Photo by Kevin Grady, Radcliffe Staff PhotographerPhoto by Kevin Grady, Radcliffe Staff Photographer

The Schlesinger Library is open to the public and welcomes all visitors.

While no appointment is necessary to use the library's holdings, we advise that you review our Planning a Visit to the Schlesinger Library guide. Researchers are strongly encouraged contact the Library in advance of their visit.

Don't have a research project? Come by to see an exhibition or attend an event

Library Hours

The Schlesinger Library will be undergoing renovations from November 2018 through early September 2019. During this time, researchers will be able to access the Library’s collections by appointment in a temporary reading room located in Fay House, Radcliffe Yard. Please note that our public anniversary exhibition, 75 Stories, 75 Years: Documenting the Lives of American Women at the Schlesinger Library, will remain open until November 1. 

The Carol K. Pforzheimer Reading Room will be closed from Saturday, October 27, through Tuesday, November 6, 2018, as we move into the temporary location. During this time, there will be no access to the Library’s collections and virtual reference services will be limited. 

If you’re planning a visit between now and Friday, October 26, please contact us for more information about collections availability. In preparation for the renovation, collections continue to be moved to off-site storage and may be temporarily unavailable for a period of time. A list of these collections can be found here.

The reading room will reopen in Fay House on Wednesday, November 7, 2018. Because all collections will be stored off-site and seating in the temporary reading room will be limited, advance notice of at least 48 hours will be required. Appointments can be made via our Ask a Librarian form.

 Monday through Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday: Closed

Library Closings*: Updated September 18, 2018

*Subject to Change


Wednesday, September 26, the reading room will close at 3:30

Columbus Day: Monday, October 8

Veterans Day (observed): Monday, Nov. 12 

Thanksgiving Recess: Noon on Wednesday, Nov. 21–Saturday, Nov. 24

Winter Recess: Friday, Dec 21 – Tuesday Jan 1                  


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

Visitors are encouraged to use public transportation, since parking is limited.

Plan Your Research Visit

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.

Use of the Carol K. Pforzheimer 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.


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