How long does a library purchase request take?

What's the usual wait time after a Purchase Request form is submitted?

It depends. We try to get materials as quickly as possible and it's our standard practice to notify Harvard-affiliated individuals when requested items arrive, usually by email. 

Some materials are very simple to order online and will arrive within a few days or up to a week or two. Others are more difficult—for instance, microfilm, books published more than 10 years ago, and materials published outside North America and Western Europe can be challenging and/or take weeks or more to obtain. 

We do try to let people know when difficulties or delays arise, but please do not hesitate to ask if it seems that the materials you need are taking too long to get into your hands.

In the meantime, you may be able to get a copy through our Get It services.

Service Alert:
  • Ask a Librarian, including chat and email, will be suspended on Thursday and Friday, November 23 and 24. Regular service hours resume on Saturday. .
  • If If you're experiencing an ongoing technical issue when you attempt to access library materials with your HarvardKey during these times, please report it to Library Technology Services.



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