As the Spring semester comes to a start, the library service known as Course Reserves is in full swing. Course Reserves are required and recommended reading materials set aside, or reserved, in the library by faculty for their students. Materials on course reserve are loaned out for short loan periods, usually 2 hours. Think of it as a one-stop-shop for reading assignments–a student can stop by to check out reserved text books or log online to download PDFs of articles.
Any faculty member who is currently teaching a course may place materials on course reserve. What types of materials might you ask? Beyond traditional print materials such as books (textbooks and novels) and DVDs, electronic materials (book chapters, journal articles, ebooks, streaming media) can be placed on course reserve. In short, if it’s part of the library’s collection, we can put it on course reserve, and if you have a copy, we can put your personal copy on course reserve as well. If neither the library nor you has a copy, go ahead and ask your liaison to purchase one so we can place it on course reserve.
Why place items on course reserve? It ensures your students have free access to materials that are essential for academic success. What’s more, it is considered fair use, relieving the fearful dread that comes with questioning if any copyright laws are being violated. Plus, we do the scanning and processing work for you, so it cuts down on time you use to spend uploading files to Canvas.
We spoke with Noriko Milman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, who frequently utilizes course reserves. This semester Professor Milman has items on course reserve for her Research Methods class. Here’s what Professor Milman had to say.
When did you first start using course reserves?
I started using Course Reserves my first semester at USF, Fall 2012.
How did you hear about course reserves?
I heard about reserves from our sociology program assistant, Amy Joseph. She sent an introductory email that mentioned the library offered the service.
It’s great to hear you heard about the service from your PA, because they often place materials on course reserves on behalf of their faculty.
Why do you utilize this library service?
It’s my responsibility as an instructor to make my classes accessible to all students enrolled. Course materials, especially textbooks, are expensive. Having material available on course reserves helps make our classroom community more inclusive and equitable.
Similar to the previous question, what (in your opinion) are the benefits of placing materials on reserve in the library?
Additional benefits: Course reserves are a great option for students who don’t want to fall behind while waiting for their books to arrive. I’ve also put films on reserve which has been helpful for students who might have missed class, or those who want to re-watch the material.
Have you had any feedback from your students (positive or negative) about placing items on reserve in the library?
Over the years several students have commented that they appreciated course reserves, for the reasons listed above. One student, who used public transportation for their long commute and spent entire days on campus, found using course reserves very convenient and a better option than toting around their heavy books.
As a library service, where do you think reserves could improve?
Putting material on reserve is easy to do and benefits students—and our classroom community—in many ways. I’m grateful for the service and will continue using it!