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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

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 is currently open, by appointment, to Harvard students, faculty, and staff, as well as visiting, vaccinated researchers. Appointments will be available Monday to Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM. If you are interested in making an appointment or have any questions please contact, please contact us via Ask A Librarian. The Library plans to open to visiting, vaccinated researchers, by appointment, on October 25.

Upon entrance to the building, all visitors—Harvard University ID (HUID) and non-HUID holders—must provide proof of vaccination and a verbal attestation that they are symptom-free and have not been diagnosed or exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Masks must be worn indoors for the duration of your stay.

Note: The Schlesinger Library will be closed from Tuesday, January 18 through Friday, January 21 in order to prepare for the implementation of a new library management software. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Schlesinger Library Access Policies

Current HUID holders can access the Reading Room by appointment Monday-Friday, 10 AM to 4 PM. If you are interested in making an appointment please contact us via Ask a Librarian.

Follow these instructions if you:

  • Are not a current HUID holder; and
  • Plan to spend fewer than seven days in the Reading Room over the course of this academic year (September 1, 2021–May 26, 2022).


HOURS
Non-HUID holders will be able to access the Reading Room beginning October 25, 2021. Access will be by appointment Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 4 PM. If you are interested in making an appointment please contact us via Ask a Librarian.

PROOF OF VACCINATION
All researchers aged 12 and above will be required to provide proof of vaccination upon visiting the Library. Vaccination documentation will not be collected or stored by the Library and should not be sent via email prior to the researcher’s visit.

This documentation must reflect that visitors are fully vaccinated and have received their final dose at least two weeks prior to their first visit.

Upon a researcher’s first arrival at the Library, staff will verify all vaccination documents.

Acceptable proof of vaccination includes the following:

  • CDC vaccination card
  • Photo of CDC vaccination card (physical or digital copy)
  • Digital vaccine record

International visitors may provide an official immunization record from outside the United States. All vaccines authorized by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organization (WHO) will meet the Library’s vaccine requirement.


PHOTO ID
All visiting researchers aged 12 and above must provide a valid photo ID. Acceptable forms of ID include:

  • State-issued driver’s license
  • State-issued ID card
  • College or university-issued ID card
  • International driver’s license
  • International passport


VERBAL HEALTH ATTESTATION
When researchers arrive for their scheduled appointment(s) they must display the documents outlined above and make a verbal health attestation, which will ask them to confirm the following:

  • They have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or have evidence of a negative test administered within 72 hours of arrival
  • They are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
  • They have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days prior to their visit
  • They have not been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 within 14 days prior to their visit


MASK POLICY
All visitors age 2 or older, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a face covering upon entrance to any Harvard University building and for the duration of their stay.

Face coverings must cover the nose, mouth, and chin of the wearer and must provide a tight fit against the face.

Acceptable face coverings should meet the following standards:

  • Be comprised of a minimum of two layers
  • Cloth masks should block light when held up to a bright light source
  • Contain ear loops or ties
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be free of valves and similar openings
  • Be changed or replaced when they become wet or soiled
  • Be laundered regularly and when soiled

Unacceptable face coverings include, but are not limited to, single-layer cloth face coverings, bandanas hanging loosely and not secured under the chin, masks with exhalation valves/vents, and coverings made from loosely woven material or highly elastic fabric, which can become ineffective.


TESTING
Visiting researchers who will be utilizing the Reading Room for seven days or fewer are encouraged to receive a COVID-19 test on the day of their arrival to Cambridge. This can be done at a local clinic or pharmacy and will be performed at the researcher’s own expense.


CLEANING PROTOCOLS
The Schlesinger Library is following Harvard’s rigorous policies and guidelines designed to stop the spread of COVID-19, including using cleaning products and protocols that meet EPA guidelines and frequently cleaning and sanitizing all public spaces.

Hand sanitizer stations are available for your use throughout the Library.


For more information on these instructions, please contact us via Ask a Librarian.

Follow these instructions if you:

  • Are not a current HUID holder; and
  • are planning to spend eight days or more in the Reading Room over the course of this academic year (September 1, 2021–May 26, 2022).


HOURS
Non-HUID holders will be able to access the Reading Room beginning October 25, 2021. Access will be by appointment Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 4 PM. If you are interested in making an appointment please contact us via Ask a Librarian.


PROOF OF VACCINATION
All researchers aged 12 and above will be required to provide proof of vaccination upon visiting the Library. Vaccination documentation will not be collected or stored by the Library and should not be sent via email prior to the researcher’s visit.

This documentation must reflect that visitors are fully vaccinated and have received their final dose at least two weeks prior to their first visit.

Upon a researcher’s first arrival to the Library, staff will verify all vaccination documents.

Acceptable proof of vaccination includes the following:

  • CDC vaccination card
  • Photo of CDC vaccination card (physical or digital copy)
  • Digital vaccine record

International visitors may provide an official immunization record from outside the United States. All vaccines authorized by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organization (WHO) will meet the Library’s vaccine requirement.


REGISTER AS A PERSON OF INTEREST
All researchers who plan to visit the Reading Room for eight days or more over the course of the academic year (September 1, 2021–May 26, 2022) will be required to register as a "Person of Interest" in the Harvard University system. After registering, you will be issued a temporary HUID number, required to report your vaccination status, and required to enroll in the University’s COVID-19 testing program.

Researchers are advised to make these arrangements well in advance of their visit, as the process can take up to four weeks to complete.


VERBAL HEALTH ATTESTATION
When researchers arrive for their scheduled appointment(s) they must display the documents outlined above and make a verbal health attestation, which will ask them to confirm the following:

  • They have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or have evidence of a negative test
  • They are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
  • They have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days prior to their visit
  • They have not been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 within 14 days prior to their visit


PHOTO ID
All researchers aged 12 and above must provide a valid photo ID. Acceptable forms of ID include:

  • State-issued driver’s license
  • State-issued ID card
  • College or university-issued ID card
  • International driver’s license
  • International passport


MASK POLICY
All visitors age 2 or older, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a face covering upon entrance to any University building and for the duration of their stay.

Face coverings must cover the nose, mouth, and chin of the wearer and must provide a tight fit against the face.

Acceptable face coverings should meet the following standards:

  • Comprised of a minimum of two layers
  • Cloth masks should block light when held up to a bright light source
  • Contain ear loops or ties
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be free of valves and similar openings
  • Be changed or replaced when they become wet or soiled
  • Be laundered regularly and when soiled

Unacceptable face coverings include, but are not limited to, single-layer cloth face coverings, bandanas hanging loosely and not secured under the chin, masks with exhalation valves/vents, and coverings made from loosely woven material or highly elastic fabric, which can become ineffective.


CLEAN PROTOCOLS
We are following Harvard’s rigorous policies and guidelines designed to stop the spread of COVID-19, including using cleaning products and protocols that meet EPA guidelines and frequently cleaning and sanitizing all public spaces.

Hand sanitizer stations are available for your use throughout the Library.


For more information on these instructions, please contact us via Ask a Librarian.

Additional Information

Monday through Friday: 10 AM to 4 PM, by appointment

Please review our visitation requirements before scheduling your appointment. 

Saturday and Sunday: Closed

2021 Library Closings (Subject to change)

New Year’s Day: Friday, January 1
Staff training: Tuesday, January 18 to Friday, January 21
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
Wednesday before Thanksgiving: Wednesday, November 24
Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 25
Friday after Thanksgiving: Friday, November 26
Christmas Eve: Thursday, December 23 (observed) 
Christmas Day: Friday, December 24 (observed)
Winter Recess: December 20–30
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

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.

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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