Low Library Venue Policy

All events held in Low Library must adhere to University Event Policy, including University Fire Safety. Events must also comply with the additional venue guidelines outlined here. Low Library event spaces are reserved for University business only, and are available to affiliates only. Social events are not permitted.

Fees associated with the services listed in this policy are available by logging in to EMS. If you need an EMS account, click here.


If guests have accessibility issues that requires the use of a chairlift a Low Library, the individual or group booking the space will need to hire a representative from Otis to operator the lift. The Event Management team will provide additional details and guidance on this should you need it.

Air Conditioning

The Low Rotunda does not have air-conditioning. Event Management reserves the right to order fans, as deemed necessary, for events during extreme weather conditions. When fans are ordered, an electrician is also required to supply power for the fans. The estimated cost is $42 per fan. Event organizers will be billed accordingly by Facilities. All other event space in Low has air conditioning.


Balloons are not permitted in Low Library.


There is no cost to departments or students for the use of Low Library venue space.

External Catering Guidelines

External caterers should schedule a visit to Low Library if unfamiliar with the space. Please note, there is a $10.00 per person facility catering charge for events with an outside caterer. External caterers should be aware of the following restrictions:

  • There is no running water on the 2nd level (Rotunda level) of Low Library.
  • No open flames are permitted.
  • Convection or microwave ovens may be not used in the building.
  • Only the hallway on the east side of the building may be used for catering preparations.
  • All equipment must be removed from the building the same day of the event.
  • All outside catering equipment including china, glass, silver, linens and tables must be delivered and picked up on the same day the event takes place.
  • All food must be removed from the premises at the end of each event.
  • No overnight food storage is allowed.
  • Drop cloths must be used if preparing food in the Faculty Room, Trustee Room and Burden Room.
  • Low Library does not provide hand trucks or dollies.
  • Equipment may not be dragged during set-up or break down.
  • Electrician and Custodial support is required by Facilities for all catered events.
  • Caterers are responsible for disposing food waste in the bins provided for the event. Dumping of food waste on campus grounds is strictly prohibited. Any clean-up required as a result of not following this policy will be at the expense of the event sponsor.

Furniture and Facility Support

Furniture and venue maintenance in Low Library are provided by Columbia University Facilities. With the exception of the Rotunda, many of the rooms already have furniture. For events catered by Event Management and held in Low Library, basic furniture is available at no extra cost.

While there is no room rental fee, Columbia University Facilities requires the following service for events held in Low Library:

  • Set-up and Break-down (three laborers, two hour minimum)
  • Custodian/Coat check for all catered events, 1 per 100 guests (1 hour before event, duration of event, and 1 hour after event)
  • Electrician for all events using catering and technical support (1 hour before event, duration of event, and 1 hour after event
  • Carpenter (two hour minimum) 
  • Fire Mechanic (1 hour before event and duration of event)

Any additional room setup, staging or furniture needs are also serviced by Facilities and will be billed accordingly. 

*Coat check mandatory for events in Fall and Winter. 


Event security is provided by Columbia University Public Safety. The need for security is determined by Public Safety and Event Management based on a review of the size and nature of all events. Security is also required for events in Low Library after 5:00 p.m.

There is a four hour minimum for all guard services. A security Supervisory is required if Public Safety Director requests. 


Excessive noise is not permitted during business hours, Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.