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Guide to Navigating Library Resources and Textbook Access


Here's a link to our presentation (note: need Barnard login to access)

Glossary of Terms for Library Resources

Welcome to Barnard Library! Below is a list of library terms and links to resources that can help you in your coursework. You can also check out the Barnard Library website for more information.



Barnard Archives and Special CollectionsThe Barnard Archives and Special Collections collect the history of Barnard College from founding to present day, in every format (handwritten letters, facebook pages, VHS tapes, yearbooks, and more!). We also collect “special collections”--materials unrelated to Barnard--in the topical areas of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as well as Dance. The Archives are yours--for researching the history of Barnard (or adding your own materials to the collections), finding primary sources for coursework, or connecting to other archives in New York and beyond.


Borrow Direct: Borrow Direct is a service that enables Barnard and Columbia students, faculty, and staff to borrow books directly from the libraries of Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale. Books are delivered within 3-5 days, with a 16 week loan period. Columbia has created a helpful chart that compares Borrow Direct to a similar service, Interlibrary Loan.


Design Center: The Design Center is a creative makerspace--supporting design, prototyping, and production of objects. It has a laser cutter, 3D printers, a soldering station, a sewing machine, a vinyl cutt

er, basic hand tools, woodshop tools, and more.


Empirical Reasoning Center (ERC): Empirical reasoning is the process of thinkingcritically about organizing, analyzing, and visualizing qualitative, quantitative, and/or geospatial data. The ERC canhelp you through each step of the research process, from basic research design and formulating a hypothesis to data analysis and visualization to interpreting and presenting results.


FLIP Library: The Columbia and Barnard First-Generation Low-Income Partnership (FLIP) maintains a lending library of textbooks and other course texts inside the Barnard Library, as well as on the 4th floor of Butler Library at Columbia. Students identifying as first-generation or low-income can gain full semester access to FLIP collection materials by filling out the online FLI Partnership Libraries Access Form. The Library's  guide Making Required Texts Affordable offers additional strategies for finding affordable course materials.

IMATS/Media Center: IMATS (which stands for Instructional Media and Technology Services) and the Media Center provide space and resources to learn about and do media production. IMATS has an equipment checkout, where you can borrow DSLR cameras, audio recording equipment, lighting rigs, other video equipment, and AV equipment (like projectors, speakers, and microphones), as well as get training in how to use the equipment. In the Media Center, on the first floor of the Milstein Center, you’ll find a media editing lab (with software for audio, video, and image editing) and a production studio.

Interlibrary LoanIs a service that enables Barnard and Columbia students, faculty and staff to borrow books from libraries around the globe. Book delivery depends on where the originating library is located, and loan periods vary. Interlibrary loan offers users scanning of articles and book chapters. Columbia has created a helpful chart that compares Borrow Direct to a similar service, Borrow Direct.

CLIO Library CatalogA library catalog is the research tool that helps you locate books, ebooks, CDs, DVDs, journals, databases, and other kinds of research materials available to you at the library in physical and digital form. CLIO, the Columbia/Barnard library catalog, covers the collections of 23 libraries within the Columbia Libraries system and its partners.

Personal Librarians: Personal Librarians (PLs) are a personalized link to the library and its resources. First-Years are assigned a PL based on their floor in the Quad, and again once they’ve declared a major with the librarian covering that subject. You can book an appointment with your PL to find resources for your assignments, to hone your research questions, and even to just connect with other centers in the library that support the kind of work you are doing. In short, PLs are your point-person for all things library related!

Research Guides: Research guides are online resources created by librarians for specific subjects and courses. In them you will find resources that they’ve organized to support the research you are doing for your class. You can find research guides on the Library’s website, or through CourseWorks - the online course site for each of your classes.

ReservesReserves are required texts and other materials that a professor places on hold in the library for class use.  At Barnard Library reserves are kept behind the circulation desk and are made available for a limited loan periods (usually two hours) because they are in high in demand. You can access the reserves list for Columbia and Barnard by following this link.

Stressbusters: Stressbusters is a study break event held at the library a couple of times every semester. We provide snacks, and Stressbusters (student volunteers) give free neck rubs.

Virtual Reference: You can chat with an online librarian through the CLIO catalog through Ask a Librarian, or by using the Chat Bear widget on the Barnard Library website.

Zines: A zine, short for fanzine or magazine, is a DIY (do it yourself) subculture self-publication, usually made on paper and reproduced with a photocopier or printer. Zine creators are often motivated by a desire to share knowledge or experience with people in marginalized or otherwise less-empowered communities. Barnard's zines collection contains zines created by women (cis- and transgender) with an emphasis on zines by women of color. We collect zines on feminism and femme identity by people of all genders. The zines are personal and political publications on activism, anarchism, body image, third wave feminism, gender, parenting, queer community, riot grrrl, sexual assault, trans experience, and other topics.