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Planning a Visit to Schlesinger Library

We look forward to seeing you! The Schlesinger Library is open to the public and welcomes all visitors. The Schlesinger Library is a non-circulating, special collection within the Harvard Library.

Images from Schlesinger Library

Exterior view of the Schlesinger Library, 1966


Interior view of the Schlesinger Library, 1968


Fay House Library, 1890s

The Essentials

Reading Room Reopening Update

October 19, 2021 
The Schlesinger Library opened to Harvard students, faculty, and staff, by appointment, September 1st. The Library will open to visiting researchers, by appointment, starting October 25th. The Reading Room is open Monday–Friday from 10:00 to 3:45, with the building closing to researchers at 4:00.

All researchers should use the appointment request form. We are using this form to process all appointment requests and to gather materials for a visit.

Before requesting an appointment please review the current Schlesinger Library Access policies. Also, we strongly recommend that if you have questions about collections, your research topic, or would like to request a research consultation that you start with the Ask a Schlesinger Librarian form. This will help ensure the best use of your time in the Reading Room.

Please note:
Submitting an appointment request does not guarantee that your desired dates will be available. We will be in touch to confirm the details with you.

Upon entrance to the building, all visitors must provide a verbal attestation that they are symptom-free and have not been diagnosed or exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Masks must be worn indoors for the duration of your stay.

1. Contact us in advance of your visit

  • Appointments are required, so please use our Ask a Schlesinger Librarian form to contact us about your visit. In additional setting an appointment we can:
    • recommend additional sources and provide in-depth research help.
    • help coordinate access to the materials. Many of our collections are stored off-site and some have access restrictions.
    • assist with access to other formats such as A/V materials and oversized items, as those items require advance notice.
  • See this requesting guide for more detailed information about placing requests.

2. Document Cameras available in Reading Room 

  • Each table is equipped with document cameras. Learn more about Hovercams and download the software.
  • Prefer to use your own camera or phone? No problem, just turn off your flash and leave your camera case and tripod behind.

3. What to bring

  • Harvard students, faculty, and staff should bring their Harvard ID.
    • When we reopen more broadly, visiting researchers should bring photo identification.
  • You will present your identification at the reception desk and complete a brief registration form. 
  • Pencils, digital cameras, laptops, and flash drives are welcome in the Reading Room. We have extras of all of these items to lend. 
  • Leave notebooks, folders, jackets, wallets, computer and camera cases, and bags in our lockers. We provide lined loose-leaf paper.