Written by: Angela Whitfield

One of the most popular materials checked out at the Library Services Desk is our course reserve collection. Mystery often swirls around the phrase “course reserve,” because it is a library term that is not used anywhere outside of academic libraries, not to mention the different rules that determine how an item is placed on reserve.

So what exactly is a course reserve? A course reserve is an item that has been selected as required or recommended reading for a class and is being held behind a library services desk. These items can be checked out by students taking the class and often have shorter check out periods than items in the general collection. Shorter check out periods ensure other students in the class an opportunity to check the item out.

The most common items placed on course reserve are textbooks. Textbooks placed on course reserve are personal copies provided by the faculty member teaching the course and are not purchased by the library. Due to this condition, the library does not have textbooks on reserve for every single class. It may be worth mentioning to the instructor if there is ever a need for a textbook course reserve for your class.

Other items that may be placed on reserve are books from the library general collection and e-reserves. If an instructor selects a book for reading in a class and the library already owns a copy, then the instructor can request it for course reserve to ensure it is available for the class to read. These can be physical items placed behind the library services desk for reduced check out periods or they may be a link in the catalog that connects to an e-book or journal article.

Screenshot of Most Requested tab from our library homepage with a red box indicating Course Reserves which is located under Students.

Screenshot of Course Reserves link on UNT Library website

To check whether an item is on course reserve, you can visit the library website at https://library.unt.edu/. Underneath the big blue search box in the Most Requested section will be a link to Course Reserves. From there, you can either search for the item placed on reserve by entering the course code or the instructor’s name. The course code is a string of four letters and four numbers that identifies the course you are taking. For example, for the Website Development course for Information Science, the course code would be INFO 5814.

What if your course code doesn’t appear on the list? There are several options you can do if this happens. If there are other course codes on the list, it may be helpful to check them to see whether a professor from another class has placed the item on reserve. You can also try searching the library catalog by title to see if it is in the library’s general collection. If you still can’t find the item you need, then it may be worth having a conversation with your instructor to see if they have a personal copy they would like to lend to the library.

You can find more information about our Course Reserves on the library website. If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to let us know at AskUs@unt.edu or leave a comment in the comment form.

4 Responses to “Clearing the Air about Course Reserves”

  1. Katya Higgins Photography

    Understanding course reserves demystifies library jargon and facilitates academic success. It’s a strategic resource, ensuring equitable access to essential materials for students across disciplines. Thanks for sharing this.



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