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Course Reserves

Course Reserves are materials placed on short-term loan by Faculty for use by students in their class. These pages explain how to use Reserves services for both faculty and students.

What Can (and Cannot) Be Placed On Reserve

This is a brief guide to the most common materials placed on Course Reserve, but is not designed to cover every scenario. For more extensive policy and best practices, please consult the Copyright/Fair Use section of this guide, or call Reserves Technician Aaron Morgan at (206) 296-6235. 

There are many copyright and Fair Use issues around placing items on Course Reserve. Generally, items from the library's main collection (books, periodicals, videos, electronic books, and electronic journals) and items from a faculty member's personal collection (books, journals, video, etc.) may be placed on Reserve. Syllabi, class notes, sample tests, and homework solutions may also be placed on Reserve; there are no restrictions on these items since the faculty member, as the creator/author, owns the copyright.


Fair Use allows the library to make available one copy for a single semester of the following:

  • A chapter of a book
  • An article from a periodical or newspaper
  • A short story, short essay, or short poem 
  • A chart, graph, diagram, cartoon, or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper
  • Certain websites and perma-linked web- or electronic-based items

However, there are limits (i.e., brevity) that should also be applied:

  • Prose: Either (1) a complete article, story, or essay of less than 2,500 words, or (2) an excerpt from any prose work of not more than 1,000 words or 10% of the work (whichever is less) up to 500 words.
  • Poetry: Either (1) a complete poem of less than 250 words and if printed on not more than two pages, or (2) an excerpt of not more than 250 words
  • Each of the numerical limits above may be expanded to permit the completion of an unfinished prose paragraph or line of a poem.

Materials such as course packets, course readers, lab manuals, digital content and/or other collected materials produced by Seattle University Reprographics are not eligible to be placed on Course Reserve. 

The library reserves the right to add/post materials in whatever format is best suited for distribution, regardless what format/medium in which the items are received. This may include digitizing physical copies and posting the material as an electronic link via the library catalog.

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