I'm a summer school student. How do I use the library?


Welcome to Harvard!

Your Harvard ID is your library card. You'll use it to come in to the libraries, for checking out books, and for looking at articles, books and databases online.

We have some frequently requested info below. Be sure to check out our Summer School guide to using the library, and Ask a Librarian when you need help!

Electronic resources: to use our subscription resources from a non-library computer (in other words, to read much of what we have online), you'll need a HarvardKey.

Borrowing: To check out books at Widener, Lamont, and Cabot or any of these other FAS Libraries, take the book to the Circulation desk of the library.

  • You can visit and use materials in many of the other libraries like the medical, government, law and business libraries, but you won't be able to check anything out. Please contact the library you have in mind before you go.

Using the Library: We have a guide to using the library created just for Summer School students.It can help you navigate the library system at Harvard.

  • Most people visit Widener first, but Lamont and Cabot Science are comfortable and usable spaces, and sometimes the libraries at the graduate schools will have just the thing you need.

Printing and computer resources: Many summer school students ask us about these. You can use the computers, photocopiers, scanners and printers at the library. Scanning is free in the library, but you'll need Crimson Cash to print or photocopy at a library.

  • Since you've already paid for the printing resources available through the Summer School you may prefer to print there. Please see Summer School Computer Accounts and Facilities to find out where and how summer school students are set up to print.

Wireless access: To register your laptop or other device for wireless access inside the libraries, see Connect to the Harvard Networks in the HUIT web pages.

Help: You can find help at the Reference, Information or Circulation desk of any library. In other libraries, the Circulation desk is just inside the building, or just use Ask a Librarian email or chat (during business hours, we usually respond to questions within an hour or so).

  • If you're in the library and you need immediate assistance (especially after 5pm and on weekends), going to a Circulation or Reference desk is usually better than using Ask a Librarian.

Recreational reading: Widener and Lamont are excellent places to find novels and other recreational reading. You can look in the HOLLIS catalog by title. In Lamont, the Farnsworth room on the 3rd floor is a nice quiet study space and a room full of recreational reading.

If you have more questions or just need help figuring something out, use Ask a Librarian.

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.