BorrowDirect is often the fastest way to borrow something not available at Harvard. It also gives you access to partner libraries.

Borrowing via BorrowDirect while at Harvard

BorrowDirect allows Harvard students, faculty and staff to request items from partner libraries for delivery to Harvard, free of charge.

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What Can Be Borrowed

  • All printed books and music scores that are lent by the owning library
  • Some audio-visual material (DVDs, videos), or microforms (film, fiche)

What Can't Be Borrowed

  • Books held in the Harvard Library collection that are on the shelf and available for lending
  • Books assigned to reference, reserve, or rare book collections by the owning library
  • Bound journals or journal articles


  • Available materials usually arrive within four business days and must be picked up in person.
  • You will be notified via email when your materials are available for pickup.
  • Loans are for 16 weeks and renewals are not allowed.
  • Pending requests can be viewed via your BorrowDirect account. BorrowDirect items you have checked out are listed in your HOLLIS account.
  • BorrowDirect materials can be returned to any Harvard library.

On-Site Borrowing At BorrowDirect Partners

Harvard students can also visit and check out books at other BorrowDirect libraries. Get more information about participating libraries and policies.

A couple of things to keep in mind: 

  • In most cases you'll need your Harvard ID. A staff member at the partner library will usually ask you to log in to your BorrowDirect account as authorization for access.
  • Books you borrow directly from one of these partners should be returned directly to the owning library, not to a Harvard Library facility.