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Reserve Information for Faculty

Course Reserve allows instructors to set aside books, DVDs, and articles for class use in the library, 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 or Mudd Library Circulation Desk. Electronic reserve items are accessed through your course site in Canvas

Reservable items

Books, DVDs and VHS tapes from circulating collections from Northwestern Libraries can be placed on physical Course Reserve. Books and multimedia materials not owned by Northwestern Libraries can be ordered for purchase by Reserve staff.

Book excerpts, newspaper articles, journal articles and database articles can be placed on electronic Reserve. 

Items in the public domain can be scanned in its entirety for Reserve upon request. See guidelines for providing access to copyright-protected materials. 

Non-reservable items

Items obtained through Interlibrary loan, non-circulating items from the McCormick Library, coursepacks and personal copies cannot be held on physical reserve. 

Certain publishers and databases limit access over electronic Reserve. We cannot place the following on electronic Reserve:

  • 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.

See more on copyright and licensing limitations on Rights, Permissions and Reproductions

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.