Library Reviews: The Papyrology And Epigraphy Reading Room

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Ooohhh the chandeliers

Ooohhh the chandeliers

Our next library review takes you to our most used and well-known places of study: Butler Library. It’s nice to be adventurous every once and awhile, but when you’re in sweatpants and just need to get down to business, Butler always has your back. 

Location: Eastern wing of the 6th floor of Butler. Accessible library.

Hours: 9 AM to 11 PM, Monday-Thursday. 9 AM to 9 PM, Friday. 11 AM to 6 PM, Saturday. Noon to 11 PM, Sunday. Note: This room is used for a payrology and epigraphy seminar each semester. This semester, the room is unavailible between 4 PM and 5:30 PM on Thursdays.

Contact: (212) 854-7309, butler@library.columbia.edu, http://library.columbia.edu/locations/butler/papyrus.html


  • Total: 14 Seats
  • Carrels: N/A
  • Comfy Chairs: 1 Seats
  • Computers: N/A
  • Tables: 13 Seats
  • Seats for Talking: 0 (this is a research reading room)


  • Printers: 1 printer in the room next door.
  • Scanners: No scanners.
  • Lighting: Warmer incandescent lighting than the rest of Butler, and natural light from both the North and East is let in through multiple windows.
  • Chairs: Pretty basic chairs similar to the rest of Butler.
  • Outlets: Outlets regularly spaced at the main table, a few wall outlets scattered around.
  • Computers: No computers.
  • Bathrooms: A men’s bathroom is found in the eastern wing of Butler 6, a women’s bathroom in the western wing. This is the only (good) floor with a men’s bathroom in the eastern wing, meaning the men’s bathroom is only a few steps down the hall from the Papyrology and Epigraphy Reading Room.
  • Water Fountains: Multiple water fountains on both sides of Butler 6, of varying quality.
  • Food/Drink: “ABSOLUTELY NO FOOD OR DRINK” according to the sign in the reading room.
  • Windows/View: One of the best views from the library, facing Low and College Walk to the north, John Jay and the Van Am Quad to the east. Windows have independent AC units open to patron use.
  • Smoking: It’s Butler. You’ll have to go outside.
  • Books: Everything in the room is epigraphic material. Great resources for anybody conducting focused research on non-standard Latin, Greek, or Egyptian source material. Also very delicate and rare, meaning you shouldn’t be opening many of the texts unless you’re supposed to.
  • Bonus: Consistently the most well-kept reading room in terms of light and temperature. Maybe it has to do with the material, but the room is lukewarm in the Winter and cool in the Summer. Can’t beat that. Also most people don’t seem to realize that it’s an open reading room, meaning it usually has open space.

Atmosphere: Very unique for Butler. The light, both incandescent and natural, creates a much cheerier atmosphere than, say, Butler 209. The patrons of this room are extremely academically inclined, however, and will sometimes give strange looks to a person drinking or eating in the room.

Favorite Spot: There’s one main table, and any spot at the table is fine for me.

Recommendation: If you hate Butler Library, you’re not doing Butler right. Butler 604 is probably the greatest reading room in the building, given its lighting, space, and academic atmosphere. I highly, highly recommend anybody wanting to give Butler another chance to try out a session in the Papyrology and Epigraphy Reading Room. It’ll be worth it.


Butler’s Reference Hall via Wikipedia

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