What services are available for Harvard students who are not on campus?

How can distance students and students who are away for a semester or for the summer obtain/use library materials?

Some options for those who are currently enrolled but not regularly on campus or living locally include:

E-resources: Access to Harvard Library's electronic resources (anything you have to login online to see) is always available to current students, faculty and staff with a HarvardKey. 

  • Log in with your HarvardKey when prompted in order to use journal articles, ebooks etc (HOLLIS is a good place to start).

Scan & Deliver: You can also use Scan & Deliver to request copies of articles and book chapters which are available in print in the Harvard Libraries.

• See the Scan & Deliver page or our Scan & Deliver FAQ for information, including where to place S&D requests.

Interlibrary Loan:  ILL can get pdfs of of articles and book chapters, or other sections of readings unavailable at Harvard on your behalf. They will be emailed to you, often often same or next day (M-F, 9-5 Eastern Time) depending on availability. See the Harvard Library Interlibrary Loan page for more.

• ILL cannot send you entire books (or ebooks) or physical copies of other materials.

• If you are affiliated with another school, you can use interlibrary loan for physical materials there, or at your local public library.

Using other libraries: Borrow Direct Plus gives currently enrolled Harvard students physical access to and borrowing access at other Borrow Direct Libraries. See our Borrow Direct Plus FAQ. Beyond that, we have a small number of reciprocal agreements with other institutions. The Library Access and Borrowing Office has more information.

• It's always a good idea to inquire at local college or university libraries about using their facility. We are happy to provide letters of introduction, asking that other libraries extend access to you in accordance with their policies. (Contact the Library Access and Borrowing Office for such a letter). 

Service Alert:
  • Ask a Librarian, including chat and email, will be suspended from 5:00 pm on Thursday, December 22, through Monday, January 2, for the holiday break. Any questions received during this period will be answered beginning Tuesday, January 2, 2024.
  • 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.



Monday-Thursday 9am-9pm

Friday-Saturday 9am-5pm

Sunday 12noon-7pm

Chat is intended for brief inquiries from the Harvard community.


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.