Rare Book & Manuscript Library


Digital Resources: Many resources are available online. You can access them by following the links listed below. You can also learn more about how RBML is documenting COVID-19 at Columbia. In addition, we will continue to post news stories about collections and initiatives.

Reading Room Access: The RBML reading room is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm by advance appointment only to external visitors and Columbia affiliates.


PLAN AHEAD: Reading room appointments must be booked at least 7 days in advance and up to 90 days in advance. Bookings are are first-come, first served and we cannot guarantee the availability of preferred dates/times. For more information on booking an appointment, visit our Appointment FAQ page


See the Plan Your Visit Page for instructions on planning your visit. We invite all users to access our Digital Collections, request reproductions, or contact us for alternatives to in-person visits.


Order Reproductions: Limited reproductions of materials may be requested. See our Orders & Services page for details.


Research & Teaching Support: RBML staff are available to assist faculty with online teaching and to support students with research projects and assignments. Contact us for assistance.


Exhibitions: Our exhibition galleries are open to Columbia affiliates and external visitors with confirmed reading room appointments. Online Exhibitions are always available to all.

RBML Search Tools


The Columbia University Libraries online catalogue is a primary tool for locating RBML materials.

Archival Collections Portal

This portal provides access to records of archival collections at Columbia University Libraries, including finding aids, collection descriptions and available digital content, such as online exhibits and images.

Oral History Portal

Use this portal to explore the collections of the Columbia Center for Oral History (CCOH) Archives at RBML.

Quick Links

Current Exhibits

Social Climates exhibit poster

Social Climates: Power and the Environment in the Archives: through September 30, 2022 in Kempner Gallery. This exhibit draws on a wide array of RBML collections and materials to explore the interconnections between culture, history, politics, and the natural world. From  ancient papyrus documents to the records of an 18th century cotton manufacturer, from New Deal photography to contemporary illustrations by renowned artist Molly Crabapple, from early modern treatises on witchcraft to sociological surveys documenting the rise of suburbia, Social Climates offers a critical reexamination of the RBML's archival holdings in order to reveal the connections and disjunctures that have shaped human social relationships to the natural world. 

Year of Water Revisited poster

The Year of Water Revisited: through July 23, 2022 in the Chang Octagon. This exhibit features artists books relating to the earth's most precious resource: water. Items range from New York City Rainfall 1987 by Sandy Gellis, a portfolio of prints which document a year’s rainfall, to this year’s My Mighty Journey, which traces 12,000 years of a waterfall’s existence, with illustrations created with natural materials found by the river and wood engraving by Gaylord Schanilec.