The Project

In August 2019, Houghton Library closed for a year-long renovation. Our goal: to make the building more accessible and welcoming while enhancing research and teaching spaces.

This website explains the details of the renovation project and provides important information about the services we are offering researchers, faculty, visitors, and partner institutions during Houghton’s temporary closure. As the project takes shape and develops, we’ll update the site so that it’s as current and accurate as possible.

The health and safety of our entire community, including construction workers on the Houghton renovation project, is our top priority. In late March, the City of Cambridge instituted a temporary emergency construction moratorium in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, making it impossible to re-open our doors in September as originally planned. As work at job sites around Massachusetts resumes with COVID-19 protocols in place, we will too will renew our efforts while continually monitoring the ongoing public health crisis together with our construction team. At present, there is no planned timeline for reopening.

If you have any questions that the site doesn’t address or want to learn more, we hope you’ll contact us. And, of course, we hope you’ll visit when Houghton re-opens.

Tom Hyry
Tom Hyry
Florence Fearrington Librarian of Houghton Library


Working Timeline

January – October 2017

Feasibility study completed

July 2018

Project approved by University

August – December 2018

Schematic design phase

January – June 2019

Construction planning

June – September 2019

Pre-construction activities and building preparation

August 2019

Houghton building closes to researchers and visitors; interim reading room opens in Widener Library

October 2019 – June 2020

Construction period for building interior

March 2020

Construction suspended