|Type||Academic Library system|
|Location||Columbia University, New York City, NY|
|Access and use|
|Population served||Over 4 million|
|Director||Ann D. Thornton|
Columbia University Libraries is the library system of Columbia University and is one of the top five academic library systems in North America and top ten largest libraries by volumes held. With 11.9 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials, it is the fifth largest academic library in the United States and the largest academic library in the State of New York. The services and collections are organized into 21 libraries and various academic technology centers, including affiliates. The organization employs more than 500 professional and support staff and is located on the university's Morningside Heights campus in New York City. Additionally, Columbia is part of the Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (ReCAP) along with Harvard Library, Princeton University Library and New York Public Library.
The Columbia library system contains over 65,000 serial subscriptions, nearly six million microfilms, 26 million manuscripts, over 600,000 rare books, over 100,000 videos and DVDs, and nearly 200,000 government documents. The library's collection would stretch 174 miles end-to-end, and is growing at a pace of 140,000 items per annum. The system attracts over four million visitors a year.
The libraries in the Columbia system include:
Additionally, Columbia shares an off-site shelving facility, located in Plainsboro, New Jersey, with the Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (RECAP), which includes the New York Public Library and the library system of Harvard University and Princeton University.
Low Memorial Library, a prominent building on Columbia's campus emblazoned with the inscription "The Library of Columbia University", is no longer a main library, serving instead as the university's administrative center. It was the university's central library from the 1890s to the 1930s, when due to shortage of space it was supplanted by Butler Library. The Columbia University Archives collection, formerly housed in Low Library, is now located within the Rare Book and Manuscript Library on the 6th floor of Butler Library.
Columbia University Libraries administers several annual prizes and awards, including the prestigious Bancroft Prize given out for distinguished work in the field of history. The library system also administers the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, which honors Edward Kennedy's love of theater and interest in American history.