Course reserves

"J.J. Mansalay scans a book that will be available via e-reserves"
J.J. Mansalay scans a book that will be available via e-reserves. (Photo by Jami Smith for the UC Berkeley Library)

Through the course reserves program, the UC Berkeley Library helps students save money by attempting to provide them with free access to copies of the books and videos they need for their classes. The Library will acquire textbooks or other required instructional materials depending on budget, staffing considerations, and material availability; the Library welcomes donated copies of the required textbooks and other instructional materials. The Library will continue to provide course reserves digitally, at least through the 2023-2024 academic year, since that approach expands the availability of content to students 24 hours a day (if they log in through the VPN or use library proxy), even in the case of campus emergencies or health/safety challenges.

Print course reserves in libraries are not supported at this time.

For students

Go to your classes’ bCourses sites to find links to required books, videos, and articles that your instructors have selected for the semester. Some instructors may provide these links on their syllabi or through another course management system. If you do not see these links for a particular class, ask your instructor (only instructors may submit requests). If the course reserve program is beneficial to you, please let your instructor know, so they are encouraged to submit their required materials for other courses.

For instructors

What to expect

Instructors submit their required book and video requests to the Library. For books, the Library will attempt to license e-books for institutional use. Copyrighted books that cannot be purchased as e-books by the Library or by students will be scanned and made available through a controlled digital lending platform, UC BEARS (see below). Once the items are available, each instructor will receive an email with the direct links to those items, which the instructor provides to their students via their bCourses site and/or in their syllabus. Please note that articles and chapters are not in the scope of course reserves; instead, instructors may consider whether they can share them directly with students under fair use — contact Scholarly Communications with questions.

Spring 2024

The priority deadline for spring course reserves requests is Oct. 31, 2023. Requests received after Oct. 31 may not be available for the start of the semester. For the benefit of our students, we encourage you to submit your requests as soon as possible.

Please submit lists of required books and videos for your fall courses via email to In the email, please include your course number/title and a list of your required items. For each item, please tell us the title, author, date/edition, and other bibliographic details. It is important to include items you wish to reuse from previous semesters, as we may need to activate those in the system.


  • Content is available 24/7 through an ADA-compliant (accessible) viewer.
  • Digital items are not available for download or printing (in portion or entirety).
  • Digital items are available only to users with a CalNet login.
  • The number of simultaneous users is determined by the number of UC Berkeley-owned physical copies.
  • Digital items are only available in UC BEARS for the duration of the semester and must be re-requested if needed again for the same or different course in a new semester. UC BEARS links are deactivated after the semester ends.
  • The UC Berkeley-owned physical copies are not available for on-site use or checkout during the semester that they are made available through UC BEARS.
  • Digital items can be checked out for 120 minutes, and items are renewable at the end of the loan period if another user has not checked them out already.
  • Users are able to see if an item is available for checkout or, if in use, when the item will become available.