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Reserves Faculty Guide

Access Course Reserves

The Bridwell Library Faculty Guide to Reserve Materials


Only faculty members and their teaching assistants may submit materials for reserve or remove materials from reserve.


A Reserve Request form is required for all requests.  So that your request can be processed accurately and efficiently, it is important to fill out the form completely, including instructor, contact information, course number (e.g., NT 6301), as well as the call number, author, and title of each requested item.

The online version of the request form can be accessed here: A paper version of the form is available at the Circulation Desk.  Instead of writing in the call number, author, and title information on the paper form, you may opt to attach print-outs of the Library Catalog records for the selected items.

Along with the request form, the Circulation staff would appreciate your supplying a copy of the course reading list.  It can be used to help those students who don’t bring their copy to the library..


Bridwell books:
Once a Reserve Request Form is received, Bridwell staff will pull requested books from the stacks. To expedite processing, the instructor or his/her designate may bring requested items to the Circulation Desk; please be sure to give the correct course number to the staff member receiving them.

If a book needed for reserve is currently checked out, the library staff will recall the item. The borrower will then have seven days in which to return the item before incurring a fine.

If a requested item is found to be missing, the instructor will be notified immediately. Library staff will continue to search for the item.

Books housed in other SMU libraries:
Submit your request using the Course Reserve Request form and note the library where the item is housed. Library staff will handle the transfer of the item to Bridwell; please do not check them out and bring them to Bridwell yourself.

New book requests:
If you are requesting a book for reserve that is not currently owned by SMU, you must initiate an order at least six weeks prior to the assignment to ensure its availability. Please submit an acquisition request, either at the Circulation Desk or online at, and indicate on the form the course number for which the item is needed.

Personal copy books:
Bring personal copy books to the Circulation Desk, and include author and title information on your Course Reserve Request form. In the call number field, please indicate "Personal Copy" or simply, "PC." Library staff will assign each book a call number and place a removable label on the outside cover. To facilitate circulation, a non-removable barcode will be affixed inside the back cover.

Personal copies placed on reserve are subject to the same security and the same risks as library property. Unless you request otherwise, a non-removable security tag will be placed inside your book. If you want to restrict circulation to in-library use, then please request a two-hour loan period.

The instructor should provide all copies to be placed on reserve; Bridwell Library does not provide a photocopying service. Please check to be sure that the text is legible throughout, and separate multiple copies using folders or paper clips, rather than staples. For large classes, up to three copies of the same material may be placed on reserve.

Because students often need to cite an article and may be unable to locate the source, the complete bibliographic citation (author, article title, journal title, volume, date and pages) must appear on the Course Reserve Request form and on the first page of each copy. In the call number field of the request form, please indicate "Personal Copy" or simply, "PC." Library staff will create a catalog record for each copy and assign a call number that will appear on the first page. A non-removable barcode will be affixed to the first page as well.

Unless the instructor provides special instructions, the title appearing on the catalog record will be the title written on the first page of the item. To prevent confusion, frustration, and wasted time for your students, please make sure that the title given to the library staff corresponds with the assignment given to students.

Instructors should be aware of the limits of fair use under U. S. copyright law (for more information, see the resource links below). Reserve requests may be declined if, in the professional judgment of the library staff, the copying exceeds the limits of fair use.

Photocopies placed on reserve without evidence of permission from the copyright owner will returned to the faculty member at the end of the initial reserve period. Re-use of photocopied material in the next term or any subsequent term will require written permission from the copyright owner or fee payment to a copyright clearance center. If copyright-clear photocopies are needed for reserve, library staff can assist faculty members in acquiring single copies through a document delivery service. The faculty member's department will be responsible for the resulting charges.

For more information about photocopying, copyright law, and fair use, see the following web pages:

Electronic Reserves:
To increase student access to reserves, some materials can be made accessible in electronic form through the library's online catalog. This is particularly useful for large classes that have a relatively short period of time to complete a reading assignment. Access to electronic reserves is limited to the SMU community, via authentication software, to maintain adherence to copyright laws. The same fair use copyright restrictions apply to electronic reserves as to hard copies.

Electronic reserves may exist in any of the following formats:

E-books are accessed from the Library Catalog record for the item. Links to them can be placed on the electronic course reserve list, which is also a component of the Library Catalog system. To request them, just include them on your request form. In the call number field, enter "E-book." If you also supply a call number for a hard-copy version, it will be placed on reserve as well.

Photocopy materials can be digitally scanned and .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) copies placed on the library's web server. Like E-books, these are accessed through the Library Catalog course reserve list. To request that a photocopy be made available as an electronic reserve item, select "E-reserve" in the Loan Period field on the Course Reserve Request form. Note: preparing new e-reserves from personal copies is a labor-intensive process, so please consider the relative benefits before requesting this service.

Some full-text articles within subscription databases can be linked to a Library Catalog course reserve list. This is only possible in cases where a stable URL exists, which varies by database vendor. If a link cannot be created, then a copy can be downloaded for reserve and scanned if necessary.

Sets of Materials:
If you would like multiple reserve items to check out together as a set, please group them together at the time of submission and give them a collective title on the request form (e.g., "Sample Term Papers").


Before reserve materials can be circulated, they must be added to the electronic reserve list, marked, and shelved. Catalog records must be created for photocopies and other materials not already in the library's collections.

To ensure that materials are available in advance of the assignment, allow one week for processing reserve items at the beginning of the semester, and three working days during the semester. Requests are processed in the order they are received.


Reserve items are shelved behind the Circulation Desk and must be checked out with a valid library account barcode. Students may check out up to three reserve items at one time.

To retrieve requested items, library staff members need a call number for each item. To obtain the most efficient service, students should furnish call numbers for requested items to the circulation staff. Ideally, then, call numbers should be provided on the course reading list; alternatively, students can look up call numbers using the Course Reserve list feature in the Library Catalog.

As SMU-owned materials are added to a reserve list in the Library Catalog, they are listed there by the title found in the catalog. If you are assigning a chapter or article in a collective work, please be sure to reference the larger work in your assignment.

"Theology and Popular Culture" by Kathryn Tanner, found in Changing Conversations: Religious Reflection & Cultural Analysis, Dwight N. Hopkins and Sheila Greeve Devaney, editors


When the reserve request is submitted, the instructor must specify a loan period for each item of either two hours or one day. Two-hour items are restricted to in-library use. One-day items may be taken out, and are due at closing on the next day the library is open. Exception: library-owned books on two-hour reserve may be checked out for overnight use during the last hour before the Circulation Desk closes for the day; they will be due within the first hour on the next day that the library is open. Photocopies may not be checked out overnight.

Fines for overdue reserve items are $1.00 per hour. Every effort is made to check in reserve items immediately upon their return to the Circulation Desk.


Instructors or teaching assistants may request that material be taken off reserve at any time, either in person or in writing. Unless requested for the next term or designated as permanent reserve items, all materials will be taken off reserve at the end of the term. Personal copies will be routed to the instructor's mailbox or office.