Course Reserves

The Course Reserves service makes required readings and materials, whether available electronically or in physical formats, freely available for students through the Library, linked directly to the class CourseWorks page.

Physical reserves (such as print books or DVDs) have short loan periods, typically a few hours, to ensure availability. Loan periods vary by library (see Reserves Policy page for details)

Place an item on reserve here.

Important Information About Course Reserves Requests

  • Start the process of setting up reserves for your courses now by submitting course reserves requests; Library staff will follow up in response about the availability and format for each request submitted. Please submit your request well in advance of the start of a new semester in order to have all requested readings made available in time. 

  • Not everything will be available electronically, but submitting a course reserves list as early as possible allows the Libraries the time to purchase or source alternatives whenever possible. Instructors should submit reserve requests even if the items appear in CLIO. If licensed content is not available electronically, library staff will be in touch to discuss alternative options. 

  • The Libraries will purchase licenses to ebooks upon request whenever they are available for libraries to license. When instructors submit a course reserves request, library staff will automatically check for available electronic versions of each requested reading. Unfortunately, not all required course readings will have available electronic versions. Some publishers do not offer institutional licenses to all of their ebook content, especially textbooks. Instructors may want to consider assigning alternative readings in consultation with library staff, including Open Educational Resources, if there are concerns about students’ ability to purchase their own copies of the readings the libraries are unable to offer electronically. 

  • To ask about provisioning course material for first-generation, low-income students, please contact Also see further details about the FLI Partnership Library at Columbia (and at Barnard).

  • Instructors may decide to upload a scan of a small portion of a work directly to Courseworks. There are now smartphone apps that can create high quality .pdf files using the phone’s camera. This upload requires a Fair Use assessment. For more information about Copyright and Fair Use, see our Copyright Advisory Services site. 

  • When specified via the request form, the Libraries will license streaming video to fulfill course reserves film requests. Depending on where the content is being sourced, films available for licensed streaming may take, at minimum, 3-7 days to become available, and will appear as a link on your course reserves list. When streaming video is not available, staff will be in touch with other possible options. Our Streaming Video Research Guide provides links to our collections of features, documentaries, and recorded performances. 

  • For questions about course reserves not answered here, please contact us at