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Search & Browse: Course Reserves

Course Reserves

shelf of books in the shape of a speech bubble

What Are Course Reserves?

The Library is pleased to provide course materials like textbooks for some Caltech courses through our Course Reserves service.

How can I find course reserve materials like textbooks?

Check out physical reserves like books for three hours from the Sherman Fairchild Library and the Geology Library in North Mudd.

Log in to Canvas to view and access ebooks, selected book chapters, films, and other electronic material.

Three weeks before terms begin, browse and view purchase options for course material on eCampus, Caltech's online bookstore. 

What if I don't see my books on eCampus or Canvas?

Students: Submit your syllabus and Caltech Library will make the material available for free via Canvas or at the Sherman Fairchild Library.

Faculty and staff: No required course books this term? Please fill out our staff Course Reserves form so we can let your students know.

What is Caltech Library's digital borrowing service (DIBS)?

One challenge the Library confronted in the fall of 2020 was how to allow faculty to include physical books in their course reserves. If patrons weren’t able to access the library to read the books, how could they be included in the course curricula? Enter controlled digital lending.

According to the Position Statement on Controlled Digital Lending by Libraries—based on research by attorney and law librarian Michelle Wu, who later won an Internet Archive Hero Award for her work—controlled digital lending has three core principles:

  1. A library must own a legal copy of the physical book, by purchase or gift.
  2. The library must maintain an "owned to loaned" ratio, simultaneously lending no more copies than it legally owns.
  3. The library must use technical measures to ensure that the digital file cannot be copied or redistributed.

When the Digital Library Development (DLD) team, led by Stephen Davison, first considered controlled digital lending, they “found no suitable off-the-shelf system that could provide access to digitized publications in a manner that mimics the loaning of legally purchased materials.” So starting in early 2021, the DLD team began to design and build the Caltech Library’s new digital borrowing system, affectionately known as DIBS. Read more.

Access and Deadlines

Instructor access to Canvas Course Reserves 6-8 weeks before terms (once the Course Reserves Schedule is published by the Registrar)
Instructor deadline to enter Course Reserves in Canvas 4 weeks before terms
Student access to Canvas Course Reserves 3 weeks before terms
Caltech access to eCampus eCampus determines online bookstore open date is based on the number of course materials we have requested

Note: These are all general guidelines


Still have questions?

Check out our Course Reserves FAQs for deadlines and more.