Course Reserves

Placing materials on Reserve during the COVID-19 Pandemic

(Jump to FAQs)

Electronic Reserves: Reserves staff may upload articles, book excerpts, audio, and video clips to electronic reserves if materials meet copyright clearance and fair use guidelines as indicated on the Course Electronic Reserves Request Form. Requests will be processed in the order they are received,within 48-72 hours (Sunday-Thursday).  Students: look up what’s currently on e-reserves for your class (ask your professor or the Library if you need the password).
Print Reserves: (NOT AVAILABLE  FALL 2020 DUE TO  COVID-19) Books, videos, and CDs from the library's collection or the faculty member's personal collection may be placed on reserve using the Course Reserves Request Form.   Students: look up what’s currently on course reserves for your class.

If the library does not own the materials you want to place on reserve, please use the Request a book or resource for purchase form and indicate that you want the book on reserve. If it fits the parameters of our collection development policy, we will do our best to purchase it as soon as possible for your course reserves. We will be in touch with you regarding the availability of this item.

Books or media requested through interlibrary loan (LINK+ or ILLiad) cannot be placed on reserve.


For questions about copyright, view the Library's Reserves Copyright Information, Permissions and Policy and Copyright Policy Guide (COMING SOON)
Need additional information? Contact Reserves Manager Alyson Tong:  or by phone 925-631-4181.


Q: Will I be able to provide the library with a copy of my textbook for course reserves in the fall?

A: With the safety of our SMC students in mind, the Library will be suspending the availability of print reserves this fall 2020 due to COVID-19.

The process of considering alternative resources and/or new access models to course materials can be a daunting task. The librarians are available in the coming months to work closely with you to:

  • Find electronic resources that the Library can license or purchase in place of the print copies usually placed on reserve,

  • Discover and use electronic materials we have already licensed,

  • Place chapters for your courses on e-reserve,

  • Help you investigate or adopt open educational resources (OER).

This switch to electronic course reserves not only benefits you in terms of providing uninterrupted access to course materials but also can provide your students with significant cost savings.

Q: When and how should faculty submit e-reserves requests for Fall 2020?

A: Electronic reserves can be submitted at any time, however getting them in before the semester starts results quicker processing. Reserves staff may upload articles, book excerpts, audio, and video clips to electronic reserves if materials meet copyright clearance and fair use guidelines as indicated on the Course Electronic Reserves Request Form. Requests will be processed in the order they are received, within 48-72 hours (Sunday–Thursday). 

Q: What steps do I need to follow to place something on reserves?

A: First you should look to see if the library owns a copy of the item you want on reserve by looing in the library catalog. If the item you want is not owned by the library a personal copy can be used or portions scanned for ereserves. Second, if you need the library to purchase the item for reserves please contact your subject librarian for a purchase.

Q: Can I place my own personal copy of a book or DVD on course reserve for my students to borrow?

A: We are not taking any physical course reserve items during the Fall 2020 semester/quarter. We invite you to contact your subject librarian to discuss electronic options.

Q: Can the library buy my class’s textbook as an e-book for my students to use?

A: The library may purchase electronic versions of books assigned as course readings upon request. However, not all books are available as ebooks for libraries to license, and if one is available as an ebook, it may not allow multiple students to use the ebook at once. (More information.) Furthermore, such a purchase may be subject to the financial constraints of the library budget and collection policies. Copyright law does not permit the library to create an electronic version of a textbook from a print edition.

Q: What if my students can’t afford the textbook?

A: You may consider allowing students to use a previous edition, which may be cheaper used (but will also have different page numbers and problem sets, and some different content), or refer them to the Library for help finding more affordable copies online. You can ask your librarian if it is possible for the Library to buy an e-book version of your course text that all your students can use. (See the previous paragraph for more on this.) A student’s financial aid counselor, SEAS coach, or HP staff might be able to help connect them with funding for textbooks.

Q: How can I save my students money on textbooks in the future?

A: Consider using or creating Open Educational Resources. Consider using ebooks, articles, primary sources, or case studies that are available through the Library rather than a commercial textbook. Push back on cost with your publisher sales reps, and ask them if they publish a less expensive textbook on the same subject. Your librarian might be able to help you identify less expensive options too. 

Q: Can’t you just scan my entire textbook for my students?

A: Not without violating copyright. 

Q: What about that digital textbook you linked in my Moodle last spring?

A: Publishers made many of their textbooks available for free on the sites VitalSource and RedShelf during the immediate COVID shutdown, but access ended May 25, and now students have to pay to access their textbooks on those sites. The Internet Archive made a National Emergency Library available online to unlimited users, but now each book is restricted to 1 user at a time.

Possible access scenarios for the physical textbook collection:

  • Phase 2 Stage 1 no access to physical textbooks and course reserves
  • Maybe use Document Delivery: scanning readings from physical textbooks 
  • Assess copyright on textbooks/course reserves and scan minimally and place on ereserves
  • Phase 2 Stages 2-4 limited access
  • Adjust textbook checkout parameters to from 2 hours to 1-3 days/ 1 week 
  • Make all physical course reserves 1-3 days/ 1 week
  • Quarantine all items 72 hrs and but them back into circulation or;
  • No physical textbook access 
  • Students use Document Delivery to obtain chapters of textbooks for their classes 
  • Assess copyright on textbooks and scan minimally and place on ereserves

Other questions? Ask us!