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Getting Your Course Reserves Right for Remote Teaching

Along with the rest of the Ithaca area, the Cornell campus is doing a great job of the social distancing required to mitigate coronavirus-19 transmission successfully. And with that—as much as we love you all, and as much as the Library doesn’t feel like a library with all this distance between us—Mann also remains closed to physical access for both staff and the public. But rest assured, we’re still 100% here for our patrons. As Cornell faculty start finalizing their preparations for successful rest-of-semester remote teaching, we want to make sure everyone is fully informed of the support and resources available for getting their course materials all set up. 

To begin, when it comes to organizing course reserves for your remote students, the first and probably most important general resource for Cornell faculty to keep in mind is this web page: It’s part of the Cornell University Library’s Support for Remote Teaching Libguide and it gives a comprehensive overview of all the different things to keep in mind as you finalize your course reserves line-up.

And just to pluck out just a few of the key points:

  • Students will be accessing electronic reserves under the “Course Reserves” menu link on their course’s Canvas site.
  • To get started on (or for questions about) making course reserve materials accessible to your remote class, CALS and CHE faculty should contact:
  • Electronic items, including items found in course packets, must meet copyright or have the permission of the copyright holder for this type of use, and the library staff will work with you regarding permissions. One nicely positive thing to keep in mind here: Faculty will likely be relieved to know that Cornell Copyright Information Center is recommending that scanned course material may be made available to students in amounts that may exceed customary fair use limits under normal circumstances. Fair use provides somewhat greater flexibility during these exigent circumstances. For full info on this, see: NEW COPYRIGHT GUIDELINES FOR COVID-19.
  • Faculty (and their students!) will also likely be happy to know that students can gain access to online course materials. The Cornell Store has partnered with VitalSource and leading publishers to launch VitalSource Helps, a program offering free access to ebooks for students. A student can use their email address to freely borrow up to seven (7) now through May 25, 2020. For more detailed instructions about this, please refer back to the CUL course reserves info page noted above.

We think that covers the main scoop on course reserves in the time of COVID-19 for now. We’ll update this page with any changes that come up. And as always, if you run into any questions or problems that you could use some one-on-one help with, please don’t hesitate to contact your Mann Library research support team or email us at We’ll get back to you right away. Stay safe and well, friends!