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Harvard continues to support your learning after you graduate. Here's how:

HARVARD ALUMNI ASSOCIATION

The alumni association offers you a worldwide community of over 400,000 Harvard graduates, with opportunities for networking, professional development, volunteering, and more.

HARVARD LIBRARY

Library services for alums can include building access, book borrowing privileges, and online access to a selection of databases. Keep scrolling for details.

  • Keep your ID card - once the libraries have fully reopened to alums, you can have building access added to your same Harvard ID card
  • Plan to update the email you use to login to your Harvard Key - you will use it to access the library's online resources for alums

LIBRARY BUILDING ACCESS

Harvard’s library buildings are currently closed to visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to welcoming our alums back into our buildings when it is safe to do so.

HOLLIS

ONLINE ACCESS links in HOLLIS that require login will not work for alumni. You can access content licensed especially for alums via the links in the list of Electronic Resources under Using Harvard Library as an Alum.

HOLLIS’s online access links will work for you if the item is in the public domain (via HathiTrust and Google Books), published Open Access, or otherwise available to the general public.

You can still use HOLLIS for searching, of course, and many researchers do. You can continue to access and update your lists of saved ("pinned") items and searches in My Favorites by signing in to HOLLIS with your Harvard Key.

Pro Tip: make WorldCat your new go-to, especially for books. WorldCat is a mega-catalog of library holdings across the U.S. and beyond. It’s the easiest way to find out which libraries near you hold a copy of a specific book.

ONLINE ACCESS via HARVARD

Harvard offers special database access for alumni. How to Use Harvard Library as an Alum has all of the details. Look for:

 

Harvard's Digital Collections are open to all.

OTHER WAYS TO GET ACCESS

Your research ecosystem extends well beyond Harvard

 

USE PUBLIC LIBRARIES FOR EVERYTHING!

Your local branch may offer:

Note: the examples above are from American libraries. While services may differ, you can find public libraries and other public institutions in any country.

 

STATE UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES

Especially helpful for academic research materials. Services for state residents may include:

 

NATIONAL LIBRARIES & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS: OPEN TO ALL

These institutions steward unique materials and cultural heritage for everyone's benefit. Services include:

 

FIND AN OPEN ACCESS VERSION

Even if you're seeing a paywall on one site, the material may be available for free somewhere else. Many scholars publish their academic research in "open access" formats that make them accessible to all. Some publishers allow scholars to make individual articles and chapters open access, and some publish entire journals and books this way. Scholars also often self-archive their work on their personal websites and/or in a repository via their institution (e.g. Harvard's DASH) or via a subject-based repository (such as arXiv).

Two popular tools for locating an OA version:

Have a question not answered here?

Use our Ask a Librarian service [we usually respond to questions within 24 hours (M-F)]

Acknowledgments

This guide extensively incorporates information and advice from Steve Beardsley (Associate Director of Access Services), and is adapted from the work of Cheryl LaGuardia (retired Harvard research librarian).