The first week of the fall semester is especially hectic for Janet Carmona, Reserves Coordinator at the Gleeson Library.
“It’s a busy time because students don’t have their books yet, so while they wait for their purchased books to arrive, they use course reserves,” she says. “I like that it saves students textbook costs and also gives them access to materials they might not have yet.”
What are course reserves? Course reserves are required and recommended course materials made available in the library for students to check out for periods of 2 hours, 24 hours, or one week depending on the professor. Digital materials are available 24/7 for anyone with a USF login.
This semester (Fall 2016) there are 110 classes on course reserves, with 230 print items and 285 electronic items.
Why do professors put their items with the library on course reserves? The Gleeson Library is central to campus, and accessible to everyone. The mission of the library is to provide access to knowledge and we provide guidance to professors on what is appropriate to share within copyright law.
In 2008, the existence of electronic course reserves, also known as e-reserves, was challenged when Georgia State University (GSU) was sued by three publishers: Cambridge University Press, SAGE Publications, and Oxford University Press. They were backed by the Copyright Clearance Center and the Association of American Publishers.
Since then, the case has been decided in favor of Georgia State University, appealed, reversed and remanded to the lower court, then decided again in favor of Georgia State University. In fact, Georgia State University was awarded more than $3 million in attorney’s fees – a figure that is bound to go up now that the publishers are appealing again.
Why did GSU win so decisively? It’s because their electronic course reserves followed the original purpose of copyright law to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” Copyright law includes fair use protections for people engaged in criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.
So thanks to U.S. copyright law and fair use, the Gleeson Library can make class materials available for our students. It’s just one of the many resources that we have here at the University of San Francisco!