Reserve Policies

Copyright Tutorial

To find out how copyright affects teaching and learning in today's digital environment, Steely Library offers Copyright for the Classroom and the Digital World, an online tutorial for faculty and staff. Topics include using copyrighted materials in the classroom, assessing risks, requesting permissions, protecting your copyrights, and copyright-related services at Steely Library.

Electronic Reserve Policies

  • Fill out, and submit electronically, a Reserve Request Form for each item that will be placed on reserve.
  • Provide the Library with copies of items that are to be placed on reserve. Please include a COMPLETE bibliographic citation. Incomplete citations could delay your request.
  • Submit form electronically, email attachments to Lois Schultz.
  • Allow 5 business days for reserve processing.

On-Site Steely Library Reserve Policies

Reserve items may be borrowed for 2 hours, 24 hours, 3 days, or 1 week based on faculty request.

Fines for 2 hour reserve items accrue at the rate of 25 cents per item, per hour the library is open, up to $25.00 per item.

Reserves that have a circulation period of 1 day, 3 days, or 1 week will be charged at a rate of $6.00 per day when returned late. It is imperative that reserve materials are returned on time.


  • Bring materials to be placed on reserve to the third floor Public Service Desk.
  • Complete the online Reserve Request Form. Include the complete bibliographic citation. For a part of a book, include a copy of the title page and the verso of the title page (back of the title page).
  • Allow five working days for processing reserves. Reserves are processed on a first come first served basis.

Course Reserve Copying Limit Suggestions

Library course reserves provides instructors a convenient and practical way to offer outside readings to students to supplement their lessons. With Blackboard’s Library Content eReserves, your students now have 24/7 virtual access to your reserve content. To comply with the Fair Use doctrine of the U.S. Copyright Act [17 U.S.C. SS107], Steely Library suggests the following common-sense suggestions for determining how much of various resource formats may be copied for a reserve based on U.S. Copyright Law and the doctrine of Fair Use:

Public domain or government documents - An entire work may be copied to be placed on reserve if it is in the public domain. Most works published before 1923 and most U.S. government documents are in the public domain.

Paper journal or newspaper article copies - An entire article may be copied and utilized as a reserve. An entire issue of a journal may not be copied as a course reserve.

Electronic journals subscribed to by Steely Library - Unless our licensing agreement prohibits (e.g. LexisNexis), linking to any number of online articles is usually permitted (including an entire issue). Most free and open web resources may be linked to electronic reserves as well. Because of the authentication process necessary for off campus access to Steely Library subscription database articles, instructors or the Library must preface a database link with the following proxy server URL information -

Textbooks - Consumable works which are currently marketed to students such as textbooks, workbooks, and course packs should not be copied for use as a course reserve. However, an original copy of the complete work could be placed on traditional reserve. Contact us for extenuating circumstances, (e.g. textbook not arriving in time for the start of the course).

Book chapter, entry, or section copies - Only a few chapters or up to 25% of the work are typically permitted to be copied as Fair Use from a factual work. However, no more than 10% of more highly creative works such as musical score, fictional literature, or static visual images (photos, maps, etc.) from the same resource may be permitted to copy as Fair Use. Anthologies of fictional short stories and poetry should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with John Schlipp.

Out-of-print books - Out-of-print does not necessarily mean out-of-copyright. We follow the same copying guidelines as for those works which are currently in-print. The Library may assist instructors in locating the current copyright holder for permission to copy.

Audio and visual media - For media resources utilized as part of online class instruction see Electronic Media & Classroom Instruction section below for details.

Steely Library reserves the right to refuse copying and posting materials which do not comply with the U.S. Copyright Act and its doctrine of Fair Use [17 U.S.C. SS107]. Subsequent semester educational use of resources may require the Library to obtain permission and pay reasonable copyright royalties. For more on Fair Use, see the Fair Use checklist created by Dr. Kenneth Crews.

Copyright Permissions

Steely Library will handle copyright permissions for your course reserves, including:

  • Materials that do not qualify as a fair use
  • Materials that have been on reserve for more than one semester
  • Materials used in multiple courses
  • Consumable works

American Library Association Library Reserve Use Highlights

  • The material should contain a notice of copyright.
  • The amount of material should be reasonable in relation to the total amount of material assigned for one term of course taking into account the nature of the course, its subject matter and level [17 U.S.C. SS107(1) and (3)].
  • The number of copies should be reasonable in light of the number of students enrolled, the difficulty and timing of assignments, and the number of other courses which may assign the same material. [17 U.S.C. SS107(1) and (3)].
  • The effect of photocopying the material should not be detrimental to the market for the work [17 U.S.C. SS107 (4)].
  • The classroom or reserve use of photocopied materials in multiple courses or successive years will normally require advance permission from the owner of the copyright [17 U.S.C. SS107 (3)].
  • Faculty should not charge students more than the actual cost of photocopying the material [17 U.S.C. SS107 (1)].
  • The duplication of works that are consumed in the classroom, such as standardized tests, exercises, and workbooks, normally requires permission from the copyright owner [17 U.S.C SS107 (4)].
  • Creation of a collective work or anthology by photocopying a number of copyrighted articles and excerpts to be purchased and used together as the basic text for a course will in most instances require the permission of the copyrighted owners [17 U.S.C. SS107 (4)].

Electronic Media & Classroom Instruction

Utilizing a larger portion of an electronic media resource as part of an actual distance course lecture would not qualify as a library reserve under Fair Use. However, the TEACH Act permits online instructional use of copyrighted media as would be used by an instructor in a face-to-face class under certain conditions. On the other hand, some media formats have special provisions detailed in a performance license. Licensing trumps both Fair Use and the Teach Act. The fact that our NKU Media Collection holds a licensed media resource does not extend the rights beyond those specified in a media resource license. Licensing fees which are restricted to students enrolled in a distance online course are the responsibility of the NKU instructing course department. Steely Library purchases some licensed media where the license allows resource use by all NKU users, e.g. journal article databases, DVDs, etc. Depending on the licensing restrictions, electronic media resources could be posted on an NKU instructor’s Blackboard course content or made available onsite in the Steely Library Media Collection. The TEACH Act generally permits instructor approved portions of subject related copyrighted media to be used for face-to-face equivalence in distance instruction. TEACH Act or Fair Use support for instructional use is voided by any licensing agreements. Contact John Schlipp or view our copyright information page for more.

Other Helpful Hints on Copyright

Steely Library phone number:  859.572.5457