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Requesting Materials from Schlesinger Library

F. A. Q.

I am not affiliated with Harvard. How do I place requests? 

  • All researchers, regardless of affiliation, can create an account in HOLLIS Special Request. Once you have created your account, you can start making your requests! 

I'm having trouble with my HOLLIS Special Request account. 

  • Guidance is available in the About Your Account section in the HOLLIS Special Request guide. If your question isn't answered there, please contact us for help.

Something came up and I cannot visit on the day I selected. What should I do? 

I found something I want to access in HOLLIS, but I can't find a way to request it. How can I request this item?

  • Contact us with the title, call # or barcode, and the permalink to the catalog record or finding aid. We will investigate and let you know how and if we can help make the item available for use.

The material I want to access has a restriction note. What does that mean?

  • Most of the Schlesinger Library’s materials do not have restrictions or special conditions and can be readily accessed. Sometimes an item is restricted because it is fragile or requires staff assistance to be handled. A surrogate or access copy such as digital images or microfilm may be an option. Using copies helps preserve the original items. 
  • In the case of an archival collection, a donor or family member may require researchers obtain written permission to use the materials or sign a condition of use form. Most commonly this is done to protect the privacy of individuals named in the collection.
  • Place your request and we will help you with the next steps for any restrictions.

How will I know when my request is available to access?

  • Once you have submitted your request, the request will appear in the “Outstanding Requests” section of your HOLLIS Special Request account, and the status of the request will read “Request Submitted.” We will not contact you about your requests unless there are restrictions on access or other issues.
  • Onsite materials are not retrieved in advance of your visit, but you can visit the Reading Room during our open hours, and we will retrieve the material for you. Once reviewed, the status of the request will display as "Request in Process" until you arrive for your visit.
  • Offsite material can take 2-3 business days to be delivered. When you make a request for materials that are stored off-site, the status of the request will change to “Item Available in Reading Room” when the material is available for access. If you are unsure whether the material you would like to access is stored on-site at the library or off-site, please contact us using Ask a Schlesinger Librarian.