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Visiting the Harvard Library

Harvard University alumni are welcome to visit the Harvard Library. Each Harvard Library has its own requirements for alumni access and privileges, so when planning a visit you may wish to contact the library directly or contact the Harvard Library Privileges office ( or 617-495-4166).

Alumni who wish to make greater use of the Library's collections and resources may choose to obtain a Special Borrower card. Alumni must present photo identification and be verified in order to obtain either an Alumni or Special Borrower card. Contact the individual library for information about obtaining a Special Borrower card.

Off-site access to a growing selection of licensed electronic resources is also available to Harvard University alumni. Learn more about alumni access to electronic resources.




Archives & Special Collections Access

Alumni are welcome to visit and conduct research in Harvard's extraordinary special collections and archives, held at more than 50 locations throughout the Harvard Library system.

For general information about special collections and archives at Harvard, please visit the Harvard Library Archives and Special Collections page.

Since access policies vary by location, please see individual archives and special collections websites for more information regarding the scope of collections, hours, and research help contacts. Note: You can narrow the list down by selecting the Archives & Special Collections tab (see below).

Screenshot of Find a Library page

Harvard College Library Special Collections (Houghton, Harvard Map Collection, Harvard-Yenching, Fine Arts, Loeb Music and Tozzer) require a special Collections card which can be obtained at the Harvard Library Privileges Office located in Widener Library. Please visit the HCL Special Collections Registration and Request page to create an account ahead of time.