Who can use the reading room at Houghton?

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all people wishing to use our collections. 

Those not currently affiliated with Harvard University or who do not hold a Special Borrower Card need to visit the Library Access and Borrowing Office at Widener Library to get a Special Collections Card. 

The Library Access and Borrowing Office will ask for a state-issued ID, including a photo and date of birth, or a passport. If you don’t have one of these forms of identification, please contact us to make arrangements ahead of your visit. 

All visitors to the Reading Room must register for a HOLLIS Special Request account to request materials. 

Please note: Patron registration and circulation records are kept in perpetuity. These records are kept confidential to the extent permitted by law. Names of researchers using Houghton Library’s Emerson collections and New Directions collections are shared with the boards of trustees for those collections.