In addition to its 7 volumes, the Columbia library system contains over 65,000 serial subscriptions, nearly 6 million microfilms, 26 million manuscripts, over 600,000 rare books, over 100,000 videos and DVDs, and nearly 200,000 government documents. The library's collection would stretch 174 miles end-to-end, and is growing at a pace of 140,000 items per annum. The system attracts over 3 million visitors a year.
The libraries in the Columbia system include:
Additionally, Columbia shares an offsite shelving facility, located in Plainsboro, New Jersey, with the Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (RECAP), which includes the New York Public Library and the library system of Princeton University.
The confusingly titled Low Memorial Library, a prominent building on Columbia's campus emblazoned with the inscription "The Library of Columbia University", is no longer chiefly a library, serving instead as the university's administrative center. It was the university's central library from the 1890s to the 1930s, when due to shortage of space it was supplanted by Butler Library. The Columbia University Archives collection, formerly housed in Low, is now located within the Rare Book and Manuscript Library on the 6th floor of Butler Library.
As part of the Ivy League, Columbia participates in the BorrowDirect interlibrary loan program, which allows students at any of the Ivy League schools sans Harvard to borrow books from one another's libraries. The books are usually delivered within 3-4 business days.