Houghton Library staff are happy to host class visits, provide student consultations, or help you develop out-of-class learning experiences for your students.
Whether you are looking to bring your students to Houghton Library for a single visit, develop a semester-long project with us, or anything in between, we’re here to support your students’ learning.
Request Class Support
The first step to integrating Houghton Library into your course is submitting a request. If you have questions about what kinds of support we can offer, you can also get in touch with us for more information.
Staff and space are in high demand throughout the semester, so please make your requests early to ensure availability, especially for multi-section classes. We may not be able to arrange class visits with less than 4 weeks’ notice. Classes from outside Harvard are welcome, but please be aware of the Library's visitor access policies.
You'll be asked for the following information when you submit a class request:
- goals for your students' work with our collections
- course title and number
- instructor contact information
- number of students in the class
- possible dates and times for your class visit, in order of preference
Things to Keep In Mind When Selecting Materials
We recommend no more than 12 items per visit. Fewer items can allow students to engage more closely with the materials than an overwhelming display. Large classes or certain activities may require more items—talk with the librarian or archivist working with you on your class if needed.
We ask that the materials used for a course be requested no later than 2 weeks before the first visit—this gives us time to prepare materials and, when necessary, select substitutes for items that are too fragile or otherwise unavailable.
Preparing Your Students
- Make sure your students know where to meet for your class. We typically meet classes in the Houghton lobby before going to our classrooms.
- Students are welcome to bring in cell phones and laptops. We provide pencil and paper for taking notes. If you expect your students to need other material in our classrooms (like notebooks or course readings), talk to us in advance.
- To protect our collections from accidental damage, students will be asked to put most of their personal belongings (including all bags, laptop cases, and jackets) in lockers. Food and drink are also not allowed in our classrooms.
- Due to the nature of our materials, special collections libraries typically have different security measures than other libraries students may have worked in. Our classrooms have cameras and the lobby guards will ask to inspect all materials brought in and out of Houghton.