Schaffner Reserve for Students

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What is Reserve?

Reserve is a library service that allows instructors to set aside books, exams, notes and articles for the use of their classes, or make articles and selections from books available online. This reduces student expenses and allows out-of-print or expensive books to be made available. Both the Main Library in Evanston and the Schaffner Library on the Chicago campus offer reserve services.

General Information and Policies

  • Reserve materials for current classes on the Chicago campus are shelved behind the Schaffner Circulation Desk at the instructors' request, and are available during Schaffner hours.
  • Schaffner places on Reserve only those items requested by course instructors.
  • All Reserve materials must be returned to a Schaffner Circulation Desk attendant where you will be offered a receipt of return. Reserve books may not be returned to the bookdrop.
  • A Northwestern WildCard must be presented to use an item on Reserve.
  • To check an item out from the Schaffner Reserve shelf, you must request it by the instructors last name. Find materials on reserve by looking in the Course Reserve section of the library's catalog NUcat. Browse from pull-down menus by instructor or course. A list of all materials related to your search will appear. Click on the title of any item to view its full NUcat record.
  • For classes on the Evanston campus, please refer to the Main Library's Reserve page.

Electronic Reserve items

  • NUL's Electronic Reserve System is the electronic equivalent to Schaffner's Reserve Shelf, maintaining and distributing instructional digital materials for classes throughout the Northwestern community. It is available online, virtually all hours.
  • To access Electronic Reserve material, you must link to the PDF from the catalog record. Follow the steps above for finding materials in NUcat. A list of titles will be returned. Click on the title you wish to read, then click on the URL to access a PDF version of the document.
  • Electronic Reserve documents are accessible only to members of the NU community. For NU students who would like to access campus-only information from off campus, see information about Campus Wireless and Off Campus Access to Electronic Resources.

Loans and Late Fees

  • Reserve materials all have highly restricted loan periods and steep overdue fines. This is because the materials are expected to be used by a large number of people in a short period of time.
  • If you feel that you have been improperly fined, please have your receipt and contact the Circulation Supervisor Monday through Friday, Noon to 6:30pm. Otherwise, fines may be paid at the Schaffner Circulation Desk.
  • All Schaffner Reserve items circulate for 2 hours, In-Library-Use only, and accrue overdue fines at the rate of $1.00 per hour, including overnight hours or other hours when the library is closed.


To reach the Reserve Department in Evanston, please refer to their Reserve page.