More Than 70 Different Libraries...
Harvard's library system includes many individual libraries: some are here in Massachusetts, others as far away as Italy. Some have circulating collections, with materials available to borrow; some have rare books, manuscripts, and archival materials that you can consult in a reading room on-site. Some collect materials on a specific topic, such as Botany, or the History of Women in America, and some collect materials across a very broad set of topics, such as the Social Sciences and Humanities.
Use library.harvard.edu to explore Harvard's many different libraries: you can explore library by library or browse through featured collections. Select the library's name to access detailed information about a particular library's area of focus and guidance for researchers (usually under "Full Website").
A great way to explore our libraries in person is to visit a library exhibition.
Your Access Options
Swipe-card access to major libraries
Your Stacks Access card will open turnstiles and grant you stacks access at the following libraries:
Social sciences, humanities, collections in over 100 languages
(To access book stacks: tap your card at the stacks entrance on the first floor.)
General undergraduate collection, Multimedia Lab, Poetry Room, government documents from around the world
Cabot Science Library
Science collection, group study spaces, media studios
Fine Arts Library
Visual arts and architecture, artists' books, prints, photographs
East Asian studies, extensive rare and special collections
Loeb Music Library
Music, including scores and recordings
Anthropology and archaeology, special emphasis on materials relating to the indigenous peoples of the Americas
Present your stacks access card to staff at the entrance: most libraries will be happy to give you admittance; many will give you access to their book stacks, though some may not.
Special Collections: Harvard Library's special collections are generally open to the public, though their book stacks are closed. Be prepared to present a photo id and register (free of charge) for a Special Collections Request Account.
Some materials are stored in one of our off-site facilities.
For off-site materials in Widener's collections: please go to the Phillips Reading Room in Widener for assistance.
To retrieve off-site materials from other libraries: inquire at the library that owns the item to find out the process by which visiting researchers who do not have borrowing privileges can access it.
Once requested, materials usually arrive within one business day.