Planning for Online Only Course Reserves

During the spring semester, Tisch, Lilly, and SMFA Libraries will only offer online course reserves. Based on current findings from the REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project, it is unsafe to circulate borrowed and returned materials without quarantining them first. Providing online course reserves will also ensure equitable access for students who are unable to access the library, or if further changes occur to campus operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most textbooks are not readily available for libraries to acquire in an e-book format; the main business model is for publishers to sell e-textbooks directly to students (including Pearson, Cengage, Houghton, and McGraw Hill). This can cause financial hardship and an inequitable level of access for students.

We advise faculty and instructors who are teaching in fall 2020 to plan for online course readings and materials. This may include electronic materials that Tufts Libraries license or subscribe to, including e-books, journal articles, databases, and streaming audio & video. This may also include open educational resources (OER) - online alternatives that are accessible and free to all students, and can be used and remixed by instructors in their courses.

Now is the time to reach out to your subject liaison librarian or to the Reserves Team to prepare for fall. We will work with you to identify what resources may be available, including:

  • Using digital content in the Library’s electronic collections, or purchasing if we do not own it;
  • Determining how much of a physical text can be scanned by library staff under copyright and Fair Use guidelines;
  • Identifying an alternative text, including open educational resources (OER), if a text can’t be scanned or if an e-textbook can’t be purchased by the Library.

We will continue to share updates about all Library services in the News section of the Tisch Library website and through COVID-19 Updates. We are here to answer your questions; please contact us.


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