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.
- Alumni Benefits and Resources lists general services and resources for alums
- The Harvard Alumni Help page or firstname.lastname@example.org for general issues and inquiries
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
Alums are welcome in Harvard Library buildings, which includes use of electronic resources via library computers. Alums may also bring a limited number of guests.
- Submit your application for free-of-charge borrowing privileges.
- Sign up for Harvard Library updates via the option on our "News" page - you'll receive an email every 1-2 months featuring new collections, resources, and news
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:
- Electronic Resources (list with brief descriptions of what you have access to, plus top open access resources)
- Known Issues under Get Help
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:
- Database access (e.g. the BPL's Online Resources)
- State-wide database access (e.g. TexShare)
- Kindle books, streaming video, and other electronic loans (e.g. ebooks via NYPL)
- Interlibrary Loan (e.g. CPL Interlibrary Loan)
- Tickets and passes for cultural attractions (e.g. San Francisco Public Library's passes)
- Tools, toys, and other object collections (e.g. Berkeley Tool Library)
- Community events, classes, and much more...
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:
- Buildings open to the public always or during defined hours (e.g. University of Florida's General Public Policies)
- On-site database access (e.g. University of Indiana's Library Guest Account)
- Some borrowing privileges (e.g. Portland State University's Passport Program)
NATIONAL LIBRARIES & SPECIAL COLLECTIONS: OPEN TO ALL
These institutions steward unique materials and cultural heritage for everyone's benefit. Services include:
- On-site access - registration is usually required
- Digitization services (request a scan from the collection) often available for a fee
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?
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).