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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.

The Essentials

Reading Room Reopening Update

May 11, 2022

The Schlesinger Library Reading Room is open Monday–Friday from 10:00 to 3:45, with the building closing to researchers at 4:00. Please review current access policies.
Please note:Although not required, masking is encouraged in the Schlesinger Library Reading Room.

Beginning April 13, 2022, all researchers will need to have a HOLLIS Special Request account to request Schlesinger Library materials. HOLLIS Special Request is available to Harvard and non-Harvard researchers and can be used at any participating Harvard library or archives. This account allows you to place and manage your requests for access to Schlesinger Library’s materials – learn more in the Requesting Materials guide. If you have questions, please reach out through the Ask a Schlesinger Librarian webform.
Please note: Submitting a request through HOLLIS Special Request does not guarantee that your materials will be available on your selected visit date.

1. Contact us in advance of your visit

  • Please visit the Ask a Schlesinger Librarian web page to start a conversation with a Research Librarian. In addition to answering your questions about collections and planning your visit, we can:
    • recommend additional sources and provide in-depth research assistance.
    • 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 the requesting guide for more detailed information about placing requests for materials.

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.
    • Visiting researchers should bring photo identification and proof of vaccination status.
  • You will present your identification at the reception desk and register for your HOLLIS Special Request account if you have not already done so. 
  • Pencils, phones, digital cameras, laptops or tablets, and flash drives are welcome in the Reading Room. We have extras of all of these items to lend. 
  • Leave pens/markers, notebooks, folders, coats and outwear, wallets, computer and camera cases, food/drink, and bags in the lockers. We provide lined loose-leaf paper if you wish to take notes.