Course Reserves: Cost effective course materials needed to succeed

May 11, 2022 · Chrislyn Lawson, student writer

The University Library provides many services to students and faculty to enrich their academic studies, which include not only offering study spaces and technological resources but reserving course materials, too. The library offers a service called Course Reserves, in which they provide a collection of hard-copy and electronic course materials at the Main Desk. For a specified period time, Iowa State students can check out course materials such as textbooks and DVDs through Course Reserves.

At the start of the semester, I realized that I needed a textbook for a linguistics class. I didn’t want to pay over $40 for a textbook that I wouldn’t use much during the semester, and fortunately, the professor of that class mentioned that the textbook was held by Course Reserves.

I went to the library after class, checked out the material from the Main Desk, and took the time to scan the chapters I needed to read for the semester before I returned it.

To reserve a physical item from Course Reserves, you must have an Iowa State University NetID and the call number of the item. The call numbers can be found in Canvas under the  “Course Reserves” tab or in the “Library Collections” via the “Quick Search” bar on the main page of the University Library website; the call number displays in parentheses below the material information. If the call number is not available, the Main Desk staff can locate items by the name of the course using the textbook. Once the course material has been checked out, it must be used in the library building for a maximum of three hours. If not checked back in within the time limit, a fee may be charged.

As for electronic copies, according to Jill Vasquez, a library assistant in Course Reserves, students may need to install a PDF reader or a plug-in to view items from various websites on their devices. It is also advised to turn off pop-up blockers to access the electronic material. Take note that Course Reserves have limited inventory of materials, so users should plan accordingly.

Here are six things to note about Course Reserves:

  1. It is completely free!

The library buys materials and pays copyright/licensing fees so that students can utilize them for free. Whether it is an assigned book, course pack, or any other material from any class, Course Reserves has it to relieve financial burden. Ask your instructor about using Course Reserves.

  1. It is available 24/7 in Canvas.

There is no need to remember websites, book titles, call numbers or to create and manage multiple logins they are all in one place, which is Canvas.

  1. Access to electronic materials may require a software installation.

Whether they are plug-ins, media players, or browsers, you may need to install software on your electronic device to access electronic material. This may take time, so allow plenty of time for the process before the assignment deadline.

  1. Materials have limited inventory.

The status and number of items of the reserved material can be found in Canvas or on the University Library site.

  1. Checked out materials must be used in the library building for a maximum of three hours.

There are sensors by the entrances and exits to detect if the materials are leaving the building. And remember that if the check-out time exceeds three hours, the student may be charged a fee.

  1. Find loan information and time through MyLibraryCard.

If you want to know the time you checked out the material and more information along with it, it can be accessed through MyLibraryCard under the search bar on the main University Site.

More information on Course Reserves, access, and policies can be found here. For questions, contact Course Reserves via email