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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:

June 14, 2024

The Library will be closed on June 19th, 2024 in observance of Juneteenth.


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.

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 free-standing 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 loose-leaf paper if you wish to take notes.