Schaffner Reserve Policy for Instructors

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Regular Reserve

Please email Schaffner Circulation your Reserve List of physical materials (books, DVDs, etc.) you wish to place on the Schaffner Library Reserve shelf for the upcoming academic term. Make sure to fill out the top part of the form completely. Mail, fax, or drop off the form at the Schaffner Library Desk, or email your request to the Schaffner Circulation Desk.

To allow sufficient time for acquiring and processing materials, please submit the Reserve list for each course at least two weeks before the start of the class. If new books or additional copies of books need to be ordered, the request should be submitted eight to ten weeks before the start of the class.

Electronic Reserve

To place material on electronic reserve, please contact the Reserve office in the Main Library in Evanston. You may also submit your electronic reserve request electronically by filling out an online form or emailing

As detailed in the Electronic Reserve guidelines, individual classes are generally limited to placing 20 items on Reserve. Each Electronic Reserve item can be up to 45 pages in length.

Items placed online using Northwestern's Blackboard Course Management System are subject to the same policies as other Electronic Reserve items, with one important exception: documents processed for Blackboard will not be posted in the Library's online catalog. Rather, Reserve will email each completed document's URL to the instructor for inclusion on the appropriate Blackboard page. Reserve is NOT responsible for the construction or support of Blackboard pages; all technical support for Blackboard is handled through Academic Technologies (467-7046).

Circulation of Reserve Materials

All materials placed on the Reserve shelf at the Schaffner Library have a circulation period of two hours, In Library Use Only.

Fair Use and Copyright

Special arrangements must be made with the Reserve Room staff to place multiple copies of photocopied materials on Reserve.

All faculty-supplied photocopies must include a complete citation for the work from which the copy was made, including a photocopy of the source's title page and copyright page. Photocopied materials will be stamped with the required warning notice of copyright.

Reserve Services follows the American Library Association's "Fair Use" guidelines.

If your materials fall within the following Fair Use guidelines, copyright permission is not necessary for Electronic Reserve or photocopying:
Up to 10% of a single book.
One article from a single issue of a periodical title.

Exceptions to the above:
Items kept on Reserve quarter after quarter, whether or not the items themselves fall within Fair Use.
Multiple essays, stories, poems, etc. written by different authors but included in the same book, e.g. anthologies, textbooks.

If you need to exceed these parameters, Reserve Services must request copyright permission from the publishers.

If you have questions on copyright, please call the Reserve Room (1-7681) between 8:30 am and 5 pm.

Withdrawal of Materials

Library books are automatically taken off of Reserve at the end of the term, and must be requested again for further Reserve use. Personal copies can be picked up from the Schaffner Library during normal hours, or will be returned by campus mail as Reserve staff is able to, no later than the summer intersession. (To expedite this process, please write your full name inside of your book before putting it on Reserve.) Photocopies can be mailed to the instructor or recycled at his/her request

Frequently Asked Questions

When should Reserve be used?

If you are teaching a class of more than a couple of students, and you'd like the students to be able to share a limited number of copies (usually one) of a text or other class material, then Reserve is the place for you. Very popular for "recommended-but-not-required" course readings.

When should Electronic Reserve be used?

If you are teaching a class and:

  • You already intend to teach some portion of the class online...
  • Some course materials are already in some electronic format (such as class notes written on a word processor)...
  • You are developing a course curriculum of readings that are intended to be used in the course for many semesters to come...
  • One or more students can access class readings more easily online than in person, such as adult learners and distance learners...
  • You want to further the integration of this technology in your students' education....
  • You have an interest in, curiosity about, or whim toward the technology yourself...

...then Electronic Reserve is the resource for you. Please note, however, that there are certain drawbacks to using Electronic Reserve, and we do not recommend using ERS simply because it is a resource offered in addition to traditional Reserve. Processing takes longer for Electronic Reserve, and can delay the delivery to the sorts of students who like to read ahead. Moreover, we are finding that publishers and copyright holders are very likely to deny or overcharge for copyright permission in cases where it is required for ERS, whereas this is seldom a problem for print reserve.  Please place Electronic Reserve requests via your class Blackboard page.

What sort of materials can I put on Reserve?

We regularly accept the following items for Reserve:

  • A library copy of a book, including books from the branch libraries.
  • Your own personal copy of a book. (Please write your full name inside of the book in order to insure its prompt return. )
  • A photocopy of a single chapter from a book, or of an article from a journal. A full source citation must be presented, including copies of the title page and the copyright page.

What sort of materials can I put on Electronic Reserve?

We regularly accept the following items for Electronic Reserve:

  • Electronic files (such as class notes written on a word processor, existing PDFs, or anything else that you can open and print on a computer).
  • Web pages and web sites. (Simply provide us with the url.)
  • A clean, high-quality photocopy of a paper document can be submitted for scanning into PDF form. If a document has been submitted for scanning before, please so indicate, as the electronic copy has been archived and does not need to be recreated. A full source citation must be presented, including copies of the title page and the copyright page.

How many copies of a reading should I put on Reserve?

One copy of a title in 2-hour circulation can easily serve well over fifty students in normal circumstances. Provisions can be made if there is reason to believe that one copy will not serve the class.

How many readings may I put on Reserve?

You may put up to 20 items on Reserve or Electronic Reserve.

I'M LATE! In a rush! What can I do to speed the processing of my list?

  • If your list contains any library books, retrieve those books from the shelves yourself, and bring them to the Schaffner Reserve Desk; ask for a "Reserve Reading List" form and completely fill out the top section. Such submissions can often be processed the same day we receive them. Please note that it takes longer for us to retrieve and process a list of titles.
  • If your list includes photocopies of published material, provide a clean photocopy and a full source citation in legible handwriting, including photocopies of the title page and copyright page.
  • If you can make your selections of photocopied and ERS material meet the 'fair use' standards (see "Fair Use" below,) we will not need to request permission from the publishers, saving time and money, and negating the chance of the publisher's denial.
  • Before you put a photocopy of a book chapter on Reserve, consider putting the book itself on Reserve. If you are concerned about a chapter or excerpt exceeding our Fair Use parameters, consider placing the original book on Reserve rather than a photocopy.