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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.

Renovation/Temporary Reading Room Notice

The Schlesinger Library building is closed for renovation until September 12, 2019. From now until August 9, researchers can access the Library’s collections, by appointment, via a temporary Reading Room in Fay House, Radcliffe Yard. Please note that collections being returned to onsite storage will unavailable beginning July 24.

Because collections are either stored off-site or are being returned to onsite vaults and seating in the temporary reading room will be limited, advance notice of at least 3-4 business days will be required. Advance notice helps ensure offsite materials are delivered in time for a visit.

You will find more information about how to make your request in this research guide.

Update: The Schlesinger Library will complete the final phase of its renovation project between August 10 and September 11. As the collections will be in transit and staff will be moving locations, the Library will be closed and services to researchers will be unavailable from August 10 to September 11. The Library will return to its regular schedule, Monday–Saturday, 9 AM–5 PM, on Thursday, September 12. We regret this inconvenience to researchers and look forward to welcoming you in our newly renovated library. If you have questions, please contact us at

The Essentials

1. Contact us in advance of your visit


  • Use our Ask a Schlesinger Librarian form to request an appointment and access to collections
  • We can recommend additional sources and provide in-depth research help
  • Our collections are stored offsite and some may have access restrictions
  • See this research guide for more detailed information about placing requests


2. Document Cameras available in Reading Room 

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

3. What to bring

  • A form of 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.