Creating Course Reserves

About the Reserve Collection

  • Materials are placed on reserve by instructors or by library staff to make limited resources available to as many students as possible
  • Limited loan periods apply to reserve materials and overdue fines are charged.
  • Course reserve materials are listed in McMaster's library catalogue (see the Find Course Reserves guide for more information on finding materials on reserve).

Reserve List Form

Use the Course Reserve Request form when you would like new or additional material to be placed on reserve.

The University's License Agreement with the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency ("Access Copyright") and the University's Fair Dealing Policy governs most photocopied material placed on reserve. For information on photocopying restrictions, please contact Library Services.


Since it takes several weeks to order and acquire new books, lists must be received well in advance of the start of a course. A partial list can be sent first and additions sent later. When photocopies are being requested, a copy of the course syllabus must be submitted along with the reserve lists.  Inclusion of complete references will speed up the processing of lists.

Reserve requests are processed as soon as possible. However, at busy times of the year, processing can take additional time due to volume of requests. Please ensure that reserve requests are submitted well in advance.

Material Types

The course reserves listed on the Library website can include books, print articles where no electronic version is available, videos, or any other material that the instructor wishes to make available to his or her students for which copyright permission has been obtained.

In the interest of providing the greatest access to readings, it is recommended that whenever possible, links to readings which are available electronically to authenicated users be provided to students within an online course workspace. Instructors should familiarize themselves with the instructions on how to create links to electronic materials (e.g., articles in e-journals), as a straight cut-and-paste of links will not work.

If non-library material is to be placed on reserve, it should be in a form which facilitates processing:

  • if supplying a photocopy, the full source should be given on the first page (e.g. author, title, journal title, publisher, date). You may be asked to supply copyright permission, depending on the article.
  • if material is needed immediately, the required number of copies should be supplied.

The library will only place print copies on reserve where no stable electronic equivalent exists.

Reserve Types

  • 2-Hour Loan - Loan period is 2 hours. May be borrowed overnight. Use if whole class must read and for all larger courses.
  • 24-Hour - Loan period is 24 hours. Use for small classes or for materials which do not have to be read by a number of students within a short period of time.
  • 7-Day Loan - Loan Period is 7 days.

Number of Copies

The library may adjust, on the basis of use and class size, the number of copies on reserve.

Please Note:

  • all materials will be removed from reserve at the end of each course and will be returned to the stacks or to the instructor
  • the library may adjust the loan status of titles from 2-Hour reserve to 24-Hour reserve or vice-versa depending on use.

Loan Periods and Fines

  • A maximum of 3 items (6 items at the Health Sciences Library) from Course Reserves can be checked out at one time.
  • Reserve materials cannot be requested or held for individuals, with the exception of books in the Short-term Loan, Overnight, and 3-Day Loan collections at the Health Sciences Library.
  • Reserve materials may be checked out again if they are not in demand (a 15-minute waiting period may apply before items can be checked out again).
  • Fines for McMaster University students are billed to student accounts and should be paid at the Bookstore or in Financial Services (Gilmour Hall, Room 209). Student account information can be obtained through Mosaic.
  • All others must pay fines at the Circulation Desk of the appropriate library.
Reserve Type
Description of Loan
Fine for Overdue
MILLS, INNIS & THODE 2 hour Due in 2 hours. Most can be checked out 2 hours before closing and are due 1 hour after opening on the following day. $5.00 per hour or part of hour
4 hour Due in 4 hours. Used for projector loan program. up to $20.00 per hour or part of hour
24 hour Due in 24 hours $5.00 per hour or part of hour
7 day Due in 7 days $5.00 per day or part of day
HEALTH SCIENCES 2 hour Due in 2 hours $2.00 per hour or part of hour
24 hour Due in 24 hours $2.00 per hour or part of hour
Three day Due in 3 days $2.00 per day or part of day
Short-term loan Due in 7 days $2.00 per day or part of day

Reserve Contacts