Course Reserves

Course reserves are physical items that instructors request to be reserved for course participants and set time periods. At Tulane University Libraries this service is offered at Howard-Tilton Memorial Library and the Rudolph Matas Library of the Health Sciences. 

Instructors request books and other physical items to be placed on course reserve at Howard-Tilton Memorial Library by submitting an item list using the library's reserve request form. Reserve requests at the Matas Library are handled separately.  Materials are kept on reserve only for the duration of the specific course for which they are required.  If a book will be an assigned reading, instructors should consider contacting a liaison librarian to check whether an eBook version of the book could be acquired as an alternative to print course reserve. Material borrowed through Interlibrary Loan from another library may not be placed on reserve.

Books can be placed on 3-day or strict reserve as determined by availability. All reserve books must be returned directly to the Check-Out Desk. If books are left on study tables or dropped in the outside or inside book bin, the student will be responsible for any fines incurred before the books are returned to the Check-Out Desk. Instructors can specify the following circulation periods:

  • Building use only: loan periods anywhere from 2 to 5 hours (one-hour increments)
  • Unrestricted use: loan periods from 1 to 3 days

Media materials may be taken out of the library for the number of days indicated and are due any time on the date due. Fines are $1.00 per day until the media is returned or until a maximum of $20.00 is reached.

Articles & Book Chapters: Instructors may request that the library scan designated pages of a book in accordance with United States Copyright Law using the library’s Scan & Deliver service, available through interlibrary loan (ILL). These requests are placed like regular ILL requests and delivered to the instructor as downloadable PDF files.  Once scanned, the instructor may place the PDF file on electronic reserve using the Canvas course management system. Canvas allows instructors to place scanned copies of articles and item chapters in PDF format on individual class web pages. Like physical course reserve items, scanned copies on electronic reserves must comply with United States Copyright Law. For more information about Canvas, contact the Innovative Learning Center at (504) 862-8594 or

Alternatives to Reserves: As an alternative to physical course reserves, instructors are encouraged to link library digital resources to their course materials in the Canvas course management system.  A guide to this process is available here. The staff of the Innovative Learning Center, located on the third floor of the library, can assist faculty in scanning and formatting documents to place in Canvas. They can be reached at (504) 862-8594 or

Allow Time for Reserve Processing: Instructors are generally responsible for obtaining the scans of materials they upload to the Canvas system. When requesting scans of print format library materials through the Scan & Deliver Service, instructors are asked to plan for ample time to process and deliver the scans to their interlibrary loan accounts.  This is especially important periods of peak demand at the start of each semester. 

Copyright Restrictions: Copyright guidelines limit the period an item may be placed on course reserve for the same class taught by the same instructor to one semester.  Items may be placed back on reserve for the same class/same instructor after skipping a semester, or the same item can be on reserve for multiple semesters if another instructor is teaching the course.  At the end of each semester, the library will contact all instructors and ask them to pick up their materials. They will be given a specific time frame (usually 2 weeks) to retrieve their material or make other arrangements. Items not picked up by the deadline to pick up become property of the library and may be disposed of at its discretion.

For more information please contact Hayden Battle, Head of Access Services.


Howard-Tilton Memorial Library will place instructor’s copies of textbooks on reserve, although it does not purchase textbooks for this purpose. Commercial textbooks in print can be prohibitively expensive for libraries to maintain and do not come with accompanying online materials provided to students who purchase them. Also, most major textbook publishers (Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Cengage, etc.) will not sell their eBook versions to libraries fearing a loss in individual sales. For some instructors, Open Education Resources (OER) can be good alternatives to commercial textbooks. To place an instructor's copy of a textbook on reserve, please fill out the Course Reserve form here.

To ensure that copies of textbooks are available for students on the first day of class, instructors should submit the form and their textbooks to the library no less than seven (7) days before classes begin. Items on reserve will have labels placed on the front and barcodes in the back. The labels remain on the items when they are returned to instructors.