Expanding access to NYPL, Columbia University, & Princeton University shared collections

Maureen Richards

During the first few weeks of the fall semester, you may have noticed the New York Public Library (NYPL) table in the Atrium. NYPL staff were present to streamline the process for getting a fully activated NYPL library card, with a barcode and PIN.

Hundreds of students signed up, many of whom learned they were eligible to receive a NYPL library card simply because they attend a school in New York City. Those who thought they had an active card—NYPL cards must be renewed every 3 years—were able to make sure that they did.

John Jay librarians were also on hand to explain that in addition to the 88 neighborhood branches that focus on serving the needs of the local community, NYPL cardholders have access to world-renowned scholarly resources that include:

  • NYPL’s four research libraries
  • Hundreds of specialized and multidisciplinary databases
  • Thousands of ebooks
  • Shared Collection Catalog

The research materials in the databases and ebooks are appropriate for academic work and are accessible remotely, so long as you have an active NYPL barcode and PIN.  

NYPL’s Shared Collection Catalog is the newest tool for discovering the research collections available to NYPL library card holders. This catalog searches all of NYPL’s on-site research collection and items stored in an off-site facility that is owned and operated by NYPL, Columbia University, and Princeton University libraries, to facilitate the sharing of resources. Through this new Shared Collection Catalog, you can now easily search, find, and gain access to millions of items that are part of this shared collection.

How the Shared Collection Catalog works

Start at the Shared Collection Catalog search box which can be found behind the Research tab on the NYPL homepage. It looks like this:

Search bar in the catalog

Conduct a search and look under Status to see if the item is available at an NYPL location or whether you have to request the item:

Book title with location specific as offsite, with a Request button

When the item is not immediately available, you can click on the title to find out more, including which of the three libraries systems owns the materials. Once you request an item, you will be prompted to enter your active NYPL barcode and PIN, then choose a delivery option. Materials can be delivered to one or more locations at NYPL research libraries or you can request to have a small portion (such as the table of contents, single article, book chapter or index) of the item scanned and emailed to you.

If you order a book before 2:30pm, Monday through Thursday, it will be delivered to NYPL the next day. Special items, like films that need projectors, will be delivered to the NYPL library with the viewing equipment. Keep in mind that these items may not be taken out of the NYPL building, but they will keep any requested materials on hold for you as long as you need them—so you can come back each day and use them.

If you have already used this new Shared Collection Catalog, please let us know about your experience.  If you have not, start exploring it now!

More from the Fall 2018 newsletter