How Course Reserves Really Works

By Cindy Jones

So you arrived here at Boston College and went to the BC Bookstore to purchase your textbooks for fall semester. When you saw the prices, maybe you decided there had to be a cheaper way. Well, the good news is in many cases there is a better way: library course reserves.

How Course Reserves works

Before the semester starts, professors contact reserves staff with a list of what they would like on reserve for their courses. This can be books, course packs, or online readings. If you want to use a book that is on reserve, go to the circulation/service desk of the library where it is supposed to be. For books and course packs the professor chooses which library will house the items for your course. You will need the call number of the book (or at some libraries the course number) because that is how they're arranged behind the desk. If you don't know what a call number is yet, don't worry. In O'Neill there is a dedicated Mac for looking up call numbers and staff at any of the libraries will be happy to help you. When you find the call number, it's best to write it in your notebook or on your syllabus so you won't have to go through this process again the next time.

Once checked out to you, you can have the book for two hours to read, photocopy, or scan.

If your assignment is an online reading, you don't even need to come in to the library! You can access online readings for your course from any computer, tablet, or smart phone and can read it online or print it out.

What happens if you're not finding anything on reserve for your class? Ask at the circulation desk and a member of the reserve staff will help you. It could be that your professor didn't ask us to put anything on reserve. Or maybe they recently asked us and we need to order the book or get it back from someone who has it checked out. We can let you know what the issue is and how long of a wait you may have. If the professor has not requested reserves, we can get in touch with them and arrange for that.

What you can do to help

Please return reserve books in two hours when they are due. This will allow other members of your class to use the book also. (And it will prevent you from getting overdue fines.) And please don't highlight or write in the books. It's yours, but only for two hours.

Cindy Jones, Reserve Services Supervisor, O'Neill Library