Update on the Status of Renovations of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library

November 27, 2023

The following is an announcement from Jim Cheng, Director of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library


Dear Faculty and Students:

I am writing to provide an update on the C.V. Starr East Asian library renovation project.

The fire sprinkler, alarm system, and window replacement projects in Starr Library have been completed as planned.

However, during these upgrades and in order to comply with all current safety standards, the Facilities team discovered that the over 110-year-old original plaster ceiling in Starr Library’s main reading room (300 level) would also need to be removed and replaced. The Facilities team is now preparing funding proposals for the ceiling replacement, which need to be approved by the Board of Trustees.

In alignment with advice from the Facilities team, the extensive scaffolding structure already constructed will stay in place to facilitate the ceiling work, and the library will remain closed until the new ceiling is installed. This construction is tentatively expected to be completed by the end of the 2024 calendar year, though we will keep you updated on progress. We are planning to reopen our library as soon as possible following the completion of the project.

We will continue to provide the current library services as listed below:

General collections:

●      Circulating and non-circulating general collections are requestable in CLIO and available for pickup at the Butler Library Circulation Desk. Non-circulating general collections will continue to be “In-Library-Use-Only” at Butler.

●      Access to general collections are restricted to Columbia students, faculty, staff, alumni, retirees, and emeriti with an active CUID card. External researchers not affiliated with Columbia are encouraged to consult their home library to gain access to materials through partner libraries.

Rare and special collections:

●      Users needing to access rare and special collections should first email [email protected] for assistance. Collections will be served via the Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) in Butler Library by advance appointment only.

Reference and Course Materials

●      In consultation with faculty, a selection of the Starr’s reference materials was identified and temporarily placed and made accessible in Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library throughout the Starr Library closure.

●      All course reserve materials are accessible in Avery Library.