Services for Undergraduates


Welcome to the Columbia Libraries!

Columbia University Libraries (CUL) offers a wealth of collections, spaces and services to support your research, study and learning. Each tab in this guide highlights information selected especially for undergraduate students.

Want to know more? Visit our Libraries online or in person. Or send me email. I'd be glad to answer any questions you have.

Also make sure to meet Jim Crocamo, the Head of Access and User Experience in the Science & Engineering Library, if you are studying engineering or other science disciplines. You can reach him at: 

Jim Crocamo
Science & Engineering Library - 401 NWC
(212) 854-6769


Collections: Books, Articles, DVDs, E-Journals, Graphic Novels

Q. How do I find out if Columbia has a book, ebook, journal, DVD, etc.?
Check the catalog for all 17 of Columbia’s libraries, CLIO.

Q. How do I locate books on the shelf?
A. Find the call number in the library catalog CLIO. Go to the CLIO Location Guide.

Q. How do I check out library materials?
Your Columbia ID is your library card and you check out materials at the library circulation service desk. In Butler Library, the service desk  is located on the third floor (one flight up from the entrance level). There is also a self-checkout machine located at the circ desk.

Q. How long is the loan period for library materials?
A. It varies. Many books circulate for several months (semester loan) at a time. Items on reserve might only circulate for two hours at a time. Ask when you check it out or see our loan policies.

Q. How do I see what I have checked out or renew library materials?
A. Use CLIO's My Account feature.

Q. How do I find films in CLIO and where can I view them?
A. See the Butler Media Services page.

Q. What does it mean when the book's location is listed as Offsite?
A. Offsite books are located at an off-campus facility in Princeton, NJ that Columbia operates jointly with Princeton and NYPL. Click the "Request from Offsite" button in the blue sidebar of the CLIO record and submit the form. Materials requested from Offsite are filled within one to two business days.

Q. What do I do if the book/article I want is checked out or Columbia doesn’t own it?
Try these free services

      BorrowDirect (books)

      Interlibrary Loan (books and articles)

      Other Request It Services

Q. Can I use the NYU Libraries?
 Yes. NYU and Columbia have a cooperative agreement that allows reciprocal on-site access.

Course Reserves

Course Readings on Reserve

Q. What are Course Reserves?
These are faculty-selected library materials: books, chapters, articles, available for short-term loan. They may be print or e-reserves. Many library locations have Reserves Desks. For more information on loan policies and locations, see the Course Reserves page.

Q. How do I find out what my professor has put on reserve for a class?
There a couple of ways to find out what is on reserve for your class.
       -- From the class CourseWorks page, click on Library Reserves in the sidebar.
       -- Use the Course Reserves link in CLIO and look up your class by instructor name or department.
     For more information, see the Course Reserves Help page.