How to...

Borrow, Renew, and Return Library Materials

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


When you access our library spaces and collections you are agreeing to abide by the Patron Agreement, which is outlined here.

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, Return, Recall

Ask a Librarian

Looking for immediate help from our staff? Find answers to commonly asked questions and ask your own. Library staff members are also available via chat during posted hours.

Fines & Fees

Replacement fees for lost or long overdue materials vary depending on the item and the library. Fines for late return of course reserve items and other short term loans, such as tech loan items, 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.

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 Borrowing Card from Harvard Library's Access & Borrowing Office. Borrowing privileges cost between $50 and $850 for access ranging from one month to a year. Senior discounts are available. 

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

Visitor Access Options

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