Research Borrowing Programs

Borrowing Programs for Qualified Researchers

In order to increase accessibility to our collections, the New York Public Library is offering eligible users the opportunity to borrow select materials from the Research general collections based on the following criteria:

  • NYPL cardholder in good standing (please resolve any blocks or delinquencies on your library account)
  • Demonstration that resources available through the home institution have been exhausted 
  • Demonstration of a sustained need for access to the resources of the NYPL general research collections
  • Requested materials are deemed appropriate for circulation

Research borrowing privileges may be granted to eligible researchers by librarians at any NYPL Research Center. Please discuss your research needs with a librarian to learn more. 

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 three NYPL research libraries (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.  


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.

Please note: Visitors to Columbia University's Butler Library should first consult the library visitor information website at  For access to Bobst Library at NYU, please email them directly at

Members of the MaRLI program will be alerted if and when access policies change. All visitors must comply with the  visitor policies of the univeristy. 

Eligibility for the MaRLI program

Acceptance to the MaRLI program is based upon a demonstrated need for sustained access to 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, researchers must be a New York Public Library cardholder in good standing at all participating libraries. Interested researchers may schedule a consultation with a librarian at a Research Library to determine whether the MaRLI program is appropriate for their research needs. MaRLI privileges may be offered  during consultations where NYPL resources are not sufficient to meet long-term research needs. 

Upon admission to the program, MaRLI participants will need to have their library card authorized and updated at a participating  Research Library location. 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 the NYPL Research borrowing programs allows for 120 day, non-renewable loans on select library materials available at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, 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 these programs, 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 card privileges, Research borrowing privileges are non-transferable. In order to check out a research item from NYPL,  participants must present photo identification at the time of checkout.  Participants must also present a stamped receipt for their checked out materials when exiting the Library building.  In addition to policies outlined here,  Research borrowers remain subject to New York Public Library cardholder Terms and Conditions.

Returning Materials

All Research-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.  Borrowing privileges for eligible items as well as NYPL circulating items will be temporarily suspended for NYPL cardholders whose accounts accrue  $100 or more in fines and fees; privileges will resume upon payment of late fines and fees.  Borrowers are responsible for a $200 replacement fee for library materials that are declared lost. The Library will not accept replacement of the actual item. Please note: Research Borrower privileges may be permanently rescinded if an eligible item is lost, even after payment for replacement is made.  

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 participants will have two weeks to return the item to the original lending library before late charges begin to accumulate.