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Course Reserves

Special Notice for Fall Quarter

 UPDATE:  All UW Libraries buildings, including the Campus Library, are closed due to COVID-19. Reserves staff are teleworking, Mon-Fri.

  • With user safety and equitable access in mind, no physical materials (books and media) will be placed on Course Reserves for Fall quarter
  • Non-Reserve materials may be requested for contact-free "curbside" pickup. See Contact-Free "Curbside Pickup" for instructions on requesting and picking up items.
  • Scan for Canvas service is suspended until further noticeInterlibrary Loan may be able to assist faculty with article and book chapter scans
  • If faculty members have questions regarding required textbooks or media, please contact Reserves staff at reserves@uw.edu

Services and support for teaching and learning continue remotely. The health and safety of our users and staff are the priority. Supporting adherence to public health recommendations on social distancing is imperative at this time. 

Course Reserves

Reserves staff (pending staffing availability) can support remote learning by:

  • Providing off-campus links to UW-restricted journal articles
  • Purchasing e-books and streaming media contingent upon the following: availability of licensing option(s) for academic libraries; selector approval; funding availability; and favorable licensing terms

For additional information, visit Faculty Guidance for Choosing Online Materials.

Accessibility Information

Campus Library Reserves and the UW Libraries scans PDFs with optical character recognition (OCR) but does not provide remediation of PDFs for added accessibility as a standard service (e.g. adding tags, alt-text). OCR creates a PDF that is compatible with assistive technology (such as screen reader software), though the quality may not be sufficient for individuals with visual impairment.

Requests for captioning and other services to support students with disabilities should be forwarded to UWB Disability Resources for Students (DRS) or Cascadia Disability Support Services (DSS) for assistance.

Course Reserves - Textbooks

Reserves staff are working remotely and are unable to process physical materials for course reserves at this time.

Although the University Book Store's physical locations are closed until further notice, their online store is operating. Your students can order textbooks online and have them shipped.

We recommend our own not-for-profit University Book Store, but there are other places your students can purchase textbooks online. The Online Learning Support: How to Access Library Resources (For Students) provides additional information regarding textbooks and purchase options.

If you are requiring your students to purchase a code to access the textbook publisher's online portal for exercises, quizzes, and other course materials, please note that most used textbooks will not include the one-time use access code. Our bookstore staff will be able to assist you with questions about required access codes.

Alternatives to Commercial Textbooks

We encourage faculty to consider using an Open Textbook as an alternative to high-cost, commercial textbooks. Open Textbooks are books covered by an open copyright license and available freely to students, instructors, and the community. Most open textbook licenses allow the right to access, download, revise, or customize the content. 


A few Open Textbook options are:

  • Open Course Library - "The Open Course Library (OCL) is a collection of shareable course materials, including syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments designed by teams of college faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and other experts."
  • OpenStax - OpenStax is a nonprofit based at Rice University, that has published more than 20 open source, peer-reviewed, textbooks in common undergraduate subjects like Algebra, History, and Psychology. They also maintain the OpenStax CNX, a place to view and share free educational material in modules.
  • Open Textbook Library - The Open Textbook Network created this database of peer-reviewed, open-source texts. The University of Washington Libraries is a charter member of the network. The goal is to compile all quality open textbooks and promote faculty reviews of them in one place. Covers most subject areas.
  • BC Campus Open Textbooks - British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education’s Open Textbook Project makes open textbooks available in BC's 40 highest-enrolled academic subject areas. As of Feb. 2015, there are currently 67 reviewed textbooks.

For more open textbooks options, or information about OERs and library-licensed educational resources (LERs), see Campus Library Open Educational Resources.

For other online alternatives to physical textbooks, see Faculty Guidance for Choosing Online Materials

Course Reserves - Media

Library staff are working remotely due to the library building closure. Reserves staff are unable to provide access to the physical media collection, or convert physical DVDs to streaming media format until further notice.

During campus building closures due to COVID-19, the library is purchasing streaming video licenses whenever possible, contingent upon funding availability and licensing terms.

To suggest films to purchase for the Bothell Campus Library general collection (i.e. not for required viewing in your classes) please contact your subject librarian.

Scan for Canvas Service

UWB/CC Campus Library's Scan for Canvas service is currently suspended. Interlibrary Loan may be able to assist you with article and book chapter scans.

Copyright Information

Electronic Resources

The UW Libraries licenses over half a million ebooks, thousands of streaming films, and hundreds of article databases that can be used to support your online courses. For assistance identifying or purchasing ebooks or streaming films for assigned reading or viewing, visit Faculty Guidance for Choosing Online Materials

Off-Campus Links

Stable off-campus links can be added to Canvas unless license agreements prohibit the use of links for Course Reserves. To create an off-campus link, visit UW Libraries' Creating Stable Links to Journal Articles or contact Reserves staff for assistance.

Contact Information

Email: reserves@uw.edu

Office Hours: Library building closed until further notice; Reserves staff are working remotely and generally available via email M-F 8am - 5pm.

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