These policies apply to Cabot, Chemistry/Chemical Biology, Fine Arts, Harvard Map Collection, Harvard Theatre Collection, Harvard-Yenching, Houghton, Lamont, Loeb Music, Mathetmatics, Physics, Tozzer, and Widener libraries and the technical services facility at 625 Mass. Ave.

Animals in the Libraries

With the exception of licensed Service Animals, pets/animals are not allowed in the libraries.

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Appropriate Use of Public Terminals

The Harvard College Library offers Internet and computing resources to the Harvard Community and members of the public for the purpose of promoting research and scholarship. Although the libraries do not monitor or censor the use of computers by library patrons, patrons should consider that the open display of some materials may create an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for others. Library patrons should respect others' desires not to be inadvertently exposed to images they find offensive. Library staff reserve the right to mediate complaints about the display of material and enforce this policy.

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Assembling on Widener Library Steps

Requests to assemble on the Widener Library steps must be approved by the Office of the Librarian of Harvard College and by the Assistant Dean of Harvard College. Only requests from Harvard-sanctioned student organizations will be considered. To request permission to use the Widener steps, please visit the Harvard College Room Reservation System site and submit an event registration form. Requests must be made at least five business days in advance of the event. Requests to allow the use of a sound system must be made at the same time the Application to Use Outdoor Spaces is submitted. Use of amplification of sound systems of any kind must be approved by the Office of the Dean of Harvard College.

For additional details, see Guidelines for Assembling on Widener Library Steps.

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Book/Bag Checking Policy

All library material is to be manually checked to ensure it has been properly charged out. Please present all books, bags, and pockets of bags that could contain library materials. This includes, but is not limited to, briefcases, knapsacks, backpacks, handbags, pocketbooks, other carryalls, and boxes. All sealed boxes and packages must be opened for the guards to inspect. It also includes any and all pockets, no matter what the size of the bag. Patrons and staff members are subject to identical checks when departing the library.

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Cell Phones

Harvard College Library does not permit cell phone conversation in the libraries. Patrons are asked to turn off ringers and discontinue calls when they are in the library buildings. Some libraries have designated cell phone areas. Please look for signage.

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Food and Drink

For the preservation of the collections, food and drink are not permitted inside the libraries. The following libraries allow drinks only, provided they are in covered containers: Cabot, Harvard-Yenching, Lamont, Loeb Music, Tozzer, and Widener.

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Licensing and Copyright

All library users must respect the copyrights for printed materials as well as for software and data accessible through computers throughout the Harvard College Library. No copyrighted work may be copied, published, disseminated, displayed, or played without permission of the copyright holder except in accordance with fair use or licensed agreement. Students with questions about copyrights or this policy are invited to raise those questions with any dean, tutor, or academic officer. Staff supervisors and members of the faculty are welcome to call the University's Office of General Counsel.

Some electronic resources are restricted by license agreement to current students, faculty, and staff members in the Harvard community and to on-site users of Harvard's libraries for purposes of research, teaching, and private study. Commercial use and systematic downloading, copying, or distributing of information are expressly prohibited. Users are individually responsible for compliance with these terms.

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Lost and Found in Widener, Pusey and Lamont

All items that are found in Widener, Lamont and Pusey Libraries are turned over to the guards at the Widener Mass. Ave. Door Security Desk. Items are tagged, inventoried, and stored in a secure location. Valuable items such as cash, jewelry, wallets, purses, laptops, credit cards, cameras, and backpacks are turned over to the Harvard University Police Department. All Harvard University IDs are turned in to the Harvard University ID Office on the next business day. All other items are stored for six months. At the end of six months, unclaimed books are turned over to HCL Materials Management, and all other items are donated to the Phillips Brooks House.

Patrons and staff should make inquiries about lost items to the guards at the Widener Mass. Ave. Door Security Desk (617-495-2408). The guards will make arrangements to help retrieve lost items.

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Permission to Use Images from Library Materials

Users who wish to include a copy (in any format) obtained from materials held by the Harvard College Library in publication, Web page or other electronic medium, film, exhibit, etc., must first obtain permission from the holding library. Permissons and reproduction requests for HCL materials may also be submitted via the Imaging Services order inquiry forms.

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Photography and Filming

In support of its mission to provide access to materials and service in an environment that is conducive to study and research, the Harvard College Library (HCL) strictly limits filming in its libraries and facilities. No photography or filming is permitted in the buildings without written permission; please see special considerations, below.

Additionally, photography and filming in HCL buildings is subject to Harvard University’s photography and videotaping policies, available here. Note that these guidelines require all participants (including students and audience members) to be notified of recordings and all copyright permissions to be granted. Disruptive photography or filming is not allowed.

To request permission to photograph or film within the library system, please fill out the Photography, Filming, and Recording request form. Advance notice of at least two weeks is preferred.

Special considerations:

Photographing materials for research use:
In some HCL libraries, patrons may use personal digital cameras to photograph some materials for research purposes. Please inquire with staff regarding an individual library's policy.

Faculty study holders:
Faculty study holders in Widener and Pusey libraries may allow members of the media to film only within the confines of the study, and should obtain a “Permission to Photograph” form two weeks in advance by contacting Naomi Handler (naomi_handler@harvard.edu).

Special events within the libraries:
Special events, conferences, seminars, etc. held in a contained space in a library building may be recorded or filmed by the Harvard sponsoring organization for archival purposes only. Filming outside the space is not permitted. Camera crews are not permitted to film b-roll in any part of any library building or facility. Such recording may not be sold or distributed to other internal or external organizations.

Personal photography:
Photography by Harvard students, faculty, staff and guests, such as visitors to parents’ weekends, using hand-held, self-contained cameras (without tripod or other attachments) is permitted so long as it respects the privacy of library patrons, does not disrupt or interfere with the scholarly environment, the work of library users or staff or the safety of the collections and abides by copyright law. Personal photographers should not record any library patron without prior consent, and photography cannot be used for commercial purposes. Flash photography is not allowed.

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Scheduling Library Visits for Harvard Guests

Harvard libraries, University departments, or Harvard-affiliated centers that would like to bring guests or visiting dignitaries to visit any of the libraries within the Harvard College Library must must first contact the Office of the Librarian at 617-495-2401.

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Smoking Policy

HCL policy prohibits smoking in the libraries. Smoking is also prohibited in Harvard Yard.

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