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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 and journal articles may be placed on electronic reserve. Reserve items may be drawn from the library's collections or from instructors' personal collections.

Students can find both both kinds of reserves listed here; electronic reserves can be downloaded directly. Physical reserves are checked out from the Circulation Counter, and can be used only within the library. 

Faculty wishing to place items on reserve, either physical or electronic, should complete a reserve request form, and are encouraged to contact Abi Sweeney at or 617.879.7104. Please request reserves at least 2 weeks in advance.  

For Students: Accessing Reserves

I. Physical Reserves

  • A valid MassArt I.D. card is required to charge physical reserve materials. Physical reserve materials are located behind the main Circulation Desk and must be used in the library, unless otherwise indicated by the instructor. The library provides access to a projector and a VCR to view films and videos on reserve.
  • 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. Fines will begin to accrue after 3 hours: $1.00/per hour, for any type of reserve item.

II. Electronic Reserves

  • 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. Off-campus access will require an active MCA email address. Students must log out of their personal Gmail accounts first - outside email addresses will not be able to access E-reserves.

For Faculty: Placing Items on Reserve

  • To place items on reserve regardless of format, Instructors must fill out a reserve request form. We ask that you give us up to two weeks to process materials for reserve. We process reserve materials in the order in which we receive them. Instructor owned material must be submitted with a completed Reserve Request Form.
  • 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 Instructor. 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 Instructor.
  • 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)


All items must be taken off reserve at 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 18% 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 course instructor:

  • More than one chapter from the same book (except when multiple chapters represent less than 10% 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.

Articles in Library Databases

If an article you wish to put on reserve appears in a database to which the library subscribes (e.g. JStor, ArtFullText, Infotrac, etc.), you do not need to submit a photocopy. We will link to them directly.

Contact Information

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

Reserves Request Form