November 9, 2008

Stacks in the City, Part 1: Butler Library

Posted by at 7:00 am in Reads | Permalink

Hey, Splotters!

Over the next few months I will be featuring different New York City
libraries in a series of blog entries entitled, “Stacks in the City.”
What can you expect? Well, as Carrie Bradshaw’s addiction is to shoes,
mine is to books!

First up: Butler Library at Columbia University . . .

As a graduate of Columbia, I had to step back into the place where I
spent most of my time for four years: the library that we students
liked to call, “Mr. Butler, our Friday night date.”

Butler Library houses over 2 million books! Where do they put them
all, you ask? The stacks! Here are just a few quick facts about their

  • The Butler stacks consist of 12 floors.
  • Butler contains a 15-tier, steel-shelved stack. At the time it
    was constructed (in the 1970s), it was the largest stack ever built as
    a single unit.
  • The Butler stacks collection consists of books in the
    humanities (including documents and materials published before 1974),
    literature, philosophy, religion, and one of the country’s most
    extensive collections of materials on Greco-Roman antiquity.

Thank goodness for their nifty catalog system — even with so many books, you can still find what you need relatively easily.


You could spend nearly all day browsing the 12 floors worth of
books! However, the library shuts the doors at 9:00 p.m. And though
spending the night surrounded by tons of wonderful and interesting
books sounds great . . . I prefer to come back the next day to continue

— Carly M., STACKS Staffer

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