Harvard Law School Library’s physical location is closed until further notice. We continue to answer questions via email and asklib.law.harvard.edu. Access to special and non-circulating collections will not be available until further notice. For the latest update on the status of services and access at the libraries see library.harvard.edu/coronavirus.
The Harvard Law School Library is a private research facility that exists primarily to support the educational and research needs of the Harvard Law School faculty, staff and students and, secondarily, the needs of the Harvard University community. Consistent with its primary purpose, Harvard Law School Library attempts to serve the legitimate needs of scholars and researchers requiring access to the Law Library’s unique collections. Please note:
- Borrowing is limited to current Harvard ID holders.
- During exam periods, access is restricted to current Harvard law affiliates, and collection users. Harvard University ID holders can always enter to retrieve a book to check out at the Circulation Desk.
- Manuscript and visual materials, along with rare books, are housed in the Library’s Special Collections. For information concerning access to these materials, please visit the Historical & Special Collections page.
- The library staff is not available for legal advice. If you require legal assistance, click the following link for more information.
Harvard affiliated students, faculty, and staff with a current Harvard University ID qualify for admittance to the Law Library and borrowing privileges. People currently affiliated with a Harvard Law School program or Harvard University program qualify for admittance by obtaining a letter of introduction from the program, and then filling out an access application.
Faculty or staff of a Harvard Law School department or program, or a Harvard University department or program, may contact us to set up access to the library for a guest.
The Law Library accepts Special Borrower cards for admittance and borrowing privileges, including alumni, spouse and domestic partner cards, IviesPlus and Fletcher School students. These users must obtain the Special Borrower card from the Widener Privileges Office, 617-495-4166.
Faculty Research Assistants must obtain a Research Assistant card through the Widener Library Privileges Office. This card gives access to the Law Library, Harvard libraries, and electronic resources. Faculty choose whether the card is for borrowing books on their behalf. A Research Assistant is not required to be Harvard University student or employee.
Please direct questions to Widener Library Privileges Office, 617-495-4166. Instructions and the application are available on their web site.
Harvard Law School alumni/ae qualify for free access to the Law Library, but not borrowing privileges. Register at the Langdell Circulation Desk.
There is free access for alumni currently at another university as a faculty, PhD candidate, staff, or student requiring use of the Law Library collection.
Individuals who are looking for information on a Harvard Law School graduate for genealogy research may want to consult our research guide “Biographical Research for HLS Graduates,” as well as the online book, “Quinquennial Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of Harvard Univeristy.” This book lists all Harvard graduates from 1636 to 1905.
Faculty, students, staff, librarians, and researchers from other accredited academic institutions may apply for admittance to the Law Library for short-term legal research. Because materials may be located offsite in storage or at the Harvard Depository, you may want to email Access Privileges, 617-495-3455, more than three days in advance. Access fees may apply; please consult the application form for details.
Admittance to the Library does not include borrowing privileges. For borrowing, inquire about Interlibrary Loan at your local, academic, firm, or public library.
Members of the bar, and individuals doing legal research who are not currently affiliated with an academic institution, may apply for admittance to the Library for a fee; please consult the application form for details. Reduced rates for access to the Library for longer than a day are available.
The Library reserves the right to limit or deny access based on legal research needs or other special circumstances.
Depository Collection Users
As a member of the United States Federal Depository Library Program and the European Union Depository Library Program, Harvard Law School Library receives selected European Union and US government documents. The Library is obligated by law to provide free access to these documents, which may be maintained and technically supported on the Internet or in other electronic formats, as well as held by the Library in paper or microformat.
International Students and Scholars
International students, scholars and faculty may apply for admittance to the Law Library. A letter granting admission to the Library does not serve as visa sponsorship from Harvard University.
The Library subscribes to a number of electronic resources on behalf of Harvard Law School faculty, staff, and students; use of these resources is limited to members of the Harvard Law School community. Access is controlled by either IP address or password. See the Electronic Resources page for more information.
Policies on admittance and borrowing, hours, and services vary. For more information on all libraries at Harvard visit library.harvard.edu. Inquire about eligibility to use the libraries at the Library Privileges Office, Widener Library, Room 130.
In order to respect the privacy of our students and to maintain the library as a place for quiet study, large tours, photography, videotaping and filming within the library are all not allowed. On rare occasions, special arrangements for filming can be made, however, permission must be obtained in advance. Please contact Library Administration, 617-495-3170 to request permission.*