Reserves how-to (for faculty)

Reserve items can be either materials available online (eReserves) or books and devices available for use in the library for a limited time (in-library Reserves).

The Library has reopened for Fall 2021. While students and faculty will be able to access physical books (circulating and reserve collections), DVDs, etc. for borrowing or scanning, please consider the following:

  • The Library continues to accept print copies of required textbooks as donations and will process them for Reserve.
  • Purchases of print books resume, based on the considerations detailed in our policy below.
  • Educational Resources (OER) or utilize eReserves whenever possible.
  • This page provides faculty with additional information and suggestions on making course readings available through alternative methods.

The Library’s reserves policy aims to support the college curriculum in a sustainable way. We will acquire Reserve books based on their availability, opting for the electronic format if available. We will also consider the cost before making a purchase. Students overwhelmingly prefer course readings in e-format, and we strive to fulfill those preferences. However, more and more publishers restrict academic libraries from purchasing e-versions of textbooks and target direct e-loans to individual students instead. Some publishers will provide the teaching faculty (but not the library) with access to the e-text for a class. Faculty should make such arrangements directly with the publisher or through the college’s bookstore.

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About eReserves (electronic reserve)

eReserves (electronic reserves) provides students with access to supplementary course materials, such as single chapters from books or articles from journals, magazines, or newspapers.

To create a new eReserves page, submit your course information to the Reserve Librarian using this form.

To add additional documents to an already existing eReserves page, email with the document(s) attached and include in the email body the full citation(s) and associated course number. Documents must be submitted at least one week before their assigned reading date.

Linked documents: If the article is from a journal to which we have an online subscription, we will link into that database from the course page in eReserve. Include the URL (permalink) in the submission form.

Digital files: If you already have digital copies of the items you wish to post, there will be a point at which to upload them via the submission form along with their full citations.

Documents to scan: Many materials are already available to John Jay in digital form. Please use Journal Search to check for online access. If the publication is not available online, you can scan and digitize them yourself or drop off a clear photocopy at the Library Reserve Desk for the library staff to do so.

Once your course page is set up, the password assigned, and contact information exchanged, faculty may submit additional scanned documents or database or web links to be posted on the page.

Faculty may also submit limited quantities of materials to the Reserve Desk for scanning: i.e., a clear, unstapled photocopy of a single article from a journal/magazine/newspaper, or a single chapter from a book, along with the complete citation for the work.

NOTE: Poor photocopies scan badly, resulting in illegible text, large files that download slowly, and a generally frustrated reader. All materials must be accompanied by the full citation for each work. Materials are placed on eReserve only when they comply with our copyright policy

It is extremely important that faculty do not rely solely on the eReserves platform to retain course material. Due to copyright guidelines and rare but potential technological insecurity, there is no guarantee that materials will remain available from semester to semester. Maintaining your own copies and organizational structure is incumbent upon you.

I am already using Blackboard for my classes. Do I need to use eReserve, too?

No. It's a personal choice. If Blackboard is where you post electronically available readings for your students, it is not necessary to also have an eReserves page unless you prefer the interface, for instance. EReserve is only for posting PDFs or Word docs, Powerpoints, web or database links, etc. It does not have the other functions available in Blackboard. In terms of copyright and fair use, the same guidelines apply in both platforms.

Can't find your eReserves page?

eReserve pages will be automatically deactivated at the end of each semester. To reactivate an eReserves page for the current semester, email the Reserve Librarian with the course name and number.

Problems with eReserves documents

While we try to ensure that documents are scanned accurately and completely, problems do occasionally arise. Professors are strongly encouraged to LOOK AT and CHECK their documents on eReserves before the date when the students are assigned the readings. We can then resolve any problems, e.g. missing pages or illegible text, before the readings are due.

Optimizing PDFs for accessibility

Following recommended steps will enable PDFs to be searchable and readable by assistive technologies.

  1. If scanning documents before submitting or posting yourself, please make every effort to create PDFs that are accessibility compliant using the options on your scanner settings. Here is a guide.
  2. If photocopying or scanning pages from a book or journal, avoid photocopying 2 pages side by side. Copy single pages instead.

Managing your own eReserves pages

We encourage individual faculty to manage their own eReserves page(s). This enables you to post documents at any time you like and label and list the documents in whatever way suits you best. Please email the Reserve Librarian to request a manager account.

NOTE: eReserves pages must comply with the Library reserve copyright policies. Faculty who post materials in excess of fair use and in gross violation of copyright law will have eReserves privileges revoked.

If you had self-managing permissions in the "old" eReserves system (prior to June 2015), you will need to request that a new account be created. If you already have your *new* log in credentials, you may enter them here.

About in-library reserve

The purpose of the reserve collection is to keep copies of those often costly textbooks for in-library use for three-hour loan periods so that they may be available to students who need them and may not be able to purchase them. Please see additional information in "Library purchase requests" section for more information on textbooks. Placing multiple copies of inexpensive or otherwise easily accessible novels and the like is not the intended purpose of this collection.

Books owned by the library

Faculty may place library-owned books on reserve for students taking their courses. Here's what you do:

  1. Determine by using OneSearch that the book is owned by the library at John Jay. If there is not already a copy on reserve (location will indicate John Jay Reserve), then....
  2. Locate and bring the book(s) to the Reserve Desk on the first floor of the library.
  3. The staff member will ask you to complete a form or you may print and complete it in advance (.doc).

Books are given a 3-hour loan period, unless another loan period (1 day, 3 days, or 1 week) is arranged. CDs and DVDs may also be put on Reserve.

Videos are de facto on reserve and can be requested via call number at the Circulation Desk in the Library's Media Room. To reserve a video for classroom use, use this form

Please note that books brought to the Reserve Desk will not be immediately available for loan, as they must be properly processed and relocated. 

Books, CDs, and DVDs owned by faculty

Personal copies from faculty for reserve will by default be considered library donations and will be given Library of Congress call numbers (not faculty surname). As the books are part of the library collection, they will be subject to the same weeding procedures as other books on reserve; if the item has not been checked out in two or more years, it may be discarded. Please keep track of the items you have placed on reserve by checking the library catalog or contacting the reserve librarian at

Books, CDs, and DVDs belonging to individual professors may be submitted at the Reserve Desk. The staff member will ask you to complete a form or you may print and complete it in advance (.doc).

The Library is not responsible for lost or damaged personal items placed on reserve.

Copyrighted materials will be kept at the Reserve Desk only in accordance with our copyright policy

Please note that books and other materials, whether library or personal copies, may not be placed on reserve for any groups exclusively. With the exception of musical instruments, any item that is on reserve may be borrowed by any library patron.

Library purchase requests

Faculty who would like to request that books (including eBooks) be purchased by the library and placed on reserve can send in a purchase suggestion or contact the Acquisitions Librarian, Prof. Maria Kiriakova

Note: The library does not normally purchase textbooks. Students are strongly encouraged to buy textbooks required for their courses. Professors who have adopted, or are thinking of adopting, a particular text for a course are reminded that textbook publishers, when asked directly by instructors, often provide one or two “desk copies” of texts. We would be happy to keep a desk copy on reserve. Please note that books owned by other libraries may not be placed on reserve at John Jay.



Due to limited staff resources, library staff do not make photocopies. Faculty requiring multiple copies of materials are directed to the Print Shop in the basement of Haaren Hall.


Contact information

Faculty inquiries may be directed to the Reserve Librarian at

Students may email the Reference Desk.