Borrow Direct

***Please note that due to pandemic-related delays the delivery time is 1-2 weeks for all Borrow Direct requests.***

Log in to Borrow Direct

Please find up-to-date information the Libraries Status Updates webpage


Borrow Direct enables current faculty, students and staff from Columbia, Barnard, and Union Theological Seminary to request material from partner libraries.  Log in to your CLIO My Library Account to view items charged out to you.  Borrow Direct materials are listed in all-caps with an Item Type of bdir.

The Borrow Direct service also can be used to search for and request materials held by the Center for Research Libraries (CRL).  Requests for CRL materials are routed through the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) system, allowing for longer loan periods of books, dissertations, journals, and newspapers in print or microform.

You may request materials from the following institutions:






Johns Hopkins University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)



University of Chicago

University of Pennsylvania


Please check the Columbia University Library Privileges website for eligibility.

Printed books, music scores, DVDs and CDs not available at Columbia, with the following exceptions:

  • Non-circulating materials from other library collections
  • Journal articles or bound journals (bound journals can be requested only from the Center for Research Libraries)
  • Microforms (can be borrowed only from University of Chicago and Center for Research Libraries)

Loan Periods and Returns: Sixteen (16) weeks and not renewable.  Contact if you have any questions or require assistance.

Recalls: All Borrow Direct books are subject to recall by the lending partner.  Most recalls are for books intended for Reserves.  Please return all recalled items as soon as possible.   

Hold Period: You will be notified by email when your request is available for pick-up.  All items will be held for 7 days at the selected delivery locations.   

Turnaround Time: Please expect a longer turnaround time than the usual 3-5 business days.  A business day for the Libraries is Monday to Friday, excluding University Holidays.  An email notice will be sent to your Columbia email account when item is ready for pick-up.

Request delivery to any of the following libraries:

  • Avery Library
  • Barnard Library
  • Burke Library [UTS]
  • Business & Economics Library
  • Butler Library
  • East Asian Library (Starr)
  • Health Sciences
  • Journalism Library
  • Lehman Library
  • Mathematics Library
  • Music Library
  • Science & Engineering Library
  • Social Work Library

To request scans or loans that are outside the scope of Borrow Direct use Interlibrary Loan or consult the Request Items & Services webpage. 

Having trouble deciding between Borrow Direct and ILL?  Compare services.

  • Click on the "Pick-Up (Borrow Direct)" link in CLIO and enter your Columbia University Network ID (UNI) and password.  
  • Enter your search term(s) in the single Simple Search box, or click on Advanced Search for more options.  Advanced Search gives you the option to:
    • search by keyword, author, title, subject and/or ISBN
    • combine two or more search types, e.g. author & title or keyword & subject
    • limit your search to “all of these words,” “any of these words,” or “this phrase”
  • The multi-color spinning circle icon indicates the search progress. 
  • Click on the specific title to determine if it can be borrowed via Borrow Direct.  A format icon displays on the right-hand side of the results to help you focus on the pertinent version.
  • The system will look for available copies (“Searching for sources of this title”) and will display the results below the item’s bibliographic information.  Note: You may have to scroll down to see all available copies.
  • If the item is available to borrow via Borrow Direct, select a pick-up location from the drop-down list, include a pertinent note if necessary in the Volume(s) Needed field, and click on the Request button.
    • If the item is available to check out at Columbia, click the link View in the COLUMBIA Library Catalog to view in CLIO.  If the item is held at Offsite, place a request for it using the "Pick-Up" hyperlink in CLIO.
  • A request submission message will display, including your request number.
  • An e-mail confirmation of your request will be sent to you, generally within a few minutes.  Save the e-mail and request number in case you wish to check on the status of your request at a later time.  Another e-mail will be sent to alert you when the item is available for pick–up.
  • Please log out.  Make sure to click on the Logout link that appears at the top of the Borrow Direct screen to ensure your privacy and the security of the system.

Location: 106 Butler Library
Phone: 212-854-7535