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: Starting November 1, 2021, the reading room will be open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm by advance appointment only to external visitors and current Columbia students, faculty and staff whose individual research requires consulting RBML materials.

Reading room seats are limited and appointment slots are frequently filled a month in advance. Bookings are are first-come, first served and we cannot guarantee the availability of preferred dates/times.

See the Plan Your Visit Page for instructions on booking advance appointments and requirements for external visitors.

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

Online Exhibit

Insistent Change exhibit poster

Insistent Change: Columbia's Core Curriculum at 100

In 1919 Columbia instituted a course of study known as Contemporary Civilization. It grew out of a War Issues course offered during World War I and was required of every student in order to provide all with a forum to analyze and discuss primary texts relevant to contemporary problems. Proceeding roughly by decade, this exhibition shows how the course transformed and developed over the years. By also focusing on the development of the Core Curriculum as a whole, the exhibition explains how CC's faculty, administrators and students have worked together to keep the course relevant through a succession of crises and changes in the broader political, economic and social realms in the country and the world.

This online exhibition is based on a physical exhibition of the same name which was on display in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library in February and March 2020.