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Course Reserves for Faculty

Basics of the Process

  • iSchool Library sends out an open call for reserves lists and syllabi. These should be submitted at least 2 weeks before classes begin
  • Faculty and instructors submit reserves lists to the iSchool Library for processing
  • iSchool staff will:
    • Pull physical materials, retrieve materials from other UW-Madison Libraries, and/or order copies of reserve books
    • Scan electronic materials
    • Add electronic materials to Canvas reserves pages and organize by weekly schedule
    • Canvas reserves pages are placed in active courses in 5-week increments
  • Syllabi are organized and filed; final syllabi are submitted to the iSchool office for accreditation purposes and kept on file at iSchool Library

Print Reserves

Required texts, course packs, and some optional reading

  • Please send a list of required textbooks and any other materials you would like to have on physical reserve to as soon as possible before your class begins.
  • Sometimes a textbook is already checked out to a patron, in which case the library has to recall it; sometimes the library does not own a textbook and has to purchase it. These processes can take time. The best way to make sure that your physical reserves are complete before the beginning of the semester is to send reserve requests to the library early.
  • Most physical items are put on closed reserve, with a checkout time of two hours. If you prefer for an item to be on open reserve and have an overnight checkout, please indicate this in your list. Open Reserve can have either a 1 or 3 day loan period. If you need a specific edition of a book, be sure to indicate this as well.

Electronic reserves

Scanned materials, web links, and links to full-text articles from databases

  • You can send a list of your chapter or article citations to, or you can simply send your syllabus with full citations.
  • Library staff will find permalinks to database articles and scan articles and chapters not available online. If your course includes readings from a book or journal not owned by UW-Madison libraries, please try to provide the library with a scan or a hard copy of the book or journal.
  • Sometimes a web page’s URL will have expired or changed since the last time the course was taught. If library workers find a broken link in your syllabus or list of readings, they will make an effort to find the new URL and email you to let you know about the change.
  • If you or one of your students cannot access an e-reserves page, make sure you have published the reserves page in your Canvas course.
  • Some instructors choose to upload all of their e-reserve readings to Canvas themselves. You are welcome to go this route and manage your own readings in this way. If you do so, please email the library to let staff know.
  • Copyright is a consideration for all reserve materials. Scanning and linking to e-reserves and database articles generally counts as educational fair use. Many e-reserve readings are protected under copyright, and should not be shared or distributed beyond the class.
  • If you are unsure about any of your reserve readings, consult the UW-Madison Libraries Policy for Electronic Reserve Access to Copyright-Protected Materials.


  • The library keeps one print copy of a course’s final syllabus in a binder at the desk for students to peruse, and sends an electronic copy to the office for accreditation purposes.
  • Please send a copy of your syllabus to even if you have no reserves or plan to upload reserves yourself.
  • Because syllabi often undergo revision as the start of the semester approaches, it is a good practice to indicate in your email whether the syllabus you are sending is a draft or the final version. The best format for course syllabi is PDF.