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: Through July 30, 2021, the RBML reading room is open on a very limited basis by appointment only to current Columbia affiliates (students, faculty and staff) whose individual research requires consulting RBML materials.

Our reading room will be closed August 2-13, 2021 to accommodate our relocation back to our original space in Butler Library as we prepare to expand our services in the fall.

The reading room will reopen to Columbia affiliates on August 16, 2021. Request an appointment.

Alumni and other visitors will be permitted by appointment starting in early October. Specific access instructions for visitors will be posted here as soon as these protocols are finalized.

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 closed for the moment but Online Exhibitions are always available.



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

New 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.