Columbia partners with a number of organizations to enable access to our libraries and collections for members.  Visitors from the following groups have certain privileges with proper photo ID. If you are not a member of one of the following organizations, privileges can be purchased for a fee, see below. 

Visiting Faculty

Faculty from institutions outside the New York City area that are not part of SHARES are entitled to a five day readers card once per semester. Please visit the Library Information Office in room 201 Butler. A university ID card, and a government issued photo ID card must be presented to staff in the Library Information Office. 

Fee-paying Visitor Access & Borrowing:

Visitors not affiliated with Columbia University may use our facilities and collections for a fee of $75 per month, or $750 per year, plus a $20 fee for an ID card (waived at annual rate).  Paid privileges include:

  • Physical access to most of our library facilities during regular business hours
  • Ability to borrow up to 20 items from our circulating collections at a time
  • Use of public computers in library facilities 
  • Access to most e-resources while using public computers in library facilities 

Visitors must visit the Library Information Office in Butler Library to obtain an ID card.  A valid government-issued photo ID is required.  Acceptable forms of payment are Visa, MasterCard, Discover or personal check. For additional information about library privileges, please visit or contact the Library Information Office.

Policies & Restrictions:

  • The primary purpose of the Columbia University Libraries is to serve the teaching, research and scholarly activities of Columbia faculty, staff and students. To best fulfill this mission, access restrictions are in effect in most libraries. Columbia affiliates or authorized visitors must show a valid Columbia ID or visitor ID before entering the libraries.
  • Visitor privileges do not include the following services: Interlibrary Loan, Borrow Direct, Scan & Deliver, guest privileges, use of academic year lockers, off-campus access to electronic resources, 24-hour access to library facilities, group study room reservations, and Columbia e-mail accounts. 
  • Hours of library facilities vary. Please consult the hours website before visiting. 
  • The Business Library and the Law Library have restricted access during midterms and finals periods. Visitors may not purchase privileges for the Health Sciences Library or Teacher's College Library
  • Students and faculty may bring guests into the Libraries by visiting the Library Information Office with valid government-issued photo ID. The student or faculty member sponsoring the guest must present their Columbia ID card. Students only have guest privileges on Saturdays and Sundays. 
  • Borrowing privileges will not be renewed if outstanding obligations are owed the Libraries by a visitor.
  • Borrowing Privileges may not apply at the Law Library, or the libraries of Barnard College and Teachers College. Ask at the Library Information Office for details.