As the UTC Library continues preparing for the Fall 2020 semester, we have been working hard to provide access to course materials for faculty. This has included access to online articles, books, chapters, musical scores, streaming video, and more. 

With the opening of the Library to current students, faculty, and staff in August, we are striving to provide the best services possible while maintaining the health and well-being of our staff and patrons. In some cases, this means limiting the amount of in-person interactions.

Physical course reserves are problematic in the age of COVID-19. The recommendations from the American Library Association and other library and museum organizations is to quarantine materials for at least one day upon their return. Sanitizing books is not typically recommended, as the process may damage bindings. The Library has adjusted our course reserve policies and practices to mitigate health and safety risks associated with handling physical materials and to provide sufficient quarantine periods for materials upon return.

The following physical course reserve options are available to faculty for the 2020-21 academic year: 1-day, 3-day, or 7-day loan periods. Due to COVID-19, we have eliminated a previous option to allow 3-hour in-library only loans to ensure the safety of patrons and staff. Physical course reserve materials will be quarantined for 24 hours (books) or72 hours (DVDs) after each use depending on their material type. Finally, the Library will not include games, kits, and high-touch and hard-to-sanitize resources -in physical reserves. To request physical course reserve materials, please complete the online Course Reserves Form.

Due to our new safety precautions, the Library strongly encourages faculty to utilize electronic materials and upload or link to them within UTC Learn (Canvas) in lieu of placing materials on physical reserve. This ensures that all students, on- and off-campus, may access course-related content easily and safely, positions faculty to better pivot to online in the event face-to-face or hybrid classes move online during the semester, and provides students access to materials after the Thanksgiving break as they prepare for final examinations from off-campus locations. 

To facilitate the emphasis on electronic materials, instructors may request electronic versions of books and materials, including the scanning of journal articles or book chapters as permitted under copyright law, or consult with their Library Departmental Liaison for help in considering alternative materials. For questions about the fair use of materials, see our Copyright and Fair Use Information.   Please also note that it is often challenging for the Library to acquire course textbooks in electronic format.  The following publishers will not allow us to purchase an e-textbook version of their publications: Pearson, Cengage, Houghton, McGraw Hill, Oxford University Press (textbook division), Elsevier imprints (Elsevier Health Science, Mosby, Saunders), Lippincott, WW. Norton, and Thieme. Library staff are happy to work with you on locating alternative online materials.

We are working with instructors to explore and identify viable textbook alternatives, including:

  1. Using an existing e-book in the relevant subject area from the library’s e-book collection or requesting that the library purchase one. There are many academic e-books that aren’t considered textbooks and are therefore available for the library to purchase.
  2. Adopting open educational resources (OER). OER are freely available educational materials that are openly licensed to allow for re-use and modification by instructors. 
  3. Creating reading lists utilizing direct links to articles, e-books, e-book chapters, and streaming video for use in UTC Learn.

The Library will make every effort to secure online materials that are free from digital rights management restrictions (DRM) in order to ensure unfettered student access. DRM includes limits on the number of users that can access a resource at any one time, as well as limits on copying, printing, and downloading.

The UTC Library Affordable Course Materials Initiative supports the adoption of Open Educational Materials and Affordable Course Materials available from the UTC Library and can provide consultations on request. In addition to reducing potential exposure to the virus, reducing the cost and improving the accessibility of course materials are more important than ever. Contact to arrange a consultation about ways to reduce course material costs for your students.

Please reach out to us for assistance with online materials. We are happy to help in any way we can.

Questions? Email us at

*Shout out to the University of Guelph Library who had the foresight to post this information so we could borrow!