Admittance

In general. . .

  • The libraries of the Harvard College Library are reserved for the use of Harvard students, faculty, staff, and visiting researchers. Harvard affiliates are admitted upon presentation of a current Harvard ID.
  • Non-Harvard affiliates can inquire about their eligibility to use the libraries at the Library Privileges Office, Widener Library.
  • All library users are subject to the terms of the HCL Patron Agreement, which is posted in student handbooks, on this site, and available in hard copy at each HCL library.
  • For security purposes, all users' bags, briefcases, portfolios, backpacks, purses, books, library materials and drawing tubes are inspected as users exit the libraries. We appreciate your cooperation.
  • Please note that it is University policy for doorcheckers to confiscate a Harvard ID if it has expired or if someone other than the ID holder attempts to use it to enter a library.
  • With the exception of licensed service animals, pets/animals are not allowed in the libraries.

In library areas where Harvard University-issued identification is required for entry (e.g. Widener stacks)

  • Children under 16 years old may enter when accompanied by an adult with valid Harvard ID; children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
  • Accompanying adults are responsible for children’s behavior. All patrons and guests should be respectful of other patrons and avoid disruptive or loud behavior. Though library staff may ask children and accompanying adults to leave the stacks if disruption occurs, staff will page for any items that may still be needed.
  • To ensure the security of the collections, all bags, backpacks, books, etc. – including those carried by children -- must be presented for inspection upon exiting the library.
  • Individual libraries or special collections may have their own policies regarding children’s access. Please inquire at individual libraries for details.

Harvard libraries, University departments, or Harvard-affiliated centers that would like to bring guests or visiting dignitaries to visit any of the libraries within the Harvard College Library must first contact must first contact the Office of the Librarian at 617-495-2401.


Library Privileges Office

Library Privileges OfficeIndividuals who hold a current Harvard ID have admittance and borrowing privileges in Harvard libraries.

Individuals who do not hold a current Harvard ID and who want to use one of the Harvard libraries for research should first visit the Library Privileges Office. The office is located on the first floor of Widener Library, Room 130. Hours

Library Privileges Office
Widener Library, Room 130
Harvard University
Harvard Yard
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
P: 617-495-4166
E-mail

All library users are subject to the terms of the HCL Patron Agreement, which is posted in student handbooks, on this site, and available in hard copy at each HCL library.

For security purposes, all users' bags, briefcases, portfolios, backpacks, purses, books, library materials and drawing tubes are inspected as users exit the library. We appreciate your cooperation.

Please note that it is University policy for doorcheckers to confiscate a Harvard ID if it has expired or if someone other than the ID holder attempts to use it to enter a library.

Select the appropriate category to find out what library privileges are available to you and how to obtain them.

Select a card type to learn about accompanying privileges.


Alumni/ae

Necessary Documentation: A valid photo ID card. Privileges staff will verify alumna/us status.

Privileges Available

    Free of charge, Harvard Alumni/ae are entitled to:
  • HCL Stacks Access Card good for 6 days of access in each 12-month period (not necessarily consecutive)
  • 6 items may be checked out from Widener Library in each 12-month period
  • A Visiting Researcher Card valid for a 3 month period from the date of issue
    A Special Borrowers Card may be purchased according to the fees below.
  • 1 Year: $200
  • 6 months: $125
  • 3 months: $75
  • For Alumni/ae 65 years and older the fee is $50/year

Domestic Partners and Spouses of Harvard ID Holders

Domestic partners and spouses of current Harvard University ID card holders (students, faculty and benefits eligible staff) may apply for library privileges.

Necessary Documentation

  • A photo ID
  • A photocopy of the Harvard affiliate's ID card
  • $5
  • If the domestic partner/spouse and Harvard staff person have different last names, proof of marriage or shared residence (i.e. a marriage certificate, certificate of domestic partnership, lease with both names, government issued ID with same address as the staff person, etc.)

Privileges Available

Domestic partners of benefits eligible staff and students may obtain a HCL Special Borrowers Card valid for up to 1 year from the date of issue.


Faculty Member from Another Institution

Necessary Documentation: A valid university faculty/professional ID card OR a letter of introduction from the affiliated university on letterhead.

Privileges Available

A Special Borrowers Card may be purchased for the fees below.

Duration Fee Fee for faculty members 65+ years
1 year $750 $250
6 months $450 $150
3 months $275 $100

PhD Candidate from Another Institution

Necessary Documentation: A valid university ID card AND a letter of introduction from a thesis advisor on letterhead.

Privileges Available

A Special Borrowers Card may be purchased according to the following fee structure.

Duration Fee Fee for faculty members 65+ years
1 year $750 $250
6 months $450 $150
3 months $275 $100

Affiliates of Harvard Research Centers

Affiliates of Harvard research centers should check with the research center to see what, if any, arrangements have been made for library access.


Independent Researchers not Affiliated with Harvard

Necessary Documentation: A valid photo ID card AND a letter from the reference librarian of your university or public library stating that the specific library materials needed are not available elsewhere.

Privileges Available

Application for a Visiting Researcher Card should be made in person at the Library Privileges Office.


Government Documents Access for Non-Harvard Affiliates

Necessary Documentation: A valid photo ID card. If you have any questions about access to government documents, please contact the Library Privileges Office, Widener Library, Room 130, hours, 617-495-4166.

Privileges Available

  • 3-months of access to the Government Documents Collection in Lamont Library, renewable indefinitely.

Please visit the Government Documents web page for more information regarding this collection.


University Archives Access for Non-Harvard Affiliates

Necessary Documentation: A valid photo ID card. Please contact the Harvard University Archives at archives_reference@harvard.edu or 617-495-2461 before your visit.

Privileges Available

  • 3-months of access to the University Archives located in Pusey Library.

Please visit the Harvard University Archives web page for more information.


HCL Special Borrower Card

Alumni/ae, faculty from other institutions, PhD candidates from other institutions and some affiliates of Harvard research centers may purchase a HCL Special Borrowers Card. Please note that you must be 18 years of age to obtain a card. Application for a HCL Special Borrowers Card should be made in person at the Library Privileges Office.

The HCL Special Borrowers Card allows borrowing, stacks browsing, and reading room privileges at the following libraries:

  • Andover-Harvard Theological Library
  • Cabot Science Library
  • Center for European Studies Library
  • Loeb Music Library
  • Fine Arts Library
  • McKay Library
  • Harvard-Yenching Library
  • Lamont Library (Alumni/ae of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges only; no reserves borrowing)
  • Tozzer Library
  • Widener Library
  • Wolbach Library

Stacks browsing and reading room privileges are available only at the following libraries:

  • Fung Library
  • Lamont Library (Faculty and PhD candidates from other institutions)

The HCL Special Borrowers Card is not valid for Interlibrary Loan services or for remote access to electronic resources.


HCL Stacks Access Card

Alumni/ae and some affiliates of Harvard research centers are eligible for a HCL Stacks Access Card for certain periods of time without fee. This card allows the holder to enter and browse stacks and use the reading rooms in these libraries:

  • Widener
  • Cabot Science
  • Harvard-Yenching
  • Pusey
  • Lamont
  • Loeb Music
  • Tozzer

Requests for materials from the Harvard Depository must be made in person at the Phillips Reading Room Desk or by e-mail. Please allow at least one business day from the time of the request for HD items to arrive.

Application for a HCL Stacks Access Card should be made in person at the Library Privileges Office.


Widener Reading Room Card

Non-matriculated Extension School students may obtain a Widener Reading Room Card that allows the holder to request materials to be paged from the Widener stacks and/or the Harvard Depository (HD) for delivery and use in the Phillips Reading Room and to use the Loker, Periodicals, and Newspaper Microfilm reading rooms.

Requests for materials from the stacks and HD must be made in person at the Phillips Reading Room Desk. Please allow at least one business day from the time of the request for HD items to arrive.

See the Extension School website for more information on specific library privileges for Extension School students.

This card does not allow admittance to the Widener stacks.


Visiting Researcher Card

Independent researchers not affiliated with Harvard (for example, authors, museum curators and other non-Harvard affiliates with documented research needs), Alumni/ae, faculty from another institution, and PhD candidates from other institutions may obtain a Visiting Researcher Card that allows reading room access, and/or in-building use of general collections materials at the following HCL libraries:

  • Cabot Library
  • Chemistry Library
  • Fine Arts Library
  • Harvard – Yenching Library
  • Lamont Library
  • Loeb Music Library
  • Physics Library
  • Tozzer Library
  • Widener Library

This card does not allow admittance to the Widener stacks.

Application for a Visiting Researcher Card should be made in person at the Library Privileges Office.

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Cabot Science Library
Admittance

Cabot LibraryCabot Science Library admits all individuals who hold a current Harvard ID or an HCL Special Borrower Card, and Extension School degree candidates. Cabot is also open to non-degree Extension School students who present their current course registration and a photo ID. Non-Harvard students and affiliates must present a current photo ID from another educational institution and sign in at the Security Desk.

All library users are subject to the terms of the HCL Patron Agreement, which is posted in student handbooks, on this site, and available in hard copy at each HCL library.

For security purposes, all users' bags, briefcases, portfolios, backpacks, purses, books, library materials and drawing tubes are inspected as users exit the library. We appreciate your cooperation.

Please note that it is University policy for doorcheckers to confiscate a Harvard ID if it has expired or if someone other than the ID holder attempts to use it to enter a library.

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Fine Arts Library
Admittance

Fine Arts Library

The Fine Arts Library at Littauer and the Digital Images & Slides Collection at Sackler are open to all individuals who hold a current Harvard ID or a HCL Special Borrower Card.

The Harvard Film Archive is located in the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. The HFA is open to scholars and researchers during regular Hours or by appointment. For an appointment, contact Steffen Pierce, Technical Services Film Specialist, via e-mail or at 617-496-6607.

Fine Arts Library Visitor Access

The following individuals are eligible to apply for a Fine Arts Library Access Pass, with a current institutional photo ID. To apply, contact the library's Public Services Department via e-mail.

  • Faculty from other universities and colleges.
  • Museum curatorial staff
  • Graduate students from other universities and colleges. A brief letter from a faculty advisor or librarian stating the student's research needs is required.
  • Visiting researchers — An application describing the user's research needs, including those materials uniquely available at the Fine Arts Library is required.

Fine Arts Library Special Collections

All patrons wishing to use the library’s special collections materials, including all X-Cage materials as well as prints, photographs, rubbings and scrolls, must register for a Special Collections Request Account and place requests through the system. Patrons who are not currently affiliated with Harvard University or who do not hold a Special Borrower Card will need to visit the Library Privileges Office at Widener Library after registering online to obtain a Harvard College Library Special Collections Card. Patrons are required to present a valid Harvard ID, HCL Special Borrower Card, or HCL Special Collections Card at the library in order to use materials. For more information see Access to Special Collections.

All library users are subject to the terms of the HCL Patron Agreement, which is posted in student handbooks, on this site, and available in hard copy at each HCL library.

For security purposes, all users' bags, briefcases, portfolios, backpacks, purses, books, library materials and drawing tubes are inspected as users exit the library. We appreciate your cooperation.

Please note that it is University policy for doorcheckers to confiscate a Harvard ID if it has expired or if someone other than the ID holder attempts to use it to enter a library.

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Fung Library
Admittance

Fung LibraryFung Library, located on the lower level of the Knafel Building, admits all individuals who hold a current Harvard ID or an HCL Special Borrower Card. The library also provides access to its stacks to students, faculty, and researchers of other universities, colleges, and research centers who present a current institutional ID, letter from their faculty, passport, or other official form of ID.

All library users are subject to the terms of the HCL Patron Agreement, which is posted in student handbooks, on this site, and available at each HCL library.

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Harvard Map Collection
Admittance

Map CollectionThe Harvard Map Collection is open to all researchers regardless of affiliation. All researchers must register for a Special Collections Request Account. Patrons can register online by going to the Special Collections Request Account. For more information see Access to Special Collections

Patrons who are not currently affiliated with Harvard University or who do not hold a Special Borrower Card will need to visit the Library Privileges Office at Widener Library after registering to obtain a Harvard College Library Special Collections Card. Patrons are required to present a valid Harvard ID, HCL Special Borrower Card, or HCL Special Collections Card at the library in order to enter the building.

Group tours and classes must be arranged in advance by contacting Joseph Garver via e-mail.

All library users are subject to the terms of the HCL Patron Agreement, which is posted in student handbooks, on this site, and available in hard copy at each HCL library.

For security purposes, all users' bags, briefcases, portfolios, backpacks, purses, books, library materials and drawing tubes, etc. must be secured in the lockers provided before accessing library materials. Users may request a locker key from the reference desk in the Map Collection. Only small notebooks and pencils are allowing in the reading room.

In addition, all patrons' bags, briefcases, portfolios, backpacks, purses, and drawing tubes are inspected as users exit the library. We appreciate your cooperation.

Please note that it is University policy for doorcheckers to confiscate a Harvard ID if it has expired or if someone other than the ID holder attempts to use it to enter a library.

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Harvard-Yenching Library
Admittance

Harvard-Yenching LibraryHarvard-Yenching Library admits all individuals who hold a current Harvard ID, an HCL Special Borrower Card or a Visiting Researcher Card. The library provides access to its reading rooms and stacks to students, faculty, and researchers of other universities, colleges, and research centers who present a current institutional ID and register at the Circulation Desk.

Harvard-Yenching Library Special Collections
All patrons wishing to use the library’s special collections materials, including the rare book collection and archival materials, must register for a Special Collections Request Account and place requests through the system.  Patrons who are not currently affiliated with Harvard University or who do not hold a Special Borrower Card will need to visit the Library Privileges Office at Widener Library after registering online to obtain a Harvard College Library Special Collections Card. Patrons are required to present a valid Harvard ID, HCL Special Borrower Card, or HCL Special Collections Card at the library in order to use materials.  For more information see Access to Special Collections.

All library users are subject to the terms of the HCL Patron Agreement, which is posted in student handbooks, on this site, and available at each HCL library.

For security purposes, all users' bags, briefcases, portfolios, backpacks, purses, books, library materials and drawing tubes are inspected as users exit the library. We appreciate your cooperation.

Please note that it is University policy for doorcheckers to confiscate a Harvard ID if it has expired or if someone other than the ID holder attempts to use it to enter a library.

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Houghton Library
Admittance


Houghton LibraryHoughton Library is open without fee to all adult researchers regardless of academic affiliation. We cannot accommodate students younger than college-age in the Reading Room, but catalogs, online finding-aids and most of the digitized items can be accessed by anyone.

Houghton's front door is accessible via a short flight of steps up from the level of Quincy Street. For wheelchair access, please contact Public Services at 617-495-2440 to make an appointment.

All readers to the Houghton reading room must register for a Special Collections Request Account. Patrons can register online by going to the Special Collections Request Account. For more information see Access to Special Collections.

Patrons who are not currently affiliated with Harvard University or who do not hold a Special Borrower Card will need to visit the Library Privileges Office at Widener Library after registering to obtain a Harvard College Library Special Collections Card.  Patrons are required to present a valid Harvard ID, HCL Special Borrower Card, or HCL Special Collections Card at the library in order to use materials.

All library users are subject to the terms of the HCL Patron Agreement, which is posted in student handbooks, on this site, and available in hard copy at each HCL library.

For security purposes, all users' bags, briefcases, portfolios, backpacks, purses, books, library materials and drawing tubes are inspected as users exit the library. We appreciate your cooperation.

Please note that it is University policy for doorcheckers to confiscate a Harvard ID if it has expired or if someone other than the ID holder attempts to use it to enter a library.

The Harvard Theatre Collection materials are accessible through the Houghton Reading Room. Audio and video materials are accessible through the Phillips Reading Room in Widener Library. Researchers coming from outside Harvard are strongly urged to contact the Reading Room in advance by e-mail.

The Theodore Roosevelt Collection is located in both Houghton and Widener libraries. Researchers coming from outside Harvard are strongly urged to contact Heather Cole, via e-mail in advance for access to the collection.

The Woodberry Poetry Room is located in Lamont Library. See Lamont Admittance for details. Researchers coming from outside Harvard are strongly urged to contact the curator, Christina Davis, via e-mail in advance.

Special Collections Requests
In the fall of 2010, Houghton Library will introduce a new special collections request system that will allow patrons to register and place requests for materials online. This system will replace paper registration and paper forms to request materials to use in the library, and because it will eventually be HCL-wide, will eliminate the need for patrons to register separately at each HCL special collections library.

    Upon registering, an individual account is created. With that account a patron can:
  • submit requests through a form or submit requests via links in the catalog record
  • submit requests in advance of a visit to a library or while at the library
  • track the status of each request
  • access detailed information about past requests

All patrons, regardless of affiliation, will be required to register in the new system before requesting special collections materials. This includes patrons who have registered before at any of the HCL libraries. Patrons who are not currently affiliated with Harvard University or who do not hold a Special Borrower Card will need to visit the Library Privileges Office at Widener Library after registering to obtain a Harvard College Library Special Collections Card.

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Lamont Library, Government Documents and
Woodberry Poetry Room
Admittance

Lamont LibraryLamont Library admits all individuals who hold a current Harvard ID, an HCL Special Borrower Card, or a HCL Stacks Access Card. Both the Special Borrower Card and the Stacks Access Card can be obtained at the Library Privileges Office in Widener during business hours.

Access to U.S. government publications is provided to Harvard affiliates with a Harvard ID and members of the public with a Government Documents Access Card during Government Documents/Level D hours. The Government Documents Access Card can be obtained from the Library Privileges Office in Widener during business hours.

The Woodberry Poetry Room is open to all Harvard students, faculty, staff, alumni, and affiliates of the univeristy. Members of the public with a vaild photo ID (driver's license, passport, etc.) are also welcome to visit the collection, but must sign in at the security desk in the lobby of Lamont Libary. Non-Harvard ID holders who are specifically interested in using the audio-visual collection or the Blue Star collection should make an appointment in advance with the curator via email or by calling 617-495-2454.

The Poetry Room is open Monday-Friday, 9am - 10pm. It is only staffed on weekdays, 9am - 5pm. The audio and Blue Star collections can only be accessed during staffed hours.

All library users are subject to the terms of the HCL Patron Agreement, which is posted in student handbooks, on this site, and available in hard copy at each HCL library.

For security purposes, all users' bags, briefcases, portfolios, backpacks, purses, books, library materials and drawing tubes are inspected as users exit the library. We appreciate your cooperation.

Please note that it is University policy for doorcheckers to confiscate a Harvard ID if it has expired or if someone other than the ID holder attempts to use it to enter a library.

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Loeb Music Library
Admittance

Loeb Music LibraryLoeb Music Library admits all individuals who hold a current Harvard ID. Researchers and professional musicians who are not affiliated with Harvard are encouraged to contact Public Services in advance via e-mail or at 617-495-2794, and will be required to present a valid photo ID and register at the Circulation Desk each visit.

All patrons wishing to use the library’s special collections materials, housed in the Merritt Room, must register for a Special Collections Request Account and place requests through the system.  Patrons who are not currently affiliated with Harvard University or who do not hold a Special Borrower Card will need to visit the Library Privileges Office at Widener Library after registering online to obtain a Harvard College Library Special Collections Card. Patrons are required to present a valid Harvard ID, HCL Special Borrower Card, or HCL Special Collections Card at the library in order to use materials.  For more information see Access to Special Collections.

All library users are subject to the terms of the HCL Patron Agreement, which is posted in student handbooks, on this site, and available in hard copy at each HCL library.

For security purposes, all users' bags, briefcases, portfolios, backpacks, purses, books, library materials and drawing tubes are inspected as users exit the library. We appreciate your cooperation.

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Tozzer Library
Admittance

Tozzer Library has temporarily relocated to William James Hall at 33 Kirkland Street while renovations are being completed at 21 Divinity Avenue.

Tozzer LibraryResearchers who present a current university or museum photo ID may use the collections at Tozzer Library. Members of the general public who present a current photo ID are permitted up to six visits per year, after which there is a charge for use of the library. Members of the Peabody Museum Association of Harvard's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology may use the collections.

All patrons wishing to use the library’s special collections materials must register for a Special Collections Request Account and place requests through the system. Patrons who are not currently affiliated with Harvard University or who do not hold a Special Borrower Card will need to visit the Library Privileges Office at Widener Library after registering online to obtain a Harvard College Library Special Collections Card. Patrons are required to present a valid Harvard ID, HCL Special Borrower Card, or HCL Special Collections Card at the library in order to use materials. For more information see Access to Special Collections.

All library users are subject to the terms of the HCL Patron Agreement, which is posted in student handbooks, on this site, and available in hard copy at each HCL library.

For security purposes, all users' bags, briefcases, portfolios, backpacks, purses, books, library materials and drawing tubes are inspected as users exit the library. We appreciate your cooperation.

Please note that it is University policy for doorcheckers to confiscate a Harvard ID if it has expired or if someone other than the ID holder attempts to use it to enter a library.

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Widener Library
Admittance

Widener Library

Widener Library is a research institution for the use of Harvard students, faculty, staff, and visiting researchers, and is not open for public visitation or tours by individuals not affiliated with the University. The Widener Library building and stacks are open to all individuals who possess a current Harvard ID.

Individuals who do not hold a current Harvard ID and who want to use one of the Harvard libraries for research should first visit the Library Privileges Office web page or contact the office directly. The office is located on the first floor of Widener Library, Room 130. Hours

All library users are subject to the terms of the HCL Patron Agreement, which is posted in student handbooks, on this site, and available in hard copy at each HCL library.

For security purposes, all users' bags, briefcases, portfolios, backpacks, purses, books, library materials and drawing tubes are inspected as users exit the libraries. We appreciate your cooperation.

Please note that it is University policy for doorcheckers to confiscate a Harvard ID if it has expired or if someone other than the ID holder attempts to use it to enter a library.

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