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The library provides physical and electronic reserve-shelf service to ensure that students have access to materials identified as crucial to specific courses. Books, photocopies, DVDs, and VHS tapes are the types of materials often placed on physical reserve. Book chapters, ebooks, and journal articles may be placed on electronic reserve. Reserve items may be drawn from the library's collections or from faculty members' personal collections.


For Students: 

Accessing Reserves

Students can find both kinds of reserves listed here. Physical reserves are checked out from the Circulation Counter, and can only be used within the library, for up to three hours.

  • A valid MassArt I.D. card is required to borrow physical reserve materials. Physical reserve materials may be requested at the main Circulation Desk and must be used in the library, unless otherwise indicated by the faculty member. 

  • Patrons are limited to 3 reserve items at one time. During peak times (midterms and finals), patrons are limited to 1 reserve item at a time.

  • Reserve materials are charged out for 3 hours and may be renewed if no one else has requested them.

  • The library provides access to big screen TVS with DVD/BluRay players, and a VCR to view films and videos on reserve. Students can also check out DVD/BluRay drives to play DVDs on the Macs in the computer lab or on their own computers. 

  • Students will be able to access electronic reserve materials through the library catalog from any location with a connection to the internet and the ability to open PDFs. They will be able to download e-reserves if they are 20% or less of the total work. Off-campus access does require an active MCA email address. Students must be logged into their MassArt Google account - personal email addresses will not be able to access e-reserves.

  • Ebooks that the library owns or pays for access to can be linked through online reserve lists. Please note that we can not link to ebooks owned by other libraries, or to personal, non-institutional ebooks (Kindle, etc.) Some ebooks only have single or multi user access, so please keep that in mind when assigning ebooks as required reading. Most ebooks allow only a single chapter to be printed out, in adherence to copyright laws.

  • All e-reserves that are scanned within the library are run through OCR software, making them accessible for text-to-speech applications. Please contact the library for more details. 


For Faculty:

Placing Items on Reserve

To place items on reserve, faculty must email Abi Sweeney, or fill out a reserve request form at the Circulation desk. 

If you are requesting streaming video access, please email Chrissy Hartman.

We ask that you give us up to two weeks to process materials for reserve. We process reserve material requests in the order in which we receive them. Faculty owned material must be submitted with a completed reserve request form.

Scanning and photocopying services are only provided for materials assigned for class.


  • Please contact Katie Riel at if you would like the library to purchase materials for your class.

  • The library's acquisition policy states that multiple copies of texts will only be purchased when the material is required reading in a course.


  • Photocopies to be placed on electronic and physical reserve must be provided by the faculty member. The library assumes compliance with current copyright laws. Up to 3 copies of an item will be placed on physical reserve if indicated by the faculty member.

  • The copies themselves have to be clean copies and compliant with copyright laws.

  • Required elements for each photocopy:

    • 1 copy of title page

    • 1 copy of copyright page

    • 1 page per side (single-sided)

  • Scanning directly from original materials, instead of photocopies, is almost always preferred, but please ask for confirmation. 

  • If providing scans for reserves, the same elements are required as that of photocopies. Scans that do not adhere to these standards will not be allowed.

  • When an ebook of a text is not readily available, instructors may request to have an entire book scanned and uploaded as a PDF to their online reserve list, but the following standards apply:

    • Any book that has been scanned entirely will have its physical copy removed from circulation. Only the PDF will be available, in adherence to 1-1 sharing policies. 

    • PDFs will not be downloadable, and students will be asked to fill out a request form to access the PDF. If it is available, the PDF will be emailed to the student. If it is not available, the student will be asked to request the PDF again later. 

    • Each PDF is available for 3 hours at a time. After 3 hours, access will be revoked and the student will have to request the PDF again.

    • Only MassArt email addresses will be able to access the PDFs.

  • If an article you wish to put on reserve appears in a database to which the library subscribes (e.g. JStor, Art and Architecture Source, etc.), we will link to them directly.
  • Faculty may request the library link directly to websites through e-reserves, but should understand the library reserves the right to refuse to link to any website deemed risky.

Requests for physical film/video reserves (DVD, VHS) should be requested through Abi and follow the policies above.

Streaming video requests or questions can be directed to Chrissy Hartman.

If your class meets on campus, and you are planning on watching the video during class, please make every effort to utilize our DVD collection.  

If you are teaching remotely or wish to assign a film or video to your class for viewing outside of class time, the library may be able to assist with making a streaming copy available through one of the following resources:

  • Searching for online availability.  We are often able to track things down through the Internet Archive, free streaming sites, or YouTube.

  • Kanopy.  This is a very expensive resource for the library, and we prioritize requests for videos assigned to classes.  Depending on how late in the semester it is, we may not have the budget to provide access through Kanopy.

  • Library Hosting.  If the library has or can acquire a physical copy of the requested film, we can create a streaming version to make available to your class.  This system requires users to log-in with their MassArt Google account.  Users will not be able to download files.  Faculty will need to provide a class list so that access can be restricted.

All items must be taken off reserve at the end of each semester in order to not violate copyright.

Materials that may be placed on reserve under Fair Use copyright laws include:

  • A chapter from a book (or up to 20% of the entire work).

  • An article from a periodical or newspaper.

  • A short story, essay or short poem.

  • A chart, graph, diagram, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical or newspaper. The library will provide electronic reserves as long as the materials adhere to copyright laws.

Materials that do not fall under Fair Use for which copyright permission should be sought before being placed on reserve by facultyr:

  • More than one chapter from the same book (except when multiple chapters represent less than 20% of the entire work).

  • More than one article from a periodical or newspaper (unless the title is owned as part of the Library's collection).

To obtain copyright clearance, the library suggests faculty contact the Copyright Clearance Center which offers an Academic Permission Service (APS) and will secure copyright permissions for a fee.


If you have any questions about text-based or physical reserves, please contact Abi Sweeney, Librarian - Serials and Reserves at or 617.879.7104.

If you have questions about streaming video, please contact Chrissy Hartman at