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Harvard Radcliffe Institute has shifted to primarily virtual operations and continues to monitor the coronavirus pandemic. See Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Updates.

Schlesinger Library / About the Library

Visit the Library

Foyer of the Schlesinger Library
Foyer of the Schlesinger Library. Photo by Jessica Brilli

Open to the public, the library welcomes all researchers who wish to use the collections, view exhibitions, and attend events.

The Library building is currently closed to all researchers, but we are open online. This is a continually evolving situation so please check back for updates. Please note that response times may be affected as we assist Harvard students and faculty with their remote learning and research needs. We appreciate your patience.

Monday through Saturday: 9 AM to 5 PM
Sunday: Closed

2021 Library Closings (Subject to change)

New Year’s Day: Friday, January 1
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday: Monday, January 18
Presidents Day: Monday, February 15
Memorial Day: Monday, May 31
Juneteenth: Friday, June 18 (observed)
Independence Day: Monday, July 5 (observed)
Labor Day: Monday, September 6
Columbus Day (Federal)/Indigenous Peoples’ Day (City of Cambridge): Monday, October 11
Veterans Day: Thursday, November 11
Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 25
Friday after Thanksgiving: Friday, November 26
Christmas Eve (half day): Thursday, December 23 (observed) 
Christmas Day: Friday, December 24 (observed)
Winter Recess: December 27–30
New Year's Day: Friday, December 31 (observed)

The library is located in Radcliffe Yard, three blocks outside of Harvard Square at 3 James Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.

Parking is limited, and visitors are encouraged to use public transportation.

Availability of Materials

No appointment is required to use the library, but because many of our collections are stored off-site and/or have access restrictions, you are advised to check the availability of materials in advance of your visit. 

We strongly encourage you to search HOLLIS Catalog to get more information about the items you think you will want to use. The catalog records will indicate whether items are stored off-site, restricted, or closed. If the item(s) in which you are interested are stored off-site and/or restricted, or if you are having difficulty searching the library holdings, please contact us for further assistance.

When You Arrive

All reading room users are required to register upon their first visit and to show one form of photo identification. Reception staff will assign a locker for any bags, cases, or valuables that you bring into the library. Once you have registered, proceed to the second-floor reference desk, where staff will assist you with filling out call slips and finding the materials you need.

Please read our Library Policies prior to your visit.

All materials are retrieved by staff after a call slip has been submitted. With the exception of reference books, all library materials must be used in the Carol K. Pforzheimer Reading Room.

You are encouraged to bring a digital camera or camera enabled device. Digital photography is allowed for research purposes. Please read our Reading Room Digital Imaging Policy.

The Library also offers scanning services.

Laptop and tablet computers are welcome in the reading room. Electrical outlets and network connections are available at each seat. A wireless network is also available.

The Harvard University Travel Portal provides up-to-date information about area hotels and ground transportation. 

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