General Information

The focus of the Library's Reserves is material for which copyright might apply. Class syllabi, practice exams, and problem sets are not covered by the service. Items will be placed on reserve at the request of the course instructor. Course reserve materials are intended solely for non-commercial, educational use.

Every effort is made to process Reserves requests quickly. The earlier reading lists are received, the more time library staff will have to recall books that have been charged out, to purchase or borrow books and articles not in the general library collection, or to scan documents.

Electronic Reserves (E-reserves)

The Library will put digital texts, images, and even sound files on E-reserve for Amherst College courses. IT's Academic Technology Services (ATS) offers a complementary streaming video service for required videos. Login to Moodle to see the materials on E-reserve for your courses. You will have access only to the courses you are teaching; students will have access to only the courses in which they are enrolled.

Don't pay copyright fees before you send the Library ( your reading list for Reserve. Let the library staff link to available online copies for E-reserves first. The College should not pay for links to items already in the Library's online collections. If the material already exists in electronic format and is freely available or licensed by the Amherst College Library, a link will be created to it on the E-reserves section of the course page rather than scanning it.

Please submit course syllabi electronically; library staff will create links to all required readings that are available in the Library's electronic collections. They may also be able to scan print documents for E-reserves. Those texts should be short enough to scan into reasonably sized PDF files. Longer works such as complete or large portions of books cannot be scanned due to copyright restrictions. Include complete citations to all material. Materials will be listed by complete citation on the E-reserve page for each course. The PDFs that the library staff creates are now prepared for students to search and annotate.  Linked content may not contain all the features locally scanned PDFs offer.

Reserves in Print and Other Physical Formats

The Reserve Collection in all libraries is a semester by semester grouping of print and other physical materials required for classes. The Collection can include books, videos, CDs, DVDs, etc. The loan period for reserve items is usually four hours, although materials may be checked out for overnight use anytime within four hours of library closing.  All materials in the Course Reserve Collection are listed by title in the Reserve Module of the online catalog under Course Instructor and Course Number.

Please use the Reserve Form to submit requests for the Reserve collection. On each list, indicate the Department and number of the course, the title of the course, all faculty members who will be teaching it, and the number of students expected. Lists should be submitted by email to for Frost Library; to Maryanne Alos for the Science Library; to Ann Maggs for the Music Library.  For general reserves questions, email us.

For each item, please give a complete citation and call number. If no edition is specified, staff will assume that any edition will do. For new purchases, use the our Request Service. Be sure to enter the course number under "For Reserves".

Copyright and Permissions

Amherst College adheres to and promotes observance of US Copyright laws. Please refer to additional information about copyright and fair use.

The College subscribes to the Annual Copyright License for academic institutions from the Copyright Clearance Center. Be sure to check all scanned or copied book chapters and journal articles to see whether they are covered . Apply for pay-per-use permissions only if readings are not included. Don't pay fees for licensed material! 

For each scanned or photocopied text, faculty themselves are responsible for guaranteeing either that the material is covered by the College's Annual Copyright License or that permission of the copyright holder is obtained. E-reserve links to the Library's online collections incur no copyright fee. Whenever possible, the Library will purchase copies of entire books or videos intended for extended Reserves use.

Remember that scanned materials are PDFs  on the E-reserve page; a globe indicates a library link. At the end of each semester, access to E-reserves will be discontinued for enrolled students.

Rightsholders should direct any complaints about possible copyright infringements to:

John Manly  (dmca[at]
Director of Systems & Networking
Rm B-15 Converse Hall
Amherst College
Amherst, MA  01002-5000