Student FAQ



What are Course Reserves?

Course reserves are books, articles, DVDs, and other types of items that your professors have made available for you and your classmates to share for use in your courses.

There are two types of reserves: physical and electronic. Physical reserves are available at the Library Service Desk in the Guerrieri Academic Commons. These items circulate for a short time and usually must be used in the library. This lets a class share a resource so you all don't have to buy your own copies. "Electronic reserves" are simply online readings posted by your instructor on your course's MyClasses page. 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.)

Covid-19: What are you doing about Course Reserves during the pandemic?
We are trying to scan as many of our books on reserve as we can! We are checking out these scans to students in place of the reserve books. Physical Course Reserves cannot circulate during the pandemic because they are high-turnover items that we would have to sanitize and even quarantine between uses.

Please understand that we do not have the staff to offer a "scanning service" and we can't possibly scan all of our reserves. We are prioritizing our efforts to help alleviate the financial burden of the most students possible.

Highest priority items are: primary, required textbooks, that are used in high-enrollment classes; expensive items that are likely to present a true barrier to student access; books that are not widely available on the used book market, and not available at reasonable prices as ebooks.

Please email Cassy Lewis and/or Amy Jones directly if you are interested in us scanning a book (,! Faculty, if you only need a short excerpt from a course reserve to post on MyClasses, reach out to us by filling out this Google form. We might be able to assist in scanning limited fair-use excerpts.
Covid-19: What is "Digital Lending" and how can the library do it?
Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) permits libraries to "loan out" a scan (that we make of a legally-owned physical library book) IN PLACE of loaning our physical copy, while still adhering to copyright guidelines. The loans must be controlled in such a way that the digital loan replicates the physical library loan. We can only have 1 digital copy available per 1 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.
Covid-19: How do "digital course reserves" work?
Since the library is not checking out physical Course Reserves this term due to Covid-19, we have started to digitize some of our most popular course reserves (by professor request). You can check these digital book scans out for two-hour loans, 24/7, from the Library Course Reserves web site. Because of copyright restrictions, only one person can access the book at a time, and sharing/printing/downloading is disabled. In spite of the limitations, we hope that this service can help alleviate some hardship for students who cannot afford to buy their own textbooks.
Are my Textbooks available at the library?
Unfortunately, the library does not have the resources needed to purchase every book that our faculty assign as required texts for courses. In order to relieve some of the financial burden on students, we have established the Textbooks on Reserve Program. We have purchased copies of the textbooks of some courses to keep on Reserve behind the Library Service Desk. Students can check these out for 2-hour periods of in-library use. The Dean selects the courses 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. You will need your Gull Card (or your barcode app). If you can provide the Shelf Name and Number of the item you want, 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.

What are E-reserves, and how do I get to them?

We use the term "E-reserves" 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 on MyClasses course pages. Your professor will post course material or "E-reserves" on your course's MyClasses Canvas page. 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 -- you are allotted 300 pages of campus prints per week.