Using the Collections





All readers who are not former Fellows of I Tatti must apply for access by submitting this online form.  Your registration will be completed at the reception desk when you arrive.



Bags, briefcases, coats, and umbrellas are not allowed in the library stacks or reading rooms.  A coat closet, lockers, and umbrella stand are available at the entrance of the library. 

Food is permitted only in the Granaio cafè or the piazzette outside it. The Granaio is furnished with a kitchenette with a coffee machine, water fountain, refrigerators, and a microwave oven for readers’ use. If the doors are closed, request a key card from the Security staff at the library entrance to access the cafè. In the entrance to the library there is a water fountain. Readers are allowed to take water into the library only in bottles supplied by I Tatti that can be requested at the Reception desk.

Smoking is not permitted in any of the complex of buildings that make up the I Tatti research center - villa, library, studies, lecture hall, and common rooms.

Pens or pencils, personal computers, tablets, digital cameras, mobile phones, and small personal items are allowed in the library.  Highlighters and post-it notes are not allowed. 

Inside the library please silence phones.  Cell phone use is allowed only in the Granaio Comons Room or outside the library. 


Handling Materials

Please observe proper care when handling all library materials.  The use of post-it notes, underlining, marking, or writing on any materials owned by the library are not permitted. 

Additional regulations apply to the handling of special collections materials, such as photographs, archival materials, and rare books. 


In-library consultation

Library materials of all kinds must be consulted onsite only and are never to be removed from the main complex of the Library, studies or reading areas, and Villa. Most books and periodicals may be checked out for in-library use, either autonomously at the self-checkout machine or, if the machine is temporarily out of service, by a librarian at the public services desk. Materials consulted only briefly do not have to be checked out. Books or periodicals that are checked out may be left on the Hold Shelf in front of the Reference Room. 

Items no longer needed should be placed for discharge on the appropriate book cart according to its Library of Congress classification or other designation on the cart, or left on a reading table. 

To renew, recall, or place holds on items in consultation, patrons without a current Harvard University ID must place a request in person at the Public Services desk, by telephone at 055.603251 ext. 27, or by email by clicking here. Patrons who have the item in consultation will be notified of a recall by email and must return recalled items within 2 days. The requester will be notified of returns by email and the materials will be deposited on the Hold Shelf for 7 days. For urgent requests, the library staff may retrieve items directly from Appointees' carrels or studies or from the Hold Shelf.


Overdue items are not subject to fines, but if after repeated overdue notices the item is not returned, it will be declared lost and the person to whom the item was registered in consultation will be held liable for replacement and handling charges of a minimum of €100.


Interlibrary loan and document delivery requests

The Berenson Library does not loan any materials via Inter Library Loan, but requests for PDFs of articles or chapters of books may be made by using this form.  Requests for loans or scanned documents from other libraries or institutions are limited to current I Tatti appointees. 


Special Collections

Anyone currently registered as a Berenson Library reader may consult materials from the library’s Special Collections. Special Collections include rare books, photographs and photo albums, archival collections, early auction catalogs, microforms, maps, CD-ROMS, and DVDs. These items may be consulted only in the Ahmanson Reading Room. An appointment is necessary to consult materials from the Historical Archives; please contact the archivist by using this form

The Ahmanson Reading Room is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Requests for materials may be made to the Reading Room staff only until 5 p.m. and all items consulted should be returned or placed on hold by 5:45. Materials from Special Collections may require extra time to retrieve from storage, and patrons should plan their visits accordingly.

When a microform or digital surrogate of an item in Special Collections is available, this will be provided instead of the original where appropriate.

Specific regulations that apply for handling materials from Special Collections are posted in the Ahmanson Reading Room. 


Rights and Reproductions

The Berenson Library grants permission for reproducing images from its collections only for scholarly and educational use.  Smartphones or digital cameras may be used to take images for study purposes.  Requests for high-resolution scans of photographs, archival materials, or rare books may be made using the appropriate form at the Reading Room desk.  Some material cannot be reproduced due to its physical condition or other restrictions. 

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance to publish or otherwise reproduce or distribute materials.  Whenever possible, the library or archives will provide the contact information for copyright holders.