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Course Reserves & TIP: Introduction

Information about the Libraries' course reserves service and MIT's TIP (Textbook Information Provisioning) service


Contact the reserves team at

Course Site (CMS) Assistance

Need more information to help manage your course site? The following pages include rich information resources to help faculty and teaching staff with course sites.

COVID-19 Resources for staff

Because of the unprecedented disruption of COVID-19 for MIT's academic year, significant changes have been made to the course reserves service to better support the largely online environment. You'll find general information on these changes in the Fall & Spring 2020-21 section of this guide and more detailed information in the Spring 2021- FAQ.

What are course reserves

Reserves are materials and resources that professors have identified to use for a class. They can be either print or electronic.

  • Fuller information about requesting and accessing print reserves and access to e-resources within the class CMS can be found in the corresponding tabs, linked here for ease of access.

Requesting course materials

The Q&A below provides an overview about requesting materials for a class. Please see the Scanning and Print tabs for details specific to those formats.


The MIT Libraries typically offer print reserves, as well as scanning services for PDFs from print-only materials. Please note that print reserves are not available for the spring semester 2021

  • We can scan articles or chapters from a journal or book and provide them so you may upload the resources to your course site, as long as the request falls within Fair Use copyright guidelines, including images, which require special considerations.
  • Please contact for additional guidance if you have questions..

Submit your required textbook and course reserve requests through Faculty Enlight or the Semester Books Submission Form. The information you submit will be sent to the Libraries for course reserves and the Coop for textbook purchases. The information will be available in the Online Course Listing after The Coop and/or Libraries finalize your order.

Please note: The Coop request system will be changing as of the end of 2020. We will update the teaching community when the new system is available

To meet the requirements of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) federal mandates regarding course materials students must purchase, new semester requests need to be submitted prior to pre-registration to meet this federal regulations:

  • May 1 for the Fall and Summer terms
  • December 1 for Spring and IAP terms

The Libraries process requests as they are received. We encourage you to submit you requests as early as possible to enable the Libraries to fill your request before the semester begins.

  • Before the semester begins - the average turnaround time is 3-5 days unless the Libraries need to purchase or otherwise source the item(s) requested. Turnaround time for items the Libraries do not own is difficult to predict.
  • After semester start - Once a semester has begun, turnaround time is longer, typically 8-10 days, dependent on whether the Libraries own the item(s) requested.
  • We recommend submitting your requests based on semester needs, i.e. readings needed at the beginning of term requested first.
  • If the library does not own a book and we need to order it, it may take 4-8 weeks until the book or e-resource is available.

Additional items can be put on print reserve anytime after the pre-registration deadline, or during the semester. PDF scans may be requested anytime. Fulfillment of requests may be delayed if received during the start of a semester

  • To update your Libraries-only and e-reserves lists, or if you have questions about course reserves, email
  • To check on textbook availability at the MIT Coop, change your selection, or required/recommended designation, email the COOP at or call 617-499-3231.

Due to copyright restrictions, Materials that exceed Fair Use limits, we will try to purchase an e-version. The item may only be placed on print reserve at the library, If an e-version is not available for Libraries' purchase.

The library cannot scan articles from a course reader for electronic reserves because copyright permissions have already been paid for the articles, which supersedes fair use.

Fair use restrictions prohibit the Libraries from placing "consumables" on reserve, e.g. workbooks.

Books from non-MIT libraries cannot be placed on print reserve. If you would like a book placed on reserve that the library does not own we will order it. Book orders can take up to 6 weeks, so the earlier we get your request, the better. If a book is out of print, the Libraries may not be able to obtain a copy. We will reach out to determine if an alternate edition is acceptable, when this option is available.