Course Reserves

website pic

Library reserves provide students at the School of Theology Library access to required print or electronic resources assigned for their class, on a curated list for your class available on our website ( Reserves are an important tool for equity in higher education; for example, if enrolled students are unable to purchase expensive materials needed for a class, reserves allow students the opportunity to still complete needed assignments.

COVID-19 note: The 2020-2021 Academic Year is unlike any other. The School of Theology Library is committed to providing new services, and increasing existing services, to better meet the needs of faculty and staff alike during this school year. We are suspending physical reserves for the 2020-2021 year, but seek to make all required readings for classes available electronically, at least for one-user at a time, while abiding by US Copyright Law. Contact the library staff for more information on how we meet this goal.

Placing Items on Reserve

To place items on reserve for your course, please email  a copy of your class syllabus to: Amy Limpitlaw ( and Stacey Duran (

Deadlines for Course Reserves:

  • Fall Course Reserves by July 15
  • Spring Course Reserves by December 1
  • Summer Course Reserves by May 15

Submission of any reserve lists after the deadlines could significantly delay the availability of materials.

Library staff will go through the forwarded syllabus and create a customized course reserve list for your class (see our active course reserve lists for examples). These lists are only available to Boston University students, faculty, and staff, after logging in with their BU username and password.

  • If available, the library will provide or purchase a multi-user electronic copy of each book that is a required reading. Note that not all electronic resources are available to libraries, however; for example, if you see an item is available as a Kindle e-book, due to licensing reasons, we cannot purchase that book as a library. We will communicate to you what items are available as e-books.
  • If no e-book is available, a hardcopy will be provided on physical reserve at the Circulation Desk.
    • Items that are currently checked out to patrons will be recalled by library staff for reserve.
    • Items available at other BU libraries will be transferred to the Theology Library for the duration of the semester.
    • If no hardcopy is owned by BU, one will be purchased. Please note that purchase takes time, including the subsequent cataloging and processing of the book before it can be available for checkout. It is important to submit reserve lists on time so that all books will be ready before they are needed.

We can make scans of portions of materials (e.g. a chapter within a book or a single article within a journal volume) and make it available on the course reserve list; these requests must abide by US Copyright Law. Please note, that means that we usually cannot scan an entire resource.

Items remain on course reserve until the last day of the semester, unless requested by the Professor.

Physical Reserve Policy – 2 Hr/ Overnight

All physical items on reserve have a borrowing limit of two hours. Reserve items borrowed less than two hours before the library closes, are due back two hours after it opens on the next business day. Reserve materials cannot be renewed and are available on first come, first served basis.

Access Course Reserve Lists

All School of Theology course reserves for the current semester are listed by course code at After clicking on the course code, BU students, staff, or faculty must log-in to see the contents.

Adding Your Course Reserve List to Blackboard

The course reserve list can also be connected to your Blackboard course page. Simply open Blackboard to a page where you would add your syllabus or upload PDF readings. Under the “tools” drop down menu, go to “Course Readings – BU Libraries.” You can name the link something like “STH Library Course Reserves.” Hit submit on the bottom portion of the page, and it should automatically link to the list we created for your class (if it doesn’t, and asks you to start creating one, let us know so we can fix it). Or, if you prefer, simply use the link to your class’s list from our course reserve landing page ( and place it in your courses Blackboard menu.