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Manhattan Research Library Initiative (MaRLI)

The Manhattan Research Library Initiative (MaRLI) is a joint borrowing program between the New York Public Library, NYU and Columbia, which serves as a means to expand access to our research collections in order to better serve our researchers.  The program offers approved NYPL cardholders with a demonstrable research need the ability to access and borrow materials unavailable at NYPL from NYU and Columbia, and to borrow select NYPL general research materials usually reserved for on-site use.

For CUNY Graduate Center affiliates

Because of our long-standing relationship with the CUNY Graduate Center (GC), NYPL offers increased borrowing privileges for CUNY GC affiliates, allowing them to borrow select NYPL research materials usually reserved for on-site use.  In order to take advantage of these additional privileges, no additional forms are required: interested GC students and faculty should register by bringing their GC ID card to one of the four NYPL research libraries (the Science, Industry and Business Library, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the Library for the Performing Arts, or the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture) so their records can be updated.  

Eligibility for the MaRLI program

Any New York Public Library cardholder in good standing at all participating libraries and without any current fines is eligible to apply to participate to the MaRLI program.  Acceptance is based upon a demonstrated need for research materials not held by the New York Public Library, but accessible through the libraries of Columbia or NYU.   Columbia and NYU affiliates should apply for access from their home institution.

To participate in this program, individuals must first acquire a New York Public Library card, if they do not have one already. Interested researchers should consult with a research librarian at NYPL to determine whether the MaRLI program is appropriate for their research needs.  Applicants should then complete the online application for MaRLI membership as directed.  Applications will usually be processed within five business days. Applicants will be contacted by the Library via e-mail after that date. E-mails will be sent from

Upon admission to the program, MaRLI participants will need to visit a participating Research Library location to have their library card authorized and updated. Participants should bring the required identification listed here.    Please note, participation in the MaRLI program may be revoked at the discretion of participating libraries, in line with their general terms and conditions and particularly in the case of lost or damaged materials.

Borrowing Materials from Columbia or NYU

MaRLI participants should check NYPL’s holdings for items before borrowing them from Columbia or NYU.  The program supports access to those materials not available through the NYPL’s eligible research collection.  In order to access the libraries at Columbia or NYU, MaRLI participants should register at those libraries following their initial registration at one of the NYPL Research Libraries.  Registered MaRLI borrowers also have access to participating library facilities at NYU and Columbia University during regular hours of operation and borrowing privileges as follows:

  • On-site access to collections as comparable members of the host institution.
  • On-site access to electronic resources -  excluding resources with license agreements requiring institutional authentication.
  • Borrowing privileges for circulating print materials, including those materials that may be shelved in an off-site location. Standard loan period is 120 days. Some materials will have a shorter loan period at local sites, consult a librarian if you are unsure. Please note that multimedia, audio, video, microforms and other nonprint items are not currently included.
  • Materials are subject to recall.  
  • Renewal and recall procedures and fines are the same as those for comparable members of the host institution.
  • Materials shelved in an off-site location will be provided to the requestor in the most appropriate format, i.e., entire item or a scan of appropriate articles or chapters.
  • Appropriate reference/research assistance.

Borrowing Materials from NYPL

Participation in MaRLI allows for 120 day, non-renewable loans on select library materials available at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Science Industry and Business Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

Only books in good condition published from 1900-present will circulate; the condition will be determined by library staff when the book is delivered to the circulation desk and based on criteria supplied by NYPL’s preservation librarians.  In addition to books, the Music Division also circulates scores in good condition, printed after 1972.

Please note the following exceptions:

  • The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture circulates only books in good condition published from 1970-present. Additional restrictions on circulation may apply as appropriate.
  • Items from the Art and Architecture Division are not eligible to circulate through this program.

NYPL items that are not eligible for circulation through the MaRLI program, due to their age or condition, can be used in accordance with NYPL’s policies on research items use.  

As with all New York Public Library cards privileges, MaRLI privileges are non-transferable. In order to check out a research item from NYPL, MaRLI participants must present photo identification at the time of checkout.  MaRLI participants must also present a stamped receipt for their checked out materials when exiting the Library building.  In addition to policies outlined here, MaRLI participants remain subject to New York Public Library cardholder Terms and Conditions.

Returning Materials

All MaRLI-loaned items must be returned to the research library from which they were borrowed.  NYPL research materials must be returned to the desk from which they were borrowed, and cannot be returned through a dropbox or to an NYPL circulating branch.  Late fees will be applied for any items not returned on or before their due date.  Borrowing privileges for MaRLI-eligible items as well as NYPL circulating items will be temporarily suspended for NYPL cardholders whose accounts accrue over $15 in fines and fees; privileges will resume upon payment of fines and fees.  MaRLI privileges may be rescinded if a MaRLI-eligible item is lost or if payment for replacement is not made.  Cardholders with past-due balances in excess of $50 are subject to contact by a collection agency and the application of an additional $10 mandatory charge to their record.  Borrowers are responsible for the replacement cost of library materials that are declared lost. The Library will not accept replacement of the actual item.

Recall of Borrowed Materials

Items lent as part of this initiative may be recalled at any time if requested by another Library patron.  Notification of recall will be made via email and MaRLI participants will have two weeks to return the item to the original lending library before late charges begin to accumulate.

For more information about the partnership between NYPL, Columbia and NYU, see

To apply, please complete the online application. If you are unsure whether MaRLI serves your needs, please speak with a librarian at any of our Research Libraries.