Last updated on: 8/19/2009 | Author:

Harvard University Library Biography

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“The University’s traditional holdings of more than 16.1 million volumes are rooted in the 1638 bequest of 400 books from John Harvard. The core of the University’s collections is found in Widener Library—which is under the aegis of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and is acknowledged to be the University’s flagship library. Today, Harvard has more than 70 libraries gathered into a single system that constitutes the largest academic library in the world.”

“About HUL,” Harvard University Library website, May 27, 2009


“Specifically, HUL is charged with:

  • Coordinating the University’s many libraries as a system that supports the institution’s teaching and research;
  • Creating the Library’s infrastructure for digital holdings—just as it has for traditional book and retrospective collections; and
  • Ensuring the Harvard Library’s position as a premier research institution.”

“About HUL,” Harvard University Library website, May 27, 2009

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