Using Course Reserves Material

Print and Audio Visual Course Reserves

Print and audio visual materials placed on reserve are held at the Information Desk and anyone with borrowing privileges to the library may check out reserve materials. HSL Reserve materials must be returned to the HSL location.

You will need the call number to request use of a particular reserve item. To determine the call number search the library catalog, CLIO. If you are unfamiliar with CLIO or are having difficulty locating an item, staff at the Information Desk can assist you.

Loan period

Reserve materials are checked out in two hour increments. Patrons with borrowing privileges may take out books overnight if checked out two hours before closing and returned one hour after opening. Reserve folders, professor personal copies, and course packs do not circulate overnight and cannot be removed from the library.


For overdue Reserve materials, fines accrue hourly to a maximum of $50.00 per returned item. For items that are not returned, you will be charged overdue fines plus the cost of replacing the item and a processing fee. See the Borrowing and Fine policy for more information.


Online articles and ebooks placed on electronic reserve by an instructor can be accessed via the Course Reserves login.

Problems accessing e-reserves?

Difficulty with e-reserves should be reported using the ask a question form or to the Information Desk. Please remember to include your name, UNI, instructor, course number and title of the reading in your email.

Placing Materials on Course Reserve

Linking To Electronic Books and Journal Articles

The best way to provide access to course readings is through a link to an electronic resource (e-resource) posted on the class CourseWorks page.  This provides direct access to the article or chapter desired and is explicitly allowed by Columbia's contracts with our vendors. 

The library encourages faculty to link to e-resources from the CourseWorks page for their classes.  This gathers all class-related links in one place.  For more information on using CourseWorks, please visit the CourseWorks@Columbia page.

Columbia University Libraries supplies a proxy service to allow off-campus access to e-resources.  To enable e-resources to work properly for on- and off-campus users, instructors will need to create a proxy link.  For most resources, follow these steps:

  1. In a web browser, go to the resource to be added to the course page.  Most resources allow linking at the article or chapter level.
  2. Copy the URL displayed in the address bar.
  3. Test the URL in another browser.  This verifies that the URL is stable.  If the link does not work, use this Troubleshooting Guide to assist you.
  4. Use the E-Resources Linking Tool to create a "proxied" link.
  5. Post the link returned by the linking tool on the CourseWorks website.

If you need assistance with proxy links or have any issues with reserves, please contact the library for further assistance. 

Posting Scans of Print Materials

Posting PDF scans of print materials and PDF downloads is subject to Fair Use provisions of the Copyright Act, 92 U.S.C.107.  The Copyright Advisory Office has information on their website and can provide additional guidance.  

Faculty are responsible for deciding whether scans or downloaded PDFs used for course purposes comply with the requirements of fair use.

Materials used under section 107 should be posted directly to the course's CourseWorks site. Instructors are responsible for obtaining the required PDFs

​Print and Audiovisual Reserves

The library will continue to offer reserves services for printed items and audiovisual materials.  Course packs and other reproductions are acceptable only if the instructor has secured copyright clearance for the included materials for the current semester.  To place items on reserve, use the 'Add an Item to Course Reserves' form

Please note that the library does not own equipment to allow playback of A/V resources.

If the library does not own an item requested for reserves, best efforts will be made to obtain a copy for the semester.  If a copy cannot be obtained at a reasonable price, the library will inform the instructor that the item could not be found.

The library will only purchase one copy of the most recent edition of a book for course reserves.

Instructors may provide personal copies to fulfill course reserves needs.  Personal copies will be returned at the end of the semester for which they were placed on reserve.  Please include a print copy of the 'Add an Item to Course Reserves' form with personal copies.