A Message from the University Librarian

Dear members of the Columbia community,

With the current and evolving events on the Columbia University Morningside campus, there is no more important time than now to affirm the essential role of libraries in providing reliable and safe spaces for all Columbia students, faculty, staff, and visitors, regardless of identity, belief system, political or religious affiliation. 

As I write this letter today, our libraries are full of students – some are studying for finals, some are researching and writing papers, some are conversing with fellow students or library workers, and some are sitting in quiet reflection. The library is at the heart of our campus, it is for everyone, and Columbia University Libraries remains committed to serving the core guiding values of librarianship (as affirmed by the American Library Association), which include:

  • Access: Access for everyone in the community to obtain library resources and services with minimal disruption. By keeping our libraries open, we affirm our commitment to the well-being and empowerment of every individual.
  • Equity: Create inclusive library environments where everyone can benefit from the library.
  • Intellectual Freedom: Encourage people to cultivate curiosity and form ideas by questioning the world and accessing information from diverse viewpoints and formats without restrictions or censorship. 
  • Privacy: The right to privacy is a crucial safeguard to intellectual freedom, ensuring everyone has the right to develop their thoughts and opinions free of surveillance. 
  • Public Good: Libraries are an essential public good and are fundamental institutions in democratic societies. Library workers provide the highest service levels to create informed, connected, educated, and empowered communities.

To serve these values in action and to ensure continuity of research and study by the entire Columbia community, the Libraries remain openboth physically and virtually through CLIO and our Ask A Librarian service

Finally, I want to acknowledge the incredible strength, resiliency, and dedication of all our library staff who serve the Columbia community, adapting swiftly to campus conditions to meet the evolving needs of our diverse user communities, ensuring that safe spaces and knowledge remain accessible to all. 

As we continue to navigate current local and world events, we remain all the more committed to these core values of librarianship and we welcome the entire Columbia community into your libraries.

Ann Thornton

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