Columbia University Libraries, New York

Temporary Columbia University Libraries Identification Card for Reference and Stack Privileges issued to Elenor M. Alexander on July 13, 1942 for one week expiring July 20, 1942

1940s Columbia University Libraries Card (front)
1940s Columbia University Libraries Card (back)

Columbia University Libraries

Columbia University’s Low Library (Public Domain – pre-1923 postcard)

The Library of Columbia University, also known as the Low Library, served as the main library from 1890s to the 1930s.  By the 1930s, the Low Library had over a million volumes and space because an issue, but with a .4 million dollar donation from the Standard Oil Company, the new Butler Library, with space for over 2 million volumes, was constructed and opened in 1934.  Today, the Columbia University Libraries hold more than 5 million volumes, as well as 2.5 million microform unites and 22 million manuscript items.  The Columbia University Library system collection would stretch nearly 174 miles.  It is the fifth largest academic library in the United States and the largest academic library in the State of New York.  The Low Library now serves as the university’s administrative center.

The libraries currently in the Columbia University Library System are:

• Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

• Barnard College Library

• Burke Library at the Union Theological Seminary 

• Business & Economics Library (Watson) at the Columbia Business School 

• Butler Library

• Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research

• Columbia Center for Oral History

• Columbia University Archives

• Digital Humanities Center

• Digital Science Center

• Digital Social Science Center

• East Asian Library (Starr)

• Engineering Library (Monell)

• Geology Library

• Geoscience Library at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Pallisades, NY 

• Global Studies

• Health Sciences Library at the Columbia University Medical Center in Washington Heights in Manhattan

• Jewish Theological Seminary

• Journalism Library

• Arthur W. Diamond Law Library at the Columbia Law School  

• Lehman Social Sciences Library at the School of International School of International and Public Affairs  

• Mathematics Library

• Milstein Undergraduate Library of  Columbia College 

• Music & Arts Library (Weiner)

• Off-Site Shelving Facility (ReCAP)

• Rare Book & Manuscript Library

• Science & Engineering Library

• Journalism Library of Columbia Journalism School 

• Social Work Library of Columbia University School of Social Work

• The Gottesman Libraries of Teachers College

1954 commemorative 3 cent stamp celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Low Memorial Library

Dr. Charles Clarence Williamson

From the Library Journal April 1, 1920 (Public Domain)

C. C. Williamson (1877-1965) served as Director of the Columbia University Libraries and Dean of the Columbia School of Library Service from 1926 to 1940.  He began his career at the New York Public Library in 1911 using his background in economics to become the head of the  then new Division of Economics. His 1919 report for the Carnegie Corporation, The Williamson Report, criticized the educational requirements of librarians and believed a university graduate degree and not a college bachelor’s degree was the appropriate education for professional librarians.  In response to the Williamson Report, The Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago was founded in 1928 and provided librarians with a one year of postgraduate education in librarian science.  By the 1950s, most library schools offered master’s programs in library science.  In 1999, Williamson was named as one of 100 American librarians that made a lasting impact on library service.  

Elenor M. Alexander 

Elenor M. Alexander (Naughton) (1920-1995), born in Morristown, New Jersey, was the night supervisor at the Ocean County Observer for 10 years, and as a 40-plus year resident of Brick, New Jersey, served her community as a Girl Scout and Cub Scout leader.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s