I'm not a Harvard student. Can I get access to Harvard materials?

For Harvard's print collections:

If you are in or near Cambridge, Massachusetts, contact the Library Access and Borrowing Office to learn about your options. Independent researchers not affiliated with Harvard must supply a valid photo ID card and a letter from the reference librarian of their university or public library stating that the specific library materials needed are not available elsewhere.

If you are not near Cambridge, inquire about your local library's interlibrary loan services (sometimes called interloan, document delivery, or document supply). If you are affiliated with another university, your institution may be able to borrow a book from Harvard or request a scan at no cost to you. Your local public library may also be able to obtain items for you at no or low cost. Wikipedia offers a helpful overview of how interlibrary loan works.

Another option is to request images of Harvard materials through Harvard’s Imaging Services. Copyright restrictions apply, and there is a fee per page scanned. Imaging Services will respond to your request with a cost estimate.

For special collections:

Please contact the special collection.

For e-resources, see:

"Am I able to access the Harvard Libraries' electronic research databases, e-journals and electronic resources?"

For theses and dissertations, see:

"How can I find a Harvard thesis or dissertation?"

Service Alert:
  • Ask a Librarian, including chat and email, will be suspended from Saturday, May 26 through Monday May 28, in observance of Memorial Day. Questions received during this period will be answered beginning Tuesday, May 28, 2023.
  • 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-5pm

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.