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Reserve Information for Faculty

Course Reserve service allows instructors to set aside books and articles for class use, or to make articles or book excerpts available through Canvas.

Reserve items can be physical or electronic. Physical reserve materials are held at and checked out from the University Library Circulation Desk. eReserve materials may be both requested and accessed through your course site in Canvas

Reservable items

The following items can be placed on Reserve:

Physical Reserve

  • Books, DVDs and videotapes from most Northwestern Libraries, as well as tests, class notes and other original works.
  • Books and video materials not owned by Northwestern Libraries can be ordered by Reserve staff.


Non-reservable items

The following items can not be placed on Reserve:

Physical Reserve

  • Items obtained through Interlibrary Loan
  • Items held in Special Collections
  • Coursepacks
  • Personal Copies


  • Harvard Business Review
  • Specialized subscription-based databases (Forrester)
  • Resources requiring a site-specific login (not NetID based)
  • Items accessible for free over the internet
  • Resources that are not licensed via the library for the entire University community

Request limits

Scanned excerpts are limited to a chapter or two of any single book, but no more than 15% of an entire book. Requests from journals and newspapers are limited to a single article from any particular issue.

For instructors who would like to use an item that does not meet the above guidelines, library staff will seek permission from the appropriate copyright holder or agent (such as the Copyright Clearance Center) and pay any associated fees, if reasonable.

Instructions for placing items on Reserve

To place items on physical reserve or eReserve, submit your list via Canvas with accurate needed by dates*.

Place items on eReserve through the Course Reserves tool found under Library Resources in your course site in Canvas.  For instructions and help, see our instructions for Placing Items on Reserve

*Our standard turnaround times are as follows:

On-shelf physical items 5 business days
New scans of chapters from library-owned books 5 business days
Streamed video or audio from library-owned titles 5 business days
Video or audio streams from previously taught courses 3 business days
PDFs or journal article link from a previously taught course 1 business day

Please note requests may take longer to complete during periods of high volume and is predicated on the availability of the item. Do submit requests as early as possible.


Help is also available via email at or by calling 847-491-7681. For streaming media questions, call 847-467-1985.