“Do you have my textbook?” is one of the more popular questions in the library during the first week of a new semester.
Usually the answer is no, but it doesn’t have to be. If an instructor is using a textbook that the libraries already own they can request it for Course Reserve before the start of the semester. If an instructor, or a department, owns a spare evaluation copy of a textbook it can be brought to the library and put on Course Reserve for the semester. If a textbook is likely to have enduring research value after the course is over an instructor can request the library purchase a copy and put that copy on Course Reserve for the semester.
This semester a number of instructors have been receiving emails regarding this service. Each of these emails is triggered by a patron attempting to access a possible textbook via interlibrary lending. Some instructors will get a letter asking if they own a copy to put on Course Reserve. Others will be informed that the book is already in our collection and asked if it should be placed on Course Reserve. Not all instructors have the material or desire to put textbooks on Course Reserve, but these letters are a reminder of the opportunity.
Of course library staff would have an easier time answering “Do you have my textbook?” if more of the students asking knew the title of the textbook, but there is only so much you can expect during the first few days of a semester.