For as long as any of us can remember, we have maintained a two-tiered system for reserve books in the Library. Faculty could bring library-owned books to the Reserve Desk and request that they be placed on reserve for the semester. They could also bring in personal copies for placement on reserve for students in their class. The former were discoverable via the CUNY+ catalog or OneSearch, labeled as John Jay Reserve in the availability column of the results page and would be requested via Library of Congress call number at the Reserve Desk. The personal copies proved to be more complicated. To find the call number – which in these cases was usually the faculty last name – students and librarians would need to search in the Reserves section of the CUNY+ catalog or OneSearch. This practice, while familiar and somewhat manageable, can be confusing for all involved. Many students do not know whether a book on reserve is a Library or faculty copy, which often involves frustration and delay in accessing the books they need.  Often, the same title would wind up in multiple places in the catalog, further confusing both students and staff.  Not only that, but in the majority of cases, faculty members did not retrieve their books at the end of semesters, leaving the Reserve Room to become storage for unclaimed books.

To ameliorate this, beginning in the Spring 2016 semester, we will continue to accept personal copies from faculty for reserve, but they will by default be considered library donations. This allows the Library staff to catalog them with Library of Congress call numbers and, more importantly, will make the searching on the part of librarians and students far simpler. In certain circumstances, at the request of a faculty member, we can continue to place books using the last-name-as-call-number system, but this would be for cases such as a customized three-ring binder or other non-book items that require special consideration. If faculty do wish to retrieve their books at the end of the semester, they may still do so, and we will deaccession them. This way, faculty will be helping to grow the Library’s collections with their generous donations while making the lives of their students much easier. For any questions about this new protocol, please contact Kathleen Collins.


Kathleen Collins

More from the Fall 2015 Library Newsletter »