Rare Book & Manuscript Library


In order to use the collections, all visitors to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library are required to create a Special Collections Research Account. Registering as a special collections user also allows you to request materials online before your visit.


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

Spring 2020 Programming Brochure

The latest public programming guide is now available, which has the details on our newest exbhitions, lectures and more. You can view it here.

Current Exhibitions

Enchanted Vision: The Arthur Rackham Collection

Insistent Change: Columbia's Core Curriculum at 100

February 17, 2020 - June 30, 2020
Kempner Gallery

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 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.


The Year of Water: Selections from Columbia’s Book Arts Collection January 20, 2020 - July 3, 2020
Chang Octagon

To mark Columbia University’s celebration of the “Year of Water,” the Rare Book & Manuscript Library is exhibiting artists books relating to that theme. 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.