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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 Update:

January 3, 2024

The Schlesinger Library Reading Room is open Monday–Friday from 10:00 to 4:45, with the building closing to researchers at 5:00. Please review current access policies.

Please note: Although not required, masking is encouraged in the Schlesinger Library Reading Room.

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.
  • Information for research teams or researchers coordinating with a research proxy is available on our Research Teams Guide.

2. Request materials for your visit

  • Schlesinger Library materials can be requested online using your HOLLIS Special Request account. 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: Once you have submitted a request through HOLLIS Special Request, you will not hear from us unless there is an issue or a restriction on your request. If you don't hear from us regarding an issue, you can count on the material being available on the date you have selected for your visit. If you would like to confirm in advance that the material will be available on your selected visit date, you are welcome contact us via the Ask a Schlesinger Librarian webform.

3. Imaging Equipment and Tech for Loan in the Reading Room

  • Each table is equipped with overhead 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.
    • The Library has two camera mounts, which can support a smart phone or DSLR camera, and two remote clickers, which can be connected to a smart phone's camera app via bluetooth, that are available for loan on a first come, first served basis.
  • Additional equipment available on a first come, first served basis:
    • Wireless Mouse
    • Three PC laptops
    • USB-C to USB-A/HDMI adapter
    • Flash drives
    • iPhone charger

4. What to bring

  • 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.
  • 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.