Columbia Libraries Launches "Columbia Library Columns" Website

(NEW YORK, June 26, 2009) Columbia University Libraries recently digitized the full run of Columbia Library Columns, the newsletter originally published by The Friends of Columbia Libraries from 1951 to 1996. The collection is now freely available online at


The digitized collection comprises some 6,900 pages in 46 volumes (135 issues). Over the years contributors included faculty, University administrators, writers, historians and collectors, as well as Columbia librarians.

The original goal in digitizing this journal was to provide access to the journal’s rich trove of information about individual special collections at Columbia, in articles written by donors, scholars and curators. Included, for example, are pieces by L.S. Alexander Gumby, who from 1901 to 1950 maintained extensive scrapbooks about every aspect of the “American Negro;” by Richard B. Morris on the collections of papers of John Jay, Gouverneur Morris, and the Mayor’s Court of New York City; by Jacques Barzun on the Hector Berlioz Collection; by Virgil Thomson on Gertrude Stein; and many others.

The journal also provides a wealth of information on issues relating broadly to the growth of Columbia University Libraries and its special collections during the forty-five years of its publication.

Columbia Library Columns provides an excellent overview of the Libraries during the second half of the 20th century,” said Jim Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian. “By extension, the collection also embodies a history of U. S. research libraries during the same period.”

Publication of Columbia Library Columns was overseen by Roland Baughman, Head of Columbia's Department of Special Collections, until his death in 1967; then by Kenneth A. Lohf, until his retirement in 1992; then, briefly, by Jean Ashton and Michael Stoller. Its final issue was Spring 1997.

The project to digitize Columbia Library Columns was a joint effort of the Columbia University's Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Preservation and Digital Conversion Division, and the Libraries Digital Program Division.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 25 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries at is the gateway to its services and resources.

06/26/09 LMK