How to...

Borrow, Renew and Return Library Materials

Connect with the library materials you need to get your work done.


Materials Available at Harvard

There are two ways for Harvard students, faculty and staff to borrow physical items​ available at Harvard's libraries.

  • Search HOLLIS to see if there is a physical copy available on campus and get it from the shelf. Maps and guides to library stacks are available at each library.
  • In HOLLIS, request to pick up the item from the library of your choice.

Book pick up requests are filled in 1 to 4 business days. Look for the "Pick Up" link in HOLLIS to submit your request.

Can't get to the library to pick something up?

Try Scan & Deliver. It's a free electronic document delivery service for the Harvard community. Submit a request and we'll scan a journal article or book chapter and deliver it to you via email.

Loan Periods

Harvard Library materials are generally loaned for a semester at a time. Specific loan period details are noted with the item listing in HOLLIS.

Renew, Recall, Return

Borrow Gear

Books aren't the only thing you can check out from the library. We've got everything from laptops and chargers to 360 cameras and VR equipment.

Fines & Fees

Replacement fees for lost or long overdue materials vary depending on the item and the library. Fines for late return of reserve items and other short term loans also vary between libraries.

If you have questions about library fines, contact the Harvard Library Billing Office via email or phone at 617-496-3015.

    • Standard Overdue Fines: None. 
    • Recalled Materials: $3.00 per day, maximum of $45 per item.
    • Reserve Materials and Other Short Term Loans: $3 per hour.
    • Replacement Fee for Lost or Long Overdue Materials: Standard fees are $100 replacement cost, though this can vary by library.

    Not affiliated with Harvard?

    While Harvard Library primarily serves the Harvard community, there are ways for those not affiliated with Harvard to borrow materials.


    Researchers from other institutions are eligible to purchase a Special Borrow Card from Harvard Library's Privileges Office. Borrowing privileges cost between $275 and $750 for access ranging from 3 months to 1 year. Senior discounts are available. 

    Harvard Library also has several partnerships that allow researchers from partner institutions to access library materials free of charge. 

    Borrowing as a visitor

    Interlibrary Loan 

    If you need to borrow something that's only available at Harvard, contact your institution's library or your local public library and ask them to request the materials for you via Interlibrary Loan