Library Services are Free

There is no charge to you, as a student, for borrowing books or for asking the library to purchase a book or other item for your research. 

Intra-campus Delivery

You can request to have library materials delivered from the owning library to another (within Harvard's system).

  • Sign in to your HOLLIS account with your Harvard Key in order to see the request options.
  • Choose the "Request Pick Up" option under the "Access Options" section in the item's catalog record.
  • Select which library you would like to pick the book up at.
  • Submit your request.

Borrow Direct and InterLibrary Loan (ILL)

If Harvard doesn't have an item you are looking for (or if the item is currently checked out), we can get it for you from another library.

If the item is a book or DVD, try looking for it on Borrow Direct.

If the item is something other than a book or DVD, OR if the item is not available via Borrow Direct, order it via InterLibrary Loan.


Borrow Direct: a method of ordering books and DVDs from a select number of colleges (other major research institutions) if the item is not available at Harvard. Items arrive within 1-4 business days.

InterLibrary Loan: a method of ordering books, journal articles, and other materials from libraries across the U.S. and from other countries, if the item is not available at Harvard. Materials may take up to 10 days to arrive, but articles often arrive (electronically) within the same day of the request.

Open Stacks

Open stacks means that you are able to browse the shelves where the books are kept in the libraries. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, you don't need to ask a person at the circulation desk to retrieve a book for you; you can go and find it yourself! 

Also, there is no limit to the number of books you are allowed to borrow.

Offsite Storage

Offsite Storage

  • is where approximately 1/2 of Harvard Library's collection is kept
  • has items that can be requested via a "Request Pick Up" link in the HOLLIS record (if you don't see the link, ask a librarian about it)
  • items will be delivered to a library for pick-up the next business day (keep in mind if you request it on Friday, the item will not be available until Monday.

Scan & Deliver

For items with a "Scan & Deliver" link underneath the item information in HOLLIS:

  • You can request to have up to a book chapter, journal article, or other portion of an item (no longer than 100 pages, and no more than 20% of the work) scanned and emailed to you.
  • You will receive the PDF within 4 business days of your request.

Study Carrels

Study carrels are available for your use. In some libraries, such as Widener, you will need to request a carrel. In others, such as Lamont and Cabot, the carrels are available on a first-come basis. Where carrels are requestable, you may hold books you need for your research there by checking books out to the carrel. If you are not eligible for a carrel in Widener, you may request a hold shelf to keep your books. 


  • Use scanners to make an electronic copy of a portion of a book or journal.
  • Scan to a USB drive or email the files to yourself.


You can use Crimson Cash on your Harvard ID card to print from the computer labs in the libraries.

  • 5 cents per page (6 cents for double-sided) for black & white printing
  • 10 cents per page for color printing
  • Color printing is available in Lamont, Widener, and the Science Center.