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Course Reserves During COVID-19 FAQ

The following FAQ should answer many of the questions and concerns about how the CSUN Library is providing access to course reserves while the upper floors remaining closed, except for the main floor, which is for students only. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we do our best to help you access library materials while adhering to campus guidelines.

Q: My professor told me to go to the Library reserves desk to get books to read for our class. What are reserve books?

A: Reserve books are required or supplemental readings that are set aside in the Library for all students in a course to read, which may include Library books and sometimes a copy of the course’s textbook. Therefore, these books are kept behind a service desk and only checked out for a limited amount of time for use in the Library only.

Q: Where are reserves books kept and how do I check them out?

A: Beginning June 1st, print books on reserve will be available for CSUN students to request through OneSearch and use on the main floor of the Library, Monday through Friday 10am to 3:45pm, and turned in the same day. A scanner is available for use, but the Library does not have public photocopiers.

Once you receive an email notifying you that the book is ready to pick up, as you plan to visit the Library, you must follow campus health and safety guidelines, including taking the Student Screening Survey. Wearing a mask and six-foot social distancing is required on campus, and while waiting to enter and when inside the Library. Restrooms, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes will be available.

Since books cannot be sanitized, please wash or sanitize your hands before and after using and avoid touching any part of your face for your own and the safety of others.

Q: Why can’t you mail or use the lockers for reserve books like you are doing for the other books in the Library?

A: Since most students in a class need access to the same reserve book at the same time to read assigned chapters, and we usually only have one copy of each book, given the time it takes to mail books or circulate them through the locker pickup service it is not practical to do when most students in a class would not benefit.

Q: I know there are electronic versions of books. Why doesn’t the Library buy e-books and make them available to students from your website or from Canvas?

A: The Library has been actively doing that, and will buy e-books/e-textbooks if available, and add them to OneSearch See also if your course textbook is in BibliU, an e-textbook borrowing system now available to CSUN students. We also encourage faculty to submit e-book purchase requests to the Library: Reserve Request Form for faculty and students can also anonymously ask the Library to request that faculty do this through the Course Reserve Request Form for students.

Unfortunately, not all print books are available in e-book format, and in the case of the major textbook publishers, even when they have them, most do not sell e-textbooks to libraries since it cuts into their profits and the authors’ income. Please see Statement on Textbooks in the Library Collection for more information.

Q: Why don’t you just scan the print books and put them up online so students can access them in Canvas?

A: Unfortunately, this would violate the Fair Use Doctrine of US Copyright law, which has been interpreted to mean that copying an amount that would preclude the need to purchase the whole item weighs against fair use. Therefore, like most libraries, we have interpreted this to mean we can copy approximately 10% or one chapter of the book, and faculty can ask the Library to do this by submitting an Instructional Materials Scanning form and share these scans in Canvas. However, we cannot make multiple scans of the same book chapters for multiple students or scan an entire book, even if done chapter-by-chapter on a weekly basis without risking legal action from publishers.

Q: What are my other options to purchasing expensive textbooks?

A: See Course Reserves Options for information on obtaining free or low-cost access to textbooks.