The main entrance to the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center is now open. Van Pelt Library and the Fisher Fine Arts Library are currently open to Penn Card holders, Penn affiliates, and certain visitors. See our Service Alerts for details.

General Information

All access to electronic reserves will be exclusively through Canvas.

For information about reserving materials at departmental libraries, see the Course Reserves page or the individual departmental library homepage.

Reserves through Canvas: Quick Start Guide

New instructions for Fall 2023! If you have not yet requested a Canvas course site and would like to take advantage of the Penn Libraries’ Course Reserves service, please be sure to check the Course Reserves box when registering for your course site. If you have already registered your Canvas site, but did not check the course reserve box, please register your course here so that we may enable your Canvas site for electronic reserves.

Once “Course Materials @ Penn Libraries” has been enabled in your Canvas course site:

  1. Create a reading list for your course, or if one has already been created, you can work with the pre-existing list. 

    Watch video: how to create a reading list
  2. Structure your list: Add (or duplicate) sections with a title, description, and date (if relevant for the reading list). Then, you can drag items to the proper section via the blue handle on the right side of the citation.

    Watch video: how to structure your list
  3. Add items to your list. Click the “Add Items” button near the top right of the screen and perform a search with the Library Catalog button, click on the item you want, and click "add" or "add and edit" to provide additional details. New with this system: electronic resources in our collection such as ebooks, journal articles, or streaming videos will be immediately available for your students to view! To request acquisition of material that the library does not hold, such as new books or streaming videos, or for book chapter scans, use the Blank Form button and select the type of request before filling out the form. You can also easily add items from anywhere on the web via the Cite It extension, which can be dragged to your bookmarks bar from the introduction screen or from your account menu.
    Watch video: how to add items to your list
    Watch video: how to add a book chapter
    Watch video: how to add streaming media
  4. (Optional) Add tags to your citations to make them easier to filter or find. You can also add dates to restrict the visibility of any or all of a reading list or specific course materials if you only want to make them available to students for a limited time.
  5. Wait for us to process your items. The librarians check each citation and perform actions to fulfill them: set copies aside, subscribe to the required services, scan or digitize a physical copy, clear copyright issues, and so forth. Librarians can communicate with you during the process using notes in the library discussion; you'll get email notifications when new notes are added to your list or its citations. Once the items are ready, they'll be visible to your students.

    Watch video: how to use the Library Discussion to communicate
  6. Your list is ready to go! The new system is more interactive than before. Students can mark citations as done. Instructors can see statistics on what has been viewed. Lists can be exported as bibliographies.

Want a more in-depth look at this service? View this demo video to learn more.

Reserves via email or in person

You may bring or email a list of materials desired to your reserve location.

If you would like us to post documents that you already have in electronic form please send us the file.

If you have physical materials that you would like us to scan for you, please bring them to your reserve location.

Regardless of format, please be sure to include your name, course name and number and complete citations with all communications.

Personal copies

If you would like to place personal copies of books or films on reserve you may use any of the methods listed to initiate the reserve process. We ask that you then bring the personal copy to your preferred reserve location.

We are always happy to accept desk copies of textbooks.