnight.
    • All Reserves must be returned to the Starr East Asian Library circulation desk or the book drop outside Kent Hall.
  • Checking out material
    Please present your CUID when requesting materials.
  • Fines
    • Please note that reserve fines are extremely high and are rigidly enforced.  First hour fines are $2 and then accrue at the rate of $1 per hour.
    • Overdue fines must be paid by check (made payable to Columbia University). You may pay by credit card at Butler Library.
    • Note: During final exams and intersession, reserve regulations may vary.  Any changes will be posted at the circulation desk.
    • If you have any problems with reserve materials, please contact our Manager of Access Services, Ken Harlin, by e-mail at or telephone at (212) 854-4318.