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Library Reviews: Lehman Social Sciences Library

This is top-notch aesthetic appeal.

This is top-notch aesthetic appeal.

Bwog continues its library series by exploring the Lehman Social Sciences Library. Located inside the International Affairs Building, this place has everything: printers, desks, and other essentials for last-minute cramming. Leave Butler’s dementors behind and take a chance on one of Columbia’s beautiful libraries! 

Location: 300 International Affairs Building. IAB is wheelchair accessible, and the Lehman Library is located on the third floor, which is below ground level.

Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9 am to Midnight. Friday, 9 am to 7 pm. Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm. Sunday, 11 am to 11 pm.

Contact: (212) 854-3794.


  • Four rooms of Group study tables that can seat about 100 students total. Often TAs will reserve tables for office hours.
  • Two rooms of long tables with outlets and desk lamps, seating roughly 100 in each.
  • Five individual tables on the lower level that sit four each, without outlets.
  • 20 cubicles within the stacks.
  • Six small individual study rooms.


  • Printers: 4 printers.
  • Scanners: 1 scanner.
  • Lighting: varies from focused fluorescence in some of the group study areas to warm and soft lighting in the main study rooms.
  • Chairs: both couches and armchairs, wooden chairs at study tables, and rolling black chairs in smaller cubicles. All in good condition.
  • Outlets: available at some study tables and cubicles, unavailable at some tables and chairs in more centralized locations.
  • Computers: 39 Windows stations, 8 Mac stations, 23 Windows stations for group work.
  • Bathrooms: a single occupancy bathroom on the main floor, and a multiple occupancy bathroom on the lower floor through Group Study Area 4. Neither are in great condition.
  • Water Fountains: also on each floor, but largely with weak water pressure.
  • Food/Drink: Food is technically not allowed, but if you snag yourself a cubicle no one will know. Drinks are permitted.
  • Windows/views: largely nonexistent as the library is somewhat underground.
  • Smoking: IAB has a lovely courtyard for all you smokers.
  • Books: tons of journals and publications from all over the world, great resources for your international politics classes.
  • Bonus: great vending machines nearby, and access to the law school library without going outside in case Lehman is full.

Atmosphere: The best thing about Lehman is that it’s size and diversity of space offers a variety of atmospheres for studiers of all types. The main area near the circulation desk has open couches and warm lighting for quiet communication, and the group study areas are brightly lit for both meetings with TAs and classmates. There is also a large open room with long tables that is a good alternative to the Butler Reading Room, and cubicles placed throughout the stacks for individual study. There are smaller areas and open areas for those who enjoy stationary reading, and those who need space to pace.

Favorite Spot: Cubicle rooms to the left of circulation. Swivel chairs and tons of desk space, these spots are highly sought after by undergrad and grad students alike.

Recommendation: Lehman Social Science Library is a great choice for when you need to cram for a few hours. With both talking areas for group work and cubicles for solitude, the best of both worlds hides a few floors down in IAB. A bit of a trek from most dorms, it offers seclusion while remaining close enough to Hamdel and the Law School Library cafe for late night meals. During it finals Lehman also offers extended hours until 4 am, and is typically less crowded than Butler.

The beautiful Lehman Library via Columbia University Libraries 

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