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.
- 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.
Friday & Saturday 9am-5pm
Chat is intended for brief inquiries from the Harvard community.
Reach out to librarians and other reference specialists by email using our online form. We usually respond within 24 hours Monday through Friday.
Talk to a librarian for advice on defining your topic, developing your research strategy, and locating and using sources. Make an appointment now.
These services are intended primarily for Harvard University faculty, staff and students. If you are not affiliated with Harvard, please use these services only to request information about the Library and its collections.