Borrowing / Get It

Borrowing privileges within the Harvard College Library are extended to individuals who hold either a current Harvard ID or an HCL Special Borrower Card. Please refer to this chart of Get It! Services.

  • There is no limit to the number of items a user may borrow.
  • All material is subject to Recall.
  • Login is required to access many online library resources. To learn more, please visit
  • All library users are subject to the terms of the HCL Patron Agreement, which is posted in student handbooks, on this site, and available in hard copy at each HCL library.


Materials can be renewed either in person at the lending library or online, up to five times, via "Your Account" in the HOLLIS catalog. After the fifth renewal, materials must be brought to the library to be checked out. Renewals are not accepted via telephone or fax.

Please note that if a borrower brings a book renewed online back into the lending library, it must be re-stamped at the Circulation Desk before it can leave the building. This quick procedure ensures that the book reflects the official due date recorded in the computer database. It also indicates to the doorchecker at the guard desk that the book is indeed checked out.

All library users are responsible for returning or renewing items charged to them on time.


Material that is on loan to one library user may be recalled by another. Any item currently checked out can be recalled. (Once the item has been recalled, the date stamped on the checkout slip is no longer valid.)

A recall notice will come via mail or e-mail. Borrowers are guaranteed 10 days use with each charged item that is recalled, unless it is needed for reserves use. If the guaranteed use period has elapsed, the recalled item is due seven days after the date the recall is placed.

All borrowers, regardless of category, who do not respond promptly to recalls will be fined and may be subject to suspension of library borrowing privileges.

Any user with a valid Harvard ID or HCL Special Borrower Card can place a recall request. Recalls are placed through a HOLLIS catalog record by choosing Full View/Availability/Request and following the prompts.

Obtaining Materials from Remote Storage

Some library materials held in remote storage. This will be indicated in the availability section of the HOLLIS catalog record. Materials can be retrieved from the Harvard Depository directly through HOLLIS by following the prompts.

  1. Find a record in HOLLIS and choose format Full View
  2. Click on the Availability link
  3. Click on the Request link, (if there is no request button, follow the directions in the Item Status column)
  4. Click on Send Request to complete your request

Materials requested from remote storage will be available for pick-up at the owning library by 3 p.m. the next business day. Login is required to access many online library resources. To learn more, please visit


Books can be returned in person or mailed (priority, insured) to the attention of Book Return at the lending library. See the HCL Libraries page for addresses.

Please go to the Billing Office in Widener Library or the library Circulation Desk to clear overdue books or to report lost materials.

Missing Materials

If a library item appears in the HOLLIS record as not checked out, but cannot be found in the stacks, notify the staff at the Circulation Desk and they will try to locate the item.

Borrowing without a Harvard ID

Individuals without a Harvard ID—alumni/ae, faculty members at other institutions, Ph.D. candidates at other institutions, and other researchers not affiliated with Harvard University—may be eligible for one or more of the following types of borrowing privileges: Reading Room Privileges Card, HCL Special Borrower Card, HCL Stacks Access Card. Privileges are obtained through the Library Privileges Office. Fees may apply.

Library Privileges Office
Widener Library
Room 130
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA

The hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday & Friday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Tuesday & Thursday: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm and Saturday: Noon – 5:00 pm. Holiday and intersession hours vary, so please call or check the hours before visiting during those times.