Library ambassadors: written by Amatul Shafi

woman standing with goose

Picture this: It’s the beginning of the semester or mid-semester. You are sitting in one of your classes and the professor announces that they have put a necessary journal on ‘course reserve’ and that they want you to read it before the final. You then try to Google and it leads you to the course reserve web page, the main Library website or this blog (hopefully)! Well, you are not the only one clueless about this. Students often ask questions around course reserves during info sessions. So I will try my best to be direct and clear about the whole process.

woman handing person two books

Course Reserves are one of many valuable services that the library provides. Instructors use this resource as a way for students to access important readings for free from the library. It can be hard copy (books, lecture notes etc.) or electronic copies (e-books, e-journal articles etc.). The most important detail to keep in mind is that course reserves can only be taken out for a fixed loan period that is predetermined by the professor (1 hr, 3hrs, 1 day, 3 days). They have to be returned to the library at a specific point of time, or fines start accruing.

Ways to get a course reserve from the library are as follows:

  • The most recommended way is to go to the course reserve link (https://www.reserves.uwaterloo.ca/ares/ares.dll?SessionID=B140714221Y&Action=99). Simply login with your WatIAm username and password. You will automatically see the list of courses which have items on reserve. Click on the desired course and you will then see a list of course reserves. Next to each item, there will be a call number, loan period and location mentioned. Little tip: if the call number starts with UWD it is in Davis and if it says UWP it’s in Porter. In case of a hard copy, you will need to write down the unique call number of the reserve that you want and present it to the circulation desk, and one of the friendly staff will get it for you.
  • Alternatively, you can log in to course reserves from the “course material” widget in the student portal app or from the “library resource” widget that is located under the course home section on learn.

Some Awesome Facts

  • You can totally borrow books that are on course reserves for courses that you are not enrolled in. As with all course reserves, you will just need to know the call number to borrow these items.
  • All reserve items are discoverable in the online catalogue; there are absolutely no restrictions on what reserve items you can use based on the faculty.
  • You can create a "hot list" for the course reserve readings that you use most often.
  • Once you log on to course reserves, there is also an option to subscribe to the course email in order to get notified when an item is placed on reserve for that course.
  • Yes, you can renew the loan period on your course reserve (if there are multiple copies of the book on reserve and only for the loan period indicated on the front of the book).

Some Do’s and Dont’s to keep you on track

  • Only 2 course reserves can be borrowed simultaneously.
  • The reserve has to be returned to the same library from where it was borrowed.
  • Renewals of course reserve can only be done in-person.
  • If your reserve has a 1 or 3 day loan period, try to put a hold on the reserve a week in advance.
  • Be aware of the hefty fines ($20-$100) for reserves that are overdue. If your account has more than $30 in fines gets blocked and you will need to pay it down before you can borrow any more reserve items.
  • Holds have to be picked up by 12 noon on weekdays and 2pm on weekends.
  • Last but not the least, always pre-check and give the call number of the course reserve to the Circulation Desk. It saves you time.

For more information or technical issues, feel free to contact the course reserve department by phone or email (https://uwaterloo.ca/library/services/course-reserves-students). And if you still have questions, the Circulation Desk is your best friend!

-Amatul