The Schlesinger Library is open to the public and no academic affiliation is required.
Readers younger than sixteen years old are welcome to use library materials when accompanied by an adult, or by prior arrangement.
The following policies are designed to encourage use of the library's holdings while protecting and preserving rare, fragile, and unique materials for future use.
- Readers must register at the reception desk at each visit. First-time users are also required to complete a reader application form and show one form of photo ID.
- Prior arrangements are required for the use of some materials such as sound recordings, film/video footage, restricted collections, and materials stored offsite.
- Lockers are available to store coats, books, briefcases, purses, backpacks, computer carrying cases, notebooks, binders, and other personal belongings.
- Only note-taking materials/devices (notepaper, pencils, laptops) are allowed into the library. Digital cameras may also be used for note-taking. Please see the library’s Use of Digital Cameras policy for more information. Portable scanners are not permitted in the library.
- Library materials are non-circulating and cannot be taken out of the building. Stack areas are closed to the public.
- Food and drink, including gum and hard candy, are strictly prohibited.
- Audible features on cell phones, pagers, and laptop computers must be turned off before entering the library. Cell phones may be used in the lobby area only.
- Library staff will inspect all items that readers take into, and bring out of, the Carol K. Pforzheimer Reading Room.
- Use of pens or indelible pencils is not permitted. Pencils and sharpeners are available at the Reference Desk.
- Separate call slips must be completed for each item or group of items requested. Readers are allowed to keep only a limited amount of materials at their desk at one time.
- All materials must be handled with great care. Staff will instruct readers on the proper handling of items. Any reader who fails to observe instructions may forfeit the right to use the library's collections.
- No materials will be paged within forty-five minutes of closing. All items must be returned to the Carol K. Pforzheimer Reading Room desk at least fifteen minutes before closing.
- Permission to examine library materials is not authorization to publish or to reproduce the examined material in whole, or in part. A separate Permission to Publish contract must be submitted to the library.
- Readers may order a limited number of photocopies/reproductions pending staff approval and in accordance with the copyright law of the United States. Some material will not be copied due to condition or donor restriction. Please see the library's Photocopy Policies and Procedures for more information.
- The reader assumes full responsibility for use of the material and agrees to hold harmless the Schlesinger Library, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and the President and Fellows of Harvard College, against all claims, demands, costs and expenses incurred by copyright infringement or any other legal or regulatory cause of action arising from the use of the library's materials.