About RBML


The Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) is Columbia's principal repository for primary sources. The range of collections in RBML span more than 4,000 years and comprise rare printed works, cylinder seals, cuneiform tablets, papyri, and Coptic ostraca; medieval and renaissance manuscripts; as well as art, realia and born-digital objects. Some 500,000 printed books and 90,000 linear feet (17 miles) of manuscripts, personal papers, and records form the core of the RBML holdings. One can find manuscripts from as early as the 14th century to the modern archives relating to Herman Wouk, Erica Jong, Serge Prokofiev, and Arthur Mitchell. Archives as varied as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Random House, and Amnesty International-USA, and the archives of Columbia University are available for research. To learn more about RBML, please visit our Collection Areas.



Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Butler Library, 6th Floor East
535 West 114th St. MC1127
New York, NY 10027

(212) 854-5590



The Rare Book & Manuscript Library is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. When classes are in session, the RBML closes at 7:45 on Monday nights. Please check the RBML Hours Calendar for the full schedule of our hours of operation.


The Rare Book & Manuscript Library is located on the 6th floor of Butler Library. Butler Library is accessible via the Columbia University quadrangle; the back of the library faces 114th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. 

If you do not have a valid Columbia ID card, please proceed to the Library Information Office, located on the left of the library entrance before the security desk. When you have passed the security desk, follow the hallway left and take the elevator to the 6th floor. The entrance to the RBML is through the glass doors at the end of the hallway, to your right. Lockers for coats, jackets, bags, and other personal items are located just outside the entrance; keys are available at the RBML reference desk.