Library offers advice on requesting winter course materials


To ensure students have access to library course materials at the start of the winter term, the U-M Library has several recommendations for instructors, chief among them to begin planning as soon as possible.

If possible, submit requests via the library’s online course materials request form by mid-November for items needed at the start of the winter term. 

This will help minimize delays caused by an influx of requests at the start of the term, and allow time to source electronic items for purchase, and digitize materials where possible. Turnaround times vary, but it can take as long as four to six weeks to obtain some items. 

Physical reserves will not be offered in the winter term, and HathiTrust’s emergency temporary access service will continue. To provide more equitable access for students, instructors are encouraged to use library-licensed and open-access materials whenever possible. 

The course materials service can help by:

  • Identifying materials that are available electronically.
  • Purchasing electronic versions if available.
  • Scanning portions of works for access through Canvas course sites.
  • Scanning full works for access via HathiTrust’s temporary access service.

Those considering using ebooks should note the following common limitations and restrictions:  

  • Many textbook publishers refuse to license ebook formats to libraries. Pearson, Cengage, McGraw Hill, Macmillan and Norton are examples of textbook publishers whose ebooks are typically not available for libraries to purchase.
  • Many publishers of fiction and popular nonfiction won’t license multiuser ebook copies to libraries, and some don’t offer any ebook licensing to libraries. Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster are among the publishers whose books are difficult to license.
  • Limits on concurrent users of ebooks (including those accessible via HathiTrust’s emergency temporary access service) might constrain the library’s capacity to simultaneously serve the course needs of all students, especially if the book is expensive and the class is large

While copyright considerations and costs prevent the library from providing all required course materials, library experts can help find and acquire electronic materials, or search for alternatives where necessary.


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