Course Reserves Information for Faculty

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Cook Library will place on reserve selected course materials for your students' use. Reserves are intended for supplementary course materials only---items that are assigned in addition to textbooks or coursepacks that your students are required to purchase for class use.

Cook Library now offers both physical reserves and electronic reserves (e-reserves). In either case, the library may place on reserve only copies of works that have been lawfully acquired by the instructor, the library, or some other unit of the University. Lawfully acquired copies include those that have been purchased as well as copies made in accordance with the fair use statute and other provisions of U.S. copyright law.

Physical reserves have traditionally consisted of the following types of materials:

  • photocopies of journal articles, book chapters, or other book excerpts
  • instructor-created materials, such as syllabi, sample tests, and lecture notes
  • entire books and musical scores
  • audiovisual materials, such as sound and video recordings

Items placed on physical reserve are made available to students for limited circulation periods and are typically restricted to in-library use.

E-reserves allow multiple users to access online reserve materials simultaneously at any time and from any location.

You may request to have the same types of materials placed in e-reserves that you may request for physical reserve, with the following exceptions:

  • entire copyrighted books (except e-books licensed by Cook Library for simultaneous multiple-user access)
  • copyrighted musical scores
  • copyrighted images (except those printed as accompanying illustrations to requested articles/book excerpts and those included in ARTstor and other subscription databases)
  • entire sound recordings, including complete individual tracks or entire movements of a work (except those included in the Naxos Music Library and other subscription databases)
  • entire feature films

Whenever possible the library will place requested items on e-reserve rather than physical reserve, so that you and your students may benefit from the added convenience of e-reserves. However, physical reserves may still be provided by Cook Library upon special request by the instructor, or when licensing or copyright restrictions prevent us from placing a requested item on e-reserve.

Requesting Course Reserves

Reserve requests are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Please allow at least two weeks for processing physical reserve requests and three weeks for processing e-reserve requests.

Faculty must provide the following:

  • your first and last name, department, phone number, and e-mail address
  • a clear, complete, and accurate citation for each reserve item*
  • the date each item needs to be available for your students
  • the number (including HEGIS code; e.g. ECED 103, KNES 281, etc.) and name of the course
  • the total maximum enrollment for all sections of the course

Reserve requests will only be entered into the processing queue when all of the above has been provided.

*Note: Processing of your reserves request will be significantly expedited if you also indicate whether or not Cook Library already owns a copy of the item:

  • For books, scores, videos, and sound recordings, check the Cook Library Catalog before submitting your request. Provide the library call number along with your citation for the item if we already own a copy.

  • For journal articles, check the Cook Library Journal List before submitting your request. Provide the name of the online database which includes the journal or (if the article is not available online) the call number for the library's print version of the journal.

You do not need to provide photocopies or other physical materials for reserves unless we specifically request them. Reserves staff will only ask to borrow your copy of the itme if the library doesn't already own it and it's no longer commercially available or if we don't expect to receive our copy in time to process your request.

The library determines when copyright clearance is required for any materials you have requested and pays reasonable license fees to the Copyright Clearance Center. In the event that clearance is required but cannot be obtained, the library will contact you to discuss alternatives.

Please be aware that use of multiple chapters from a single book or multiple articles from the same issue of a journal may require costly clearance fees and lead to significant delay in the processing of your request. The best way to reduce delays and eliminate copyright clearance fees is to limit your use of works in reserves whenever possible to the portions described in the Cook Library Responsibilities Regarding Copyrighted Works Placed on Reserve.

For further information on fair use and when the library will seek copyright clearance for reserve requests, see the Cook Library Reserves Guidelines.

Using Your Docutek Reserves Page

Faculty who have requested e-reserves will receive notification from library staff when their e-reserves course page is available in Docutek, the library's e-reserves system. The instructor will receive the URL and library-assigned password for the e-reserves course page. A separate course page will be created for each course for which an instructor has requested e-reserves.

Your students will have two ways to access your Docutek reserves page:

  1. Via Blackboard/LearnOnline

    Instructors who have a BlackBoard site for their course may simply copy & paste the URL provided for their Docutek e-reserves page anywhere in their BlackBoard course site. Because BlackBoard is recognized as a trusted site by Docutek, the e-reserves course page password is not required when students link from BlackBoard.

  2. Via the Towson Docutek homepage at

    From this page students can select their course reserves page by course number, course name, department, or instructor name. The course page password is required to access the course reserves page via the Towson Docutek homepage.

Your completed Docutek course page will list all of the items placed on reserve for your class, with links provided to each document.

Duration of Access/Reusing Reserve Materials

Items placed on physical reserve will be removed from reserves at the end of the semester. E-reserves course pages will also become inaccessible at the end of the semester.

Physical reserves and access to e-reserves course pages may be extended upon request by the instructor in special circumstances, such as for the use of students who have taken an incomplete in the course. Such requests must be made at least one week before the end of the semester to ensure uninterrupted student access to the reserve materials.

To renew or reuse an e-reserves course page or to place items back on physical reserve in a subsequent semester, contact the appropriate reserves coordinator:

Repeat uses of the same material for the same course may require copyright clearance, especially if the library does not own an original copy of the work and cannot purchase one. For this reason please allow at least two weeks for reserve staff to re-post an e-reserve course page used in a prior semester.

Serving Students with Disabilities

Cook Library is committed to providing equal access to its programs and services for students with disabilities, in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Instructors with students needing special accommodations to access course reserve materials should contact our Circulation Mnager, Andrew Yager (

Contacts for Further Information

For more information about requesting reserves or processing of your reserves requests, contact Andrew Yager or C. Casamassima.

For more information about copyright, fair use, and the Cook Library Reserves Guidelines, contact Rick Davis,