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 Schlesinger Library’s Reading Room is open Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM. The Lia and William Poorvu Gallery is open to all visitors, Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM. All visitors must read and abide by current Harvard Radcliffe Institute policies.

Additional Information

Monday through Friday: 10 AM to 4 PM.

Saturday and Sunday: closed.

All visitors must read and abide by current Harvard Radcliffe Institute policies.

2022 Library Closings (subject to change)

Memorial Day: Monday, May 30, and Tuesday, May 31

Juneteenth: Friday, June 17, and Monday, June 20

Independence Day: Friday, July 1, and Monday, July 4

Labor Day: Friday, September 2, and Monday, September 5

Columbus Day (Federal)/Indigenous Peoples’ Day (City of Cambridge): Monday, October 10

Veterans Day: Friday, November 11

Wednesday before Thanksgiving: Wednesday, November 23

Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 24

Friday after Thanksgiving: Friday, November 25

Thursday before Christmas Eve: Thursday, December 22

Christmas Eve: Friday, December 23 (observed) 

Christmas Day: Monday, December 26 (observed)

Winter Recess: Monday, December 27–Friday, December 30

2023 Library Closings (subject to change)

New Year’s Day: Monday, January 2 (observed) 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Monday, January 16 

Presidents’ Day: Monday, February 20 

Memorial Day: Monday, May 29 

Juneteenth: Monday, June 19  

Independence Day: Tuesday, July 4  

Labor Day: Monday, September 4

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

Since 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.

In coming to campus, all visitors to Harvard Radcliffe Institute attest to compliance with Radcliffe visitor safety guidelines:

  • Abide by all state, local, and University COVID-19 guidelines and protocols in place at the time you come to campus.
  • Acknowledge the evolving nature of current protocols and agree to read all communications sent in advance to ensure you are up to date on the current policies and protocols.
  • Understand that the University strongly encourages all guests to be fully vaccinated and boosted (if eligible) and if unvaccinated to complete a COVID-19 (PCR or antigen) test before arriving on campus.
  • Not to come to campus if you/your guests are exhibiting symptoms, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have otherwise been instructed to quarantine or isolate.
  • Although not required, masking is encouraged in the Schlesinger Library Reading Room.

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.