Course Reserves

Reserves are items (books or other materials) that are set aside for courses by instructors. These items have short loan periods to allow many students to access them..

Course Reserves

For Instructors

Process for requesting items put on reserve

If you would like to make a resource (like a book, chapter, or article) available to your students, you have a few options available to you. Whenever possible, we recommend providing a link to an electronic item in Avenue to Learn. For print items, we can scan a part, or the entire work can be put on the reserve shelf. Choose from the options below to learn more.

If you want to link to an e-resource (ebook, database, ejournal article, catalogue entry, etc.), we have a handy guide to help you with this process here.

If you would like us to scan an article from one of our print journals or a chapter from a library book, simply use our scan and send service.

A convenient way for students to access all their assigned readings from anywhere.

  • If you have a number of ejournal links, article or chapter scans, simply send us your reading list and we will assemble the materials for you..
  • If you own the item, you can drop it off at the Mills, Thode or Innis service desks to be scanned.
  • Contact Lynne Serviss for more details or to drop off your reading list.

Please note: 

1) All scanning requests must fall within McMaster Fair Dealing policy

2) Items must be uploaded and accessed through a McMaster University password protected learning platform (i.e. Avenue 2 Learn).

3) Textbooks are excluded.


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

The University's Fair Dealing Policy governs most photocopied material placed on reserve. For information on photocopying restrictions, please contact Library Services.


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

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.  The inclusion of complete references will speed up the processing of lists.

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.

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.
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