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Library Review: C.V. Starr East Asian Library

Skylight Room

A Skylight Room

Still haven’t found your study spot for this semester? Bwog’s here to help you find a spot that makes studying just a little bit more bearable. Bwog Newbie Jack Treanor reviews the C.V. Starr East Asian Library.

Location: 300 Kent Hall, Entrance Level Accessible Library

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

Contact: (212) 854-4318, starr@library.columbia.edu


  • Total: ~150 seats
  • Mezzanine Level Table Seating: 16 seats
  • Main Level Table Seating: 131 seats
  • Computers: 13 seats
  • Comfy: 0 Seats
  • Seats for Talking: 0


  • Printers: 1 PawPrint Printer
  • Scanners: 1 Scanner
  • Computers: 13 computers with aggravatingly old software, at least two are in Chinese at any one time.
  • Lighting: Pleasant (sometimes described as dim)
  • Outlets: Power stripes placed underneath the tables.
  • Bathrooms: Requires leaving library and going to either 2nd or 5th floor of Kent.
  • Water Fountains: Requires leaving library as well (2nd or 5th floor).
  • Food/Drink: No food or drink allowed. Closest vending machine is on the 2nd floor.
  • Windows/Views: Large stained glass window on east wall. The Library receives moderate to ample amount of natural light and has views of College Walk
  • Smoking: Is dangerous and requires exiting building and going to closest designated smoking area on the plaza in front of the Law School building
  • Books: Incredibly large collection of Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, and Chinese texts. Usefulness varies widely based on your understanding of these languages.
  • Periodicals: Periodical section with Japanese, Chinese, Tibetan, Korean, and Western magazines and newspapers
  • Decor: Combines neo-classical elements with a wide variety of historical East Asian art and artifacts.
  • Bonus: Large Portrait of Chairman Mao to disapprove of your capitalist ways.

Atmosphere: Quite with cosy lighting, C.V. Starr East Asian Library is a relaxed library, if that is possible. The elaborate ceiling and interesting Asian art make it one of the more unique libraries as well. Why do work when you can admire Japanese calligraphy? Definitely don’t feel intimidated if you don’t speak any East Asian languages, East Asian is perfect for all types of work. Also East Asian interestingly tends to be more crowded during the day than in the evenings despite being open until 11 pm during the week. Because of this it is a perfect alternative to the bright lights and crowds of Butler.

Historical Fun Fact: Most students don’t know that the East Asian Library used to be Columbia’s Law Library before the construction of the Jerome Greene Hall.

The Stacks: Who knew they existed? Bwog did. The East Asian Stacks are the diamond in the rough of the Columbia Library System. When you enter the library proceed to the right and on the far wall you will find an elevator and and a staircase with a small sign the reads “Stacks”. The library has a collection of over a million volumes with most books held in the four level of stacks lying beneath the main room. Levels 150, 200, and 250 are as expected, dark, dusty, and gloomy. At the bottom however, Level 100 is clean and furnished. The highlight of Level 100 is the Skylight Room. It is a room with a large table and six chair beneath a huge skylight about 25 feet above. It is perfect for those who enjoy sunlight, but also never want to be found.

Stack Stats

  • Total Seats: 31 seats
  • Carrels: 14 seats
  • Computers: 4 seats
  • Tables seating: 13 Seats

Map of Main Room

Map of Stacks


Photos by Bwog Staff and Department of East Asian Languages and Culture

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  • Make Herr's Yours says:

    @Make Herr's Yours WARNING: The vending machine on the 2nd floor is OUT OF Herr’s Chips. I emailed the school to try and remedy the problem. Hopefully it will be resolved soon. I will report back.

  • Smell's says:

    @Smell's Like shit

    1. Pls says:

      @Pls Smells*

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous This library is the largest Asian collection of books outside of Asia.

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