Columbia FLI Partnership Library

What is the Columbia First-Generation, Low-Income (FLI) Partnership Library?

Located on the fourth floor of Butler Library, Room 406A, the Columbia FLI Partnership Library is a collection of textbooks and other course materials available to low-income and/or first-generation students from one of Columbia University's undergraduate schools: Columbia College (CC), the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and General Studies (GS), as well as students from Barnard College. Students who identify as first-generation or low-income and who register can borrow materials from the collection for extended loan periods.

Barnard College also maintains the Barnard FLI Partnership Library at the back of the fourth floor of the Barnard Library, and qualified Columbia undergraduates may similarly borrow from that collection.



If you received a physical textbook for the Spring 2021 semester, please follow these procedures for returning your materials to Butler Library. Books can be returned in person or by mail (prepaid postage is available upon request).

Please keep in mind these deadlines:

  • April 30, 2021 – Deadline to request a prepaid shipping label
  • April 30, 2021 – Postmark deadline for shipping materials back to Butler Library
  • May 3, 2021 – Deadline to return books in person to the book-return bin outside Butler Library

How do I use the collection?

Students who identify as first-generation and/or low-income may register to brorrow materials from the collection for extended loan periods by filling out the FLI Partnership Libraries Access Form. The purpose of this form is to create a confidential channel for requesting access to the FLI library, while ensuring that the collection serves its primary audience of FLI undergraduates.

Once you fill out the form, it typically takes two business days for your patron account to be updated with enhanced borrowing privileges. After your record has been updated, you can check books out from the FLI Partnership libraries as you would any other library book for the entire semester with the ability to renew.

Can I find the FLI Partnership Libray books in CLIO?

CLIO is the Columbia University Libraries' unified search system designed to improve information discovery and deliver enhanced services for students and faculty.  

To see whether an item is in the collection, search CLIO. You can also browse the titles in the collection by searching by location for "Columbia FLI Partnership Library" or "Barnard FLI Partnership Library." Browse both collections by searching just for "FLI Partnership Library."

How can I check out books?

You can check out the books from our FLI Partnership collections in the same way you would any other library material, after you have filled out our online, confidential FLI Partnership Libraries Access Form. During the Covid-19 pandemic, students can use the Libraries' paging and pick-up service. At other times, take books to the Circulation Desk on the third floor of Butler. To renew items, log into "My Library Account" in the upper right-hand corner of CLIO or the Libraries' main website.

How do I know if I am a first-generation college student?

At Columbia, a first-generation college student is identified as a student whose parent(s)/guardian(s) have not received a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree or completed a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree later in life. Any student who self-identifies in this way, or who may have limited support in navigating an institution like Columbia, is welcome to use the lending library.

How do I know if I am considered a low-income student?

There is no specific income level that determines eligibility for students to check out materials from the FLI Partnership Libraries. However, low-income students typically have little to no expected parent contribution as part of their financial aid package.

Does the Columbia FLI Partnership Library accept donations?

If you are interested in making a financial donation or a gift of books, please email us at:

What other options can FLI students use to get books?

Please see this list of additional options for getting books.  

What is the First-Generation Low-Income Partnership student group?

The First-generation, Low-Income Partnership is a recognized student club at Columbia University. The FLI Partnership Library is a collaboration between the student group and the Columbia University Libraries. The group primarily builds community for students who identify as first-generation and/or low-income, actively creates and advertises resources needed by FLI students, and advocates for and implements institutional change with the help of administrators. To learn more, check out the group's Facebook page. If you have questions regarding food insecurity, joining the board, attending general body meetings, or other resources the FLI Partnership offers students, please contact them at

What is the Barnard FLI Partnership Library?

The Barnard College Library maintains its own FLI Partnership Library, located on the fourth floor of the Library within The Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning. Open to both Barnard and Columbia undergraduates who identify as FLI students, Barnard's collection contains mostly textbooks and other course materials required for Barnard College majors. For more information, please visit the Barnard FLI Partnership page


Many members of the FLI community at Columbia University have worked and continue to work on the FLI Partnership libraries with valuable assistance from community members at Barnard College. Thanks to them, this initiative is possible. Thank you to everyone who has dedicated their time and efforts to make this partnership with the libraries a reality.