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Harvard libraries

MIT faculty, students, and staff are eligible to use many of Harvard’s libraries and can choose from the following options:

  • Delivery to MIT: Request materials from Harvard — or other institutions across the country — via Borrow Direct
  • Visit Harvard in person:

Registering for in-person Harvard privileges

First time getting access at Harvard?

  1. Visit the Harvard College Library Privileges Office:
    Widener Library, Room 130, Harvard Yard
    Phone: 617.495.4166
    Mon, Wed, Fri: 9am-5pm; Tue and Thu, 9am-8pm; Sat: 12-5pm; closed Sun
  2. Bring your MIT ID and government-issued ID and log into Borrow Direct via Touchstone to verify your eligibility –  DUO authentication is required (please have your mobile phone set up with DUO).
  3. Fill out a registration form, choosing status 2. “Visiting Scholar,” and complete “C” on the back.
  4. You will receive a pink registration form to take to the Harvard ID office – this can be done right away:
    Smith Campus Center, Room 807, 1350 Massachusetts Ave.
    Phone: 617.496.7827
    Mon-Fri: 8am-5pm; Closed Sat, Sun, and university holidays
  5. Creating the ID takes about five minutes, and your account is ready to use right away. Access to facilities with your card make take up to 20 minutes to become active. Your account will be active through May 31 of the following year.

Already have your Harvard ID and need to renew access?

  1. Bring your Harvard ID (you must still have this) to the Harvard College Library Privileges Office at Widener Library (see address and hours above).
  2. Follow the reactivation process in step 2 above. Your renewal is immediate and is good through May 31 of the following year.

Using the Harvard Libraries

See the complete list of Harvard libraries you can access at the bottom of this page.

Register for a HarvardKey (similar to Your Account in MIT’s Barton)

To get the full benefits from Harvard Libraries HOLLIS system (requesting items on shelf to be held for pick up, viewing your record, requesting renewals), register for a HarvardKey:

  • Go to Harvard Key – this process registers users for dual authentication just like MIT and uses the same DUO app.
  • Now you can log into HOLLIS to access the above services.

Selected Harvard Policies

More information at Harvard Libraries: Visitor Access

  • Books may be requested for pickup at many Harvard libraries and will take 1-4 business days to become available, depending on where they are coming from.
  • Terms of borrowing, renewals, overdue fines, etc. are set by individual libraries, but in general:
    • Books circulate for 28 days, with up to 5 automatic renewals. Harvard doesn’t charge overdue fees on regular loaned items.
    • Like at MIT, items may be recalled by other users at any time. Harvard charges $3 per day on recalled items.
    • You can return Harvard books to ANY Harvard library or ANY MIT Libraries location.
    • MIT users cannot use Harvard’s e-resources, due to licensing restrictions.
    • MIT users are not eligible for Harvard’s extended reference services or interlibrary loan services. Please use MIT’s services — Ask Us  or Interlibrary Borrowing.

Complete list of Harvard Libraries

MIT faculty, staff, graduate students and undergraduate students are eligible for borrowing privileges at:

On-site-only access is available at:

Options Beyond Harvard

To explore the full range of options available to MIT users, see Visit non-MIT Libraries.