Principal Institute Contact: Rob Davis

306 Lehman Library in the International Affairs Building) at 212 854-4701, or cell 646 824-6988.  Home: 212 758-1727.  E-mail:

For more detailed information on the collections, please take a look at some of the Columbia University Libraries’ web pages, starting with: (just CTRL+click this and all subsequent links).  The various categories in the drop-down menus will give you a sense of the collections and services available.  Please explore!

View of Butler Library, the largest of Columbia University Libraries’ twenty-two campus collections.

For those of you who haven’t used Columbia’s collections before, our online public access catalog (OPAC) is known as Clio.  You may search at:  CLIO Advanced Search

For general reference inquiries and other helpful library info, visit Ask a Librarian
Instructions on how to print may be found here:

Once on campus, if you run into any circulation issues, you can contact Bill Sees, Head, Circulation & Support Services, Butler Library. (212) 854-4734.  Bill is in the Library Info Office, just inside the main entrance to Butler.

PLEASE NOTE: All items in Avery, Rare Books, Microforms, and reference are for use IN THE LIBRARY. Special handling and use procedures govern the use of Avery & Rare Books materials.  You will be informed of any special procedures at the time of request.

If An Item is Offsite

Columbia, NYPL and Princeton share a purpose-built storage facility in New Jersey.  Probably 50% of the Slavic and East European collection—and all of the Central Asian holdings are kept offsite, in climate-controlled high-density storage.

Usually, turn-around is two- to three business days for requests received before noon.  Once on campus, you can request offsite items be delivered to Butler or Lehman, via CLIO.

I know how precious time is to Institute participants, so I am willing to submit a limited number of advance requests for offsite items that are ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL.

Electronic Resources

Aside from CLIO, our online public access catalogue, you will only be able to access Columbia’s vast e-resources ONSITE, and only from networked PCs in the libraries that do not require student privileges.  You will not be able to access subscription e-resources from laptops, nor will you be able to use the PCs in the computer labs.

The good news is that there are MANY such networked machines available:

Butler:  61, in Rooms 208, 300, 301, 304, 307, 310, 401, 503, 601, 607, 658, and Stacks 2-5, 7-8, and 10-12.
Lehman: 10, in Rooms 200, 300, 301, 309, 327.
Avery:    15 networked PCs, in Rooms 100, 200, 213, and 300.
Starr East Asian: 10 in Room 300.

There are several tools that can make your life easier when navigating the sea of databases available at Columbia.  I’ll mention a few of these at the orientation on June 13, but it may be best if I sit down with small groups or one-on-one in the afternoons to give a quick overview.

Summer Library Hours

Please note the hours below.  In general, Butler is accessible seven days a week, fairly late into the evening.  Those of you needing materials in other campus libraries (especially those closed all weekend or on Sundays) will need to plan accordingly.

There are some 22 libraries making up the Columbia University Libraries (CUL), plus the separate Law School and Teachers College (TC) Libraries.  All have quiet study spaces, group work spaces, and networked computers.  All are accessible to you (although borrowing privileges are limited to the 22 CUL units, not Law, TC, or Jewish Theological).  I would recommend, for example, checking out the new Science & Engineering Library on the northwest corner of the Morningside campus.   Their hours are posted at Columbia University Library | Library Hours

Butler Library. (Map #6) Link: Butler Library
Monday-Thursday 9 AM-11 PM;
Friday 9 AM-9 PM;
Saturday 11 AM-6 PM;
Sunday Noon-7 PM.
Contact for REFERENCE: Karen Green (Rm. 309C) 212 854 3031

Within Butler, the following units have separate hours:
Butler Media Center (208B; for non-circulating video viewing), and Butler Reserves (Rm. 208, for items on course reserve) Link: Butler Media Center
Monday-Friday 9 AM-9 PM;
Saturday 11 AM-6 PM;


Rare Books & Manuscripts (6th Floor NE) Link: Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Monday-Friday 9 AM-4:45 PM
Saturday & Sunday CLOSED
**Bakhmeteff: Tanya Chebotarev, 212 854-3986
Rare Books: Jane Siegel 212 854 8482
**On the Bakhmeteff Archive, follow this link Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian & East European Culture

Digital Humanities Center (Rm. 305) Link: Digital Humanities Center
Monday-Friday 1 PM-5 PM
Saturday & Sunday CLOSED
Contact: Bob Scott 212 854 7547

Lehman Social Sciences Library. International Affairs Building (Map #1.  Enter at 117th & Amsterdam, turn left, left at the courtyard, down the stairs, two levels) Link: Lehman Social Sciences Library
Monday-Thursday 9 AM-9PM
Friday 9AM-5 PM
Saturday 10AM-6PM

Within Lehman, the following unit has separate hours:

Digital Social Science Center (Rm. 300) Link: Digital Social Science Center
Monday-Friday 1 PM-5 PM
Saturday & Sunday CLOSED
Contact: Fadi Dagher 212 854 7768

Avery Library. Avery Hall (Map #2.  You enter at ground level, into a large reading room.  All book request desks, reference staff, and Avery Classics–rare books–are on the next level down). Link: Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library
Monday-Thursday 9AM-9PM
Friday 9AM-5PM
Saturday Noon-6PM
Architecture: Christine Sala +1 212 854 4629
Fine Arts: Paula Gabbard 212 854 6745
*Drawings& Archives: Janet Parks 212 854 6738
*Avery Classics: Carole Ann Fabian 212 854 3068
*Special collections, with different access procedures and hours.  CTRL + click to see these links: Avery Drawings & Archives Avery Classics Collection

C.V. Starr East Asian Library. Kent Hall (Map #7) Link: East Asian Library (Starr)
Monday-Friday 9AM-7PM
Saturday Noon-7 PM
Contact: Chengzhi Wang 212 854 3721

One of the world’s great research libraries, NYPL has particular strength in rare imprints, and humanities and social science materials in virtually all of the vernacular languages of the Eurasian peoples and cultures.  After the dissolution of the Slavic & Baltic, and Asian & Middle Eastern Divisions as separate units in 2008, rare book (former Slavic reserve, and oversize) materials were transferred to the care of the Rare Books Division, while stack books (the familiar *Q and *O call number titles) are serviced from the Main Reading Room (Room 315).
For general procedures, hours and contact information:

Three of the former Research Libraries of the NYPL will hold most of the kinds of materials covered in your individual research projects.  As a reminder, nothing leaves the building from any of these centers.

1. Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (main humanities & social sciences collections, including Rare Books, and the former Slavic & Baltic Division holdings)
42nd Street & Fifth Avenue.  Link: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building | The New York Public Library | The New York Public Library

General Building Hours
Monday, Thursday-Saturday 10 AM-6 PM
Tuesday and Wednesday 10 AM-8 PM
Sunday 1 PM-5 PM
Mr. HeeGwone Yoo is available at the Library 9:30 to 5:30 Tuesdays through Saturdays, and works the reference desk in Room 315 2-3 and 4-5 daily, and Rare Books on Saturdays.  His number: 212 930-0938, email:

Within the NYPL’s Schwarzman Building, there are a number of Special Collections.  The full list is found here: Special Collections at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building | The New York Public Library

Collections of particular note for the purposes of this Institute are
Manuscripts, Archives & Rare Books Division (3rd floor Northwest of the Schwarzman Building) Links: Rare Book Division | The New York Public Library and Manuscripts and Archives Division | The New York Public Library
by appointment only.
Rare Books: Tuesday-Saturday 1 PM-5 PM
Manuscripts: Tuesday-Saturday 10 AM-6 PM
Monday, Sunday CLOSED
Rare Books Contact: Jessica Pigza (212) 930-0989
Manuscripts Contact: Thomas Lannon (212) 930-9262

Note that this division requires individuals register through its website at LEAST THREE (3) BUSINESS DAYS before they may request materials.
Individuals will need to register in the Reading Room by filling out a registration form.  Or, they can register in advance by filling out the registration form at
Once registered, all attendees may place requests for collections and work freely in the Reading Room.
Note that there are cut offs regarding when request slips may be submitted for same-day retrieval.  Please consult Ms. Pigza or Mr. Lannon.

2. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard.  Link: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture | The New York Public Library | The New York Public Library
Tuesday-Thursday 12 PM-8 PM
Friday, Saturday 10 AM-6 PM
Mondays & Sundays CLOSED

3. NYPL for the Performing Arts
40 Lincoln Center.  Link: New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center | The New York Public Library | The New York Public Library
Monday, Thursday 12 PM-8 PM
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 12 PM-6 PM

4. Digital Gallery
Please be sure to check out the remarkable NYPL Digital Gallery of materials held by the Library.  It contains almost 30,000 engravings, lithographs, and printed books from the Slavic and Baltic countries.  Please experiment with searching various keywords and subject terms.  However, the quickest way into the Slavic-specific collections is via the following link: NYPL Digital Gallery | Browse Slavic and Baltic Collections, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

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We would recommend that you take a look at two older, but still valuable guides to relevant resources:
Robert A. Karlowich’s A Guide to Scholarly Resources on the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union in the New York Metropolitan Area. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1990, and

Steven A. Grant’s The Russian Empire and Soviet Union: A Guide to Manuscripts and Archival Materials in the United States, which is available electronically via the Library of Congress website. Link: Russian Empire and Soviet Union (European Reading Room, Library of Congress)

Other important guides include:
Wojciech Siemaszkiewicz, Marta Deyrup, and Robert Scott’s “East-Central European Collections of the Research Libraries, The New York Public Library, “ a special issue of  Slavic & East European Information Resources, v. 9, no. 4, 2008.

Hee-Gwone Yoo and Kristen A Regina’s Visual Resources from Russia and Eastern Europe in the New York Public Library: A Checklist.  New York: Ross Publishing, 2010.

Edward Allworth’s Nationalities of the Soviet East: Publications and Writing Systems: A Bibliographical Directory and Transliteration Tables for Iranian-and Turkic-language Publications, 1818-1945, Located in U.S. Libraries.  New York: Columbia, 1971, and his

Central Asian Publishing and the Rise of Nationalism: An Essay and a List of Publications in the New York Public Library.  New York: The Library, 1965.

National Endowment for the National Humanities