Course Reserves for Faculty

Albert S. Cook Library is happy to collaborate with faculty to make course material available to their students, either in the library or online, through physical and electronic Course Reserves.

Placing Reserve Requests

To place reserve requests for a class:

  • Log into our Course Reserves system with your NetID and password.
  • Choose the appropriate class.
  • Click on the "Add Reserve Item" button.
  • Either request a new item be placed on reserve by clicking the icon for item’s format, and filling out the request form, or
  • Import items from previous courses by clicking the “Import Items” button and then choosing which items you wish to import.

Although we work to fulfill all requests as quickly as possible, processing/obtaining reserve items can sometimes be a lengthy process, and may require a conversation with our Reserves Specialists. As a result, please plan for a two (2) week period from submission to availability.

Once your reserve requests have been processed, full-text electronic items and call numbers for physical items will be available to your students through the Course Reserves system on the library’s webpage or through Blackboard.

What can I put on reserve?


As they allow multiple users to access online reserve materials simultaneously, we recommend placing items on E-Reserve (rather than Physical Reserve) whenever possible. The following items may be requested for E-Reserve:

  • Journal articles, book chapters, and other book excerpts
  • Streaming video and audio content
  • Links to many of the library’s e-books/database/subscription materials

However, due to budget constraints and copyright restrictions, there are limits to the amount of material we can place on e-reserve. For more information on, see our "Copyright and E-Reserves" section below, or contact our E-Reserves Specialist Chris Casamassima or Copyright Librarian Rick Davis.

Physical Reserves

Items on Physical Reserve are accessible via staff at the Circulation Desk, generally have a 2-hour loan period (4 hours for A/V materials), and cannot be taken out of the library. These items are primarily:

  • Books or documents currently in the TU library collection
  • Faculty-owned “Personal Copies” of books or A/V media

All items on Physical Reserve will be returned to the stacks/owning faculty member between semesters. If you will be using them again in the following term, please submit another reserves request following the instructions above.

Videos owned by TU need not be placed on Reserve, as students may only use them in the library. Other Faculty can check videos out to show in classes, however, so please inform our Reserves Specialist Lisa Vines in advance if students will be coming to view one at a particular time.

Copyright and E-Reserves

Cook Library offers e-reserves as part of our mission to support and enhance the learning, teaching, and scholarship of the Towson University community. The library is committed to providing our users with the information resources they need, while respecting the rights of copyright owners under U.S. law

The following information, developed in consultation with the Office of the General Counsel, reflects our good faith understanding of the application of copyright and its statutory limitations, including fair use, to library e-reserves. 

When Can Materials Go in E-Reserves?

Materials may be posted in e-reserves for course-related purposes at the request of an instructor when:

  • The instructor or the University owns the copyright to the work.
  • The instructor has already obtained written permission from the copyright owner to copy and distribute the work electronically. (The library may require a copy of the permission before posting the work in e-reserves.)
  • The materials are in the public domain. This includes works whose copyright term has expired, as well as most works produced by the U.S. Government.
  • The work has been made distributed by the copyright owner under terms which explicitly permit the proposed use, such as a Creative Commons license.
  • The work is available in an online database or journal licensed by Cook Library whose terms of use do not prohibit posting it in e-reserves. To maintain accurate usage statistics for these resources, the library will link to such items whenever possible.
  • The library can obtain permission to post the work in e-reserves at a reasonable cost.
  • Use of the material qualifies as a fair use.

How Much of a Copyrighted Work Can Be Posted in E-Reserves?

The answer to this question depends on the type of material and the library’s available options for providing access to it.

When articles are freely and legally available online, or available via one of our online databases or journal subscriptions, the library can link to them from e-reserves with no limit on the number of articles from any given periodical or periodical issue. (The only current exception to this rule is the Harvard Business Review; due to license restrictions, we cannot post or link to any HBR content from e-reserves, Blackboard, an online syllabus, etc.)

When articles are not freely available online or through one of our subscriptions, the library can usually obtain a copy of the requested material. We will then either claim fair use or pay clearance fees to post it in e-reserves. In most cases the library limits its fair use claims to one article from any issue of a journal or other periodical.

What if I need to use more than that?

When more than one article from a single issue is needed, the library will pay clearance fees to post the additional material as long as the fees aren’t prohibitive. However, based on our past experience with such fees, the library usually can’t post more than two articles in e-reserves from any single issue of a journal or other periodical.

If the library already provides access to the requested material in an e-book licensed for multiple simultaneous users, we can link to a specific chapter, to multiple chapters, or to the entire e-book. 

If the material is not available in one of the library’s current e-books, the library will scan limited excerpts from print books and post them in e-reserves. In most cases the library limits its fair use claims to a single chapter or 10% (whichever is less) from a work of non-fiction. 

Fair use is more restrictive with works of fiction, poetry, and drama; faculty who wish to request excerpts from such works for e-reserves should first consult with Copyright Librarian Rick Davis.

What if I need to use more than that?

The library will pay clearance fees to scan and post more than what fair use will allow when the fees aren’t prohibitive. Better yet, we may be able to license the e-book and post links to the requested portions.

Please follow the regular process described in Placing Reserve Requests and provide a clear, complete, and accurate citation for each chapter you'd like to use in e-reserves. Library staff will then investigate the options and consult with the instructor, as needed.

Cook Library subscribes to several streaming video databases. Any film included in these collections may be linked to and streamed in its entirety from e-reserves. Likewise, films that are freely and legally available online—via YouTube, Vimeo, and similar platforms—can be linked to from e-reserves.

For films not included in these databases or freely available online, the library must acquire digital rights to stream the film in its entirety. This typically involves payment of a significant licensing fee. Faculty should allow at least four weeks advance notice for such requests, which they may send directly to Acquisitions Associate Whitney Blake. (Please note that streaming rights are not available until several months after a film’s initial broadcast or theatrical release date.)

The library will claim fair use to copy and stream excerpts from DVDs and other video recordings in the library’s collection or which the library can purchase at a reasonable price. Please contact Copyright Librarian Rick Davis for assistance, allowing at least four weeks advance notice.

Cook Library also subscribes to several streaming audio databases. Any sound recording included in these collections may be linked to and streamed in its entirety from e-reserves. Likewise, sound recordings that are freely and legally available online can be linked to from e-reserves. 

Unlike with films and video recordings, digital rights are typically not available for sound recordings which are not in our databases or freely available online. However, the library will claim fair use to copy and stream reasonable and limited excerpts from commercially released sound recordings. Please contact Copyright Librarian Rick Davis for assistance, allowing at least four weeks advance notice.

The library subscribes to several databases which provide images and photos and maps. Works included in these resources may be linked to from e-reserves. To request other types of visual works for e-reserves, please contact Copyright Librarian Rick Davis, allowing at least two weeks advance notice.