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Although we are excited to have our fellows back on campus and working in Byerly Hall, Harvard Radcliffe Institute programs remain primarily virtual as we continue to monitor the coronavirus pandemic. See Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Updates.

Schlesinger Library / About the Library

Library Policies and Procedures

Close-up of a hand holding a pencil atop papers
Photo by Tony Rinaldo

Here, all you need to know before visiting the Schlesinger Library and our Carol K. Pforzheimer Reading Room.

  • The Schlesinger Library is open to the public and no academic affiliation is required.
  • Researchers must register at the reception desk at each visit. First-time users are also required to complete a researcher application form and show one form of photo ID. 
  • Library materials are non-circulating. Stack areas are closed to the public. 
  • Prior arrangements are required for use of off-site materials and restricted collections. The use of some audio/visual materials may require advance notice.
  • Lockers are available to store coats, books, briefcases, purses, backpacks, computer carrying cases, notebooks, binders, and other personal belongings.
  • Researchers younger than sixteen years old are welcome to use the collections when accompanied by an adult or by prior arrangement.
  • Audible features on all devices must be turned off before entering the Library. Cell phones may be used in the first floor lobby area only.

The following rules are designed to encourage use of the Library’s holdings while protecting and preserving rare, fragile, and unique materials for future use.

  • Food and drink, including gum and hard candy, are strictly prohibited.
  • Use of pens or indelible pencils is not permitted. Only note-taking materials/devices (pencils, computers, cameras) are allowed into the Library. Please see the Library’s Reading Room Digital Imaging Policy for more information. Portable scanners that require contact with materials (page feed or wand) are not permitted. The Library provides pencils and lined paper for note taking.
  • Library staff will inspect all items that researchers take into, and bring out of, the Reading Room. 
  • All materials must be handled with great care. Staff will instruct researchers on the proper handling of items. Any researcher 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 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. Persons wishing to quote, publish, perform, reproduce, or otherwise make use of an item in the Library’s collections must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of the copyright holder.
  • The researcher 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.
  • In assuming full responsibility for use of the material, the researcher also understands that the materials they examine may contain Social Security numbers, other personal identifiers, and/or sensitive material on potentially living and identifiable individuals (e.g., medical, evaluative, or personally invasive information). The researcher agrees not to record, reproduce, or disclose any Social Security number or other information of a highly personal nature that may be found.
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