Course Reserve & Interlibrary Loan Procedures

Faculty Requesting Course Materials

  • All faculty requests should be directed to submit their course material requests via  Faculty can use Canvas to submit their requests or email their unit reserves staff person.

  • Reserves staff will check VitalSource (the Cornell Store’s e-holdings) to check availability.  For content that is available via VitalSource, Reserves staff will create a record for the textbook in Ares for the students to access via Canvas.

  • If the item is not available via the bookstore, Reserve staff will submit a request for purchase of an e-version of the title, they will purchase.

  • If no e-book is available for the requested material, reserve staff will contact the appropriate Library liaison to assist the faculty member in locating an alternative resource.

Reserve staff will be reaching out to faculty with textbooks available in e-format, to verify that they would like the library to purchase the content for their course. Students and Faculty Requesting Research Materials·Although Interlibrary Loan is no longer able to obtain physical materials or supply scanning services for items held in the Cornell Library, we are still able to supply many chapter or article scans electronically via ILL or other fulfillment options such as a document supplier. 

We are encouraging patrons to first use the library catalog to identify resources that are available online, ask the library to purchase an ebook via the online purchase request, or contact Ask-A-Librarian for assistance finding appropriate online resources. 

  • If Faculty indicate that the ILL material they have requested is for teaching, we redirect the request to the appropriate Reserve department.

Online Reserves/Course Materials

Do you have reserve materials or course readings that you need to make available to students in Canvas? The Library can help locate, order, and upload readings. The How to Submit Course Reserves page will help you get started.

What is the deadline for placing items on reserve?

Staff are working hard to process all requests for course reserves. If you submit multiple requests, please let us know the priority order for those items as this will help when processing items.

What can be placed on electronic reserve?

E-books, streaming films, journal articles, book chapters, syllabi, practice exams, lecture notes and audio files. Items can be linked to if they are available through the Library's licensed databases, or if they are open-access resources.

  • Electronic items, including items found in course packets, must meet copyright or have the permission of the copyright holder for this type of use. The library staff will work with you regarding permissions. SEE NEW COPYRIGHT GUIDELINES FOR COVID-19.
  • Readings and/or viewings must be restricted to members of the class, and access must be terminated at the end of final exams.
  • Reproduced (scanned or photocopied) materials should include proper attribution and include the original work's copyright statement. If no statement can be found, a standard statement of copyright protection may be used. NOTE: The Library can not scan items from its physical collection at this time.
  • For questions specifically dealing with electronic reserves for audio, the Music Library endorses the Statement on the Digital Transmission of Audio Reserves issued by the Music Library Association.

How do my students access electronic reserves in Canvas?

Students can access electronic reserves under the "Course Reserves" menu link on their course's Canvas site.

NOTE: Only material that has been placed on reserve through the library can be accessed via the "Course Reserves" link. Articles or other readings that have been uploaded to Canvas or Blackboard by the instructor will be found in a different location as specified by the instructor.

Digital Textbook Access

Using your address, you can access, for free, up to seven (7) titles to borrow now through May 25, 2020.

To gain access to this digital book catalog, please log in or create an account at using your email address.

  • First-time users should click Create a VitalSource account to begin
  • Returning VitalSource users can use existing credentials to log in or click Forgot Password to reset account
  • Once logged in to your Bookshelf account, click Explore to search by title.
  • When you find the title you are looking for, click on the title’s book cover to Borrow.
  • An item-counter in the lower-left corner of the Bookshelf screen will help keep track of the number of books borrowed.

To access ebooks offline, students and instructors can download the Bookshelf app on a computer or mobile device. The Bookshelf app is available free on all major app stores. Students may download ebooks simultaneously on two desktop/laptops and two mobile devices. If a user reaches the activated devices limit, deactivate a device to activate other devices in account settings.
VitalSource does not share user data and all participants of the VitalSource Helps program will automatically be opted out of marketing initiatives.
For assistance using VitalSource Bookshelf, or if you’re having trouble finding a title, please contact The Cornell Store’s textbook department at
Further information regarding VitalSource Helps, including answers to frequently asked questions for students can be found on the VitalSource website.