Barnard FLIP Library



About the Barnard FLIP Library

Created in collaboration with the Columbia First-Generation Low-Income Partnership (FLIP) and the Barnard Library, the Barnard FLIP Library is a collection on the fourth floor of the Barnard Library that seeks to provide textbooks and other course materials for low-income and/or first-generation students. It was inspired by Columbia’s FLIP Library, which is housed on the 4th floor of Butler Library.

When designing this library, it was crucial to us that students could check out materials from the collection without personally “outing” themselves as a low-income and/or first-generation student, as we recognize that students value their privacy. However, it was also important to us that we reserved borrowing privileges to low-income and/or first-generation students. Finally, we wanted to ensure that the process of checking out a book from the Barnard FLIP Library was as efficient and simple as possible.

Thus, the Barnard Library and FLIP decided on a system in which all of the materials in the collection are in circulation, but borrowing privileges are limited to only those who identify themselves as low-income and/or first-generation and elect to receive access. Moreover, this is why we created an online FLIP library access form where students could provide their UNI and, through an honor system, certify that they identify as a low-income and/or first-generation student. This way, the process of receiving access is as anonymous as possible, while still ensuring that only those who identify as low-income and/or first-generation students take advantage of the collection’s materials. (We also ask that students provide their school and class year, though you are by no means required to do so to receive access to the Barnard FLIP Library. We collect this information for statistical purposes only).

Access & Borrowing

Any student who identifies as low-income and/or first-generation and attends Barnard College, Columbia College, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, or the School of General Studies may check out materials from the Barnard FLIP Library. To receive borrowing privileges, students must provide their UNI in this form.

If you complete the form before 4pm Monday through Thursday, you will have access by 9am the following morning. If you complete the form between 4pm Thursday and 4pm Monday, you will have access by 9am the following Tuesday morning. After that time, you may check out a book from the collection just like you would any other book in the Barnard Library.

Students who identify as low-income and/or first-generation may receive borrowing privileges by completing this form and check out items from this collection for the entire semester with unlimited renewals.

To find out if the textbook you need is available in our collection, check CLIO, the catalog for Barnard and Columbia Libraries. You can run an advanced search with location Barnard FLIP and any other search terms.


Before donating any materials to the Barnard FLIP Library, please ensure that any book(s) meet the following guidelines. We look forward to and thank you for your donation. 
The Barnard FLIP Library accepts books in the following condition:
  • Books in good physical condition
  • All forms of reading material(s) used in recent (past two years) Columbia and/or Barnard courses–including books, textbooks, course packets, and binder books
The Barnard FLIP Library is unable to accept books in the following condition:
  • Books that are in poor physical condition–including missing pages, broken spines, or significant staining
  • Books that are heavily annotated, written in, or highlighted in pen, highlighter, or other permanent markers
  • Books that have never been used (or have not been used in the past two years) in Columbia and/or Barnard courses
You may bring donated books to the Barnard Library Circulation & Help Desk in the Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning. Please only bring books when the Circulation & Help desk is open and make sure to specify that the book(s) are a donation for the Barnard FLIP Library. You’ll receive a slip of paper where you’ll identify the corresponding Columbia and/or Barnard class(es), department(s), and semester(s) for your donated book(s). 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I am a first-generation college student?

The formal definition of a first-generation college student is a student whose parents did not complete a bachelor’s degree. However, at the Barnard Library, our definition is not rigid— rather, we consider a first-generation student to be any student who may self-identify as not having prior exposure to or knowledge of navigating institutions such as Barnard and Columbia and may need additional support. For example, this may include students whose parents attended a four-year college in an educational system outside of the United States, or students who have only had close contact to people with minimal college experience.

How do I know if I am considered "low-income"?

There is no income level that determines eligibility for students to check out materials from the Barnard FLIP Library. However, low-income students typically have little to no expected parent contribution as part of their financial aid package. 

Other Resources and Support