Required Readings Shelf

The Required Readings Shelf in the Main Library is for single copies of print titles that are unavailable through the typical channels (e.g., faculty have requested them from the UA BookStores, but they're no longer available for sale; they're not available for the library to acquire in digital format, etc.), but are required for students to complete their assignments.

A single copy may be placed on the Required Readings Shelf if ALL of the following criteria are met:

  1. It's required for a current course assignment,
  2. The textbook was requested by faculty through the UA BookStores’ textbook adoption process, but was found not to be available for sale or rent,
  3. It isn't already available digitally through the library and can’t be acquired in a digital format (learn more about our Course Driven Acquisitions program and contact your librarian to see if a particular text is available from the library as a multi-user ebook),
  4. It's in the library print collections, or we can acquire a legal copy, and
  5. It can't legally be digitized and made available to students in D2L under fair use or other copyright exceptions (ask our copyright librarian, Ellen Dubinsky, if you’re not sure).

Also note that:

  • Only a single copy of any title will be put on the Required Readings Shelf.
  • We don't accept personal copies, but will purchase our own copy, or make a copy, if we're able.
  • Materials on the Required Readings Shelf don't circulate and may only be used in the Main Library.
  • All materials are returned to the stacks at the end of each semester, unless requested for the full academic year.

Please contact your librarian if you have readings that meet these criteria, if you need help applying the criteria, or if you have any other questions.

Possible scenarios

Scenario 1

Faculty request: I'm new to the University of Arizona and assumed I could put a few copies of my required textbook on reserve at the library. I didn't know about the UA BookStores' textbook adoption process. I expect students to read most of the text over the semester. It was published in 2002.

Library response: Immediately contact the UA BookStores at to see if anything can be done for this semester. The library is unable to offer Textbook Reserves. Contact your librarian to see if an unlimited-user ebook is available from the library. If it isn’t, we can put one copy of the text on the Required Readings Shelf for this semester only, so that students have access if they're unable to find the text elsewhere. For future semesters, you'll need to use the BookStores’ textbook adoption process.

Scenario 2

Faculty request: I want students to read one chapter of this 2018 textbook. Please add the book to the library's Required Reading Shelf.

Library response: This book isn't eligible for the Required Readings Shelf since that chapter can be provided under the fair use exception to U.S. copyright law. "To request one to two chapters of the book, request a book chapter through the library's free document delivery service. We'll send you a PDF of the chapter(s) that you can upload to D2L Brightspace. In this case, do not submit this book through the UA BookStores' textbook adoption process. If only one chapter will be used, students shouldn't be required to buy the whole book.

Scenario 3

Faculty request: I've assigned a specific 1941 translation of Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot. It's out of print. There seem to be some copies on Amazon, but not a lot and they're expensive. What are my options?

Library response: This translation would be in its last 20 years of copyright protection. Section 108 allows libraries to digitize and make available works in their last 20 years of copyright protection for research or scholarly purposes if they're not actively being commercialized. As such, we can scan the entire book and you can upload it to D2L Brightspace.

Scenario 4

Faculty request: I've asked students to write a critical analysis of one or more pieces of advertising published in Ebony magazine in 1974. Ebony isn't available in a digital format for that year, but the library does have it in bound periodicals.

Library response: Since Ebony from 1974 is unavailable for students to purchase and we don’t have access electronically, moving the bound periodical to the Required Readings Shelf would be appropriate. If students only needed a specific article or single piece of advertising, that could be scanned and uploaded to D2L BrightSpace (through the library's free request an article service). In this instance, since the bound volume for the entire year is needed, it should be added to the Required Readings Shelf.

Scenario 5

Faculty request: I'm teaching a larger undergraduate Physics course and am concerned about the $250 price tag of my textbook. What can the library do to help students who can't afford it?

Library response: Thank you for considering the impact of high textbook costs on students. The library isn't funded to purchase and process multiple print copies of books for course use, so we're unable to offer Textbook Reserves. We do buy an unlimited-user ebook version of every required textbook that we can, but publishers often don’t make ebook licenses available to academic libraries. Make sure you've submitted the title to the UA BookStores through the textbook adoption process (as early as possible) so that used copies, rental copies, or inclusive access might be provided to lower costs for students. Also consider these alternatives:

  • Physics textbooks from OpenStax or the Open Textbook Library are completely free for students to use, download, print, and keep (the UA BookStores can also sell low-cost print copies of OpenStax books when faculty go through the textbook adoption process). OpenStax textbooks also come with free ancillary materials for faculty.
  • Contact your librarian to see if an alternative title is available as an unlimited-user ebook from the library.