Guerrieri Academic Commons aerial view

SU Libraries Course Reserves

Student FAQ



What are Course Reserves?

Course reserves are materials that your professors have made available for you and your classmates to share for use in your courses. To be fair and help everyone have reliable access to the needed sources, we have short loan periods, the items can't be taken out of the library, and there are very strict fines for late returns. You are free to scan and print what you need to take home.

Physical reserves are available at the Library Service Desk in the Guerrieri Academic Commons. These items circulate for a short time (just 2 or 3 hours) and must be used in the library. This lets a class share a resource so you all don't have to buy your own copies.

Copies of some, but not all, required textbooks are available for short-term use in the library. (Some of these are personal copies on loan from your professors. If a textbook for your class is NOT on reserve, it doesn't hurt to ask your professor if he or she has an extra copy that could be loaned or donated to the library to use as a course reserve.)

What is "Digital Lending," and how can the library do it?
During Covid-closures when physical reserves were suspended, we experimented with Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) to make some reserves available online. This practice theoretically permits libraries to "loan out" a scan (that we make in-house, of our legally-owned physical library book) IN PLACE of our physical copy, while still adhering to copyright guidelines. (It is not the same as when libraries circulate e-books, which we must continually pay for access to on behalf of our students.) CDL loans must be controlled in such a way that the digital loan replicates the physical library loan. We can only have one digital copy available per each physical copy that we set aside and do NOT check out; we have to set limited loan periods in line with the typical loan periods of the books (2 hours); and we must ensure that reproduction, downloading, and printing of the scan is blocked. This means that only one student will be able to access each digital book at a time, and usage will be limited in the above ways, so it will be preferable to use MyClasses to share fair-use amounts of texts, if that can meet your needs.
How do students access "digital course reserves"?
During the 2020-2021 school year, we digitized some of our most popular course reserves. You can check out these digital book scans for two-hour loans, 24/7, from the Library Course Reserves web site. Because of copyright restrictions, only one person can access the online book at a time, and sharing/printing/downloading is disabled. In spite of the limitations, we hope that this service can make these textbooks more accessible. To see if an item is available to check out digitally, look up your item in this system and look to the right for its location -- it will be a shelf location for a physical reserve, and a "Check out" link if it is available digitally. Click that, and follow the prompts!
Are my Textbooks available at the library?
Use this system to look up your textbook title, professor, or course number to see if the book you are looking for is one of our "Textbooks on Reserve." You can check out these books for 2 hours at a time and must use them in the building. Unfortunately, the library does not have the resources to purchase every book that our faculty assign as required texts for courses. We have established the Textbooks on Reserve Program in order to relieve some of the financial burden on students and help all students access the resources they need to succeed. We have purchased copies of the textbooks of selected courses to keep on reserve behind the Library Service Desk. The Dean selects these based on enrollment, with weight given to those courses with high withdraw/failure rates. In addition, many professors have brought in their own personal copies or their departments' extra copies for students to use through the Textbooks on Reserve Program. Over half of our Textbooks on Reserve are here because of generous faculty. If your course's textbook is not on reserve, please ask your instructor to loan the library any extra copies they have.
How do I get access to the books my professor has on reserve?

Just come up to the Library Service Desk, and tell a staff person that you would like to check out a Course Reserve. If you can provide the Shelf Name/Number of the item you want (for example, "Smith #10"), the staff person can quickly retrieve the item from the back and check it out to you. You can find this "location" information in our searchable Reserves catalog, to the right of the item's title.

We can also assist you when you come up to the desk with looking up the item in our Course Reserves system catalog on a service desk computer -- you will need to know the item's title, your professor's name, or your course number.

You must have your Gull Card (or the SU Gull Card Barcode app) to check out anything at the library.

What if my professor has a DVD on reserve?

Usually DVDs being used in courses have a 3-Hour checkout period, and can NOT be taken out of the building. When you check out the DVD, you can also check out an external DVD player and headphones, and watch the film on any computer in the GAC. Check out a laptop and find a comfortable couch or chair in the library, or watch the film on one the large screens in a reservable study room. You should also check for yourself to see if the film is currently available available to stream online, or through one of our film databases, Kanopy or Swank.

My professor says the reading is online or is an "E-reserve" -- how do I get to it?

The term "E-reserves" is sometimes used to describe any files that you access online for a class -- these can be book chapters, journal articles, or any digital material that your professor wants to make available to you (in SU's case, through posting files or links on MyClasses course pages). Your professor will post most digital course material or on your course's MyClasses Canvas page, but sometimes whole books are available as e-books directly from the library's catalog. Some articles might be accessible through the library's databases -- your professor might provide a link to these articles on MyClasses, or might ask that you use the library's databases directly to get research experience. You can print or download most of these files for offline reading, and you are allotted 300 pages of campus prints per week.

Last term some of my reserves were digitized -- are they still accessible?
Yes, we are keeping all digital reserves open until faculty let us know otherwise. If we have one physical copy here on reserve at the library, we can have the digital version available to circulate if and only if the physical copy is sequestered. By default we will keep the digital version active because students can access the material 24/7 and have expressed preference for that option. Faculty, if you would rather have the physical copy used by your students instead of the digital, please contact us. If multiple copies are on reserve, you may choose a combination of digital and physical. Unfortunately, we do not have the staff power to digitize any additional printed material at this time. However, if you can supply us with a PDF, we will be happy to load it into our system and offer online checkouts -- but keep in mind that we will have to keep a physical copy sequestered "on reserve" at the library to do so!