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Course Reserves

A guide for students and faculty to learn about course reserves

Course Reserves Specialist

What are Course Reserves?

A course reserve is a book (either digital or physical) that is assigned by an instructor and available from the library for students to borrow for a short period of time. As of the Fall 2022 semester, physical reserves can be checked out for 48 hours and renewed (as long as there is no one waiting for it) and digital items can be checked out for 2 hours and renewed (as long as there is no one waiting for it). The library does its best to keep at least one copy of every required textbook available for student use. Over the last two years, the Library has increased its ebook collection to expand at-home access to text books. 

The library also provides other materials, such as graphing calculators (which can be checked out for a whole semester!) and other books, with the goal of helping students meet their educational needs without incurring financial burden. These items, as well as the library's general collection of books and videos, are available to students without cost.

Course reserves and other library items can be checked out both from the Aptos main campus library as well as from the Watsonville campus and our satellite locations. Most items are housed in the Aptos campus main library.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Course Reserves Specialist or use Ask a Librarian.

Some Videos to Get You Started

Course Reserve FAQ's

In an effort to ensure the highest number of students possible have access to items, certain high-demand items such as course reserve textbooks have a check-out period of 2-48 hours. This allows students to borrow the item, review the chapter or section needed for that day's assignment, and return it in time for the next student to use it. If there is no one waiting for the item, a student may be able to renew it. Please note that sometimes we have a small number of math books that can be checked out for the whole semester.

Item Type Loan Period
Physical Course Reserve (textbook) 48 hours (renewable)
Digital Course Reserve (digital textbook) 2 hours (renewable)
Main Stacks Book (regular book from the shelves) 1 semester
Graphing Calculator (TI-84+) 1 semester
DVD (non-reserve, main stacks) 2 weeks (renewable)


Some digital items have a limited number of simultaneous users, which means that in many cases, only one person can be reading the file at a time. If that happens when you are attempting to access an ebook, you might get a prompt to request the item for later or a message saying it's unavailable. It is highly recommended that you use the request function if the book you want is currently unavailable. That way, you will be notified when your item becomes available. It also alerts us that this might be an item we should acquire more copies of. If you finish with a digital item early, please click the "return early" icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Items won't automatically return if you close the window without clicking "return early" first!

There is! Physical textbooks and other Course Reserves have 48 hour loan periods and will automatically renew unless someone else is waiting in line to use them.

How to get in line to use a physical textbook:

  • You can get in line to use a physical textbook by "booking" it.
  • Bookings are like reservations for books and begin at particular times.
  • Bookings can be made in person at the Cabrillo Library's Check Out desk or by calling that desk at (831) 479-6484
  • If items are unclaimed, bookings expire in one half hour
  • Bookings can be made up to two business days in advance of the booking time
  • Users cannot place bookings on items that they already have checked out
  • Users cannot place multiple bookings on duplicate copies of the same item
  • We highly encourage students to use bookings to share textbooks!

If no one is waiting in line, the book will automatically renew and you can keep using it. If someone gets in line for it, you will get an email prompting you to return it to campus.

Most Cabrillo College Library course reserves are in the main college library on the Aptos campus, behind the Check Out desk. The Integrated Learning Center (ILC) on the Watsonville campus  has items for classes taught there, as well as items requested by Watsonville instructors. Some reserves can also be found at satellite locations such as the Computer Technology Center (CTC), STEM Center, the HUB, the MLC, and at the Peace Library through the  Early Childhood Education program (ECE) on the Aptos campus.

A Course Reserve is an item that is ties to a specific course offered at Cabrillo. These books, maps, DVDs, and other items are typically kept behind the Check Out desk. They mostly include textbooks and required readings but also can include DVD's and maps. With a few exceptions, most have a check-out period of 48 hours. 

A Main Stacks item is any item found in the main stack area of the library (i.e. out on the main floor, accessible to all). These items are not tied to any specific class and can range from academic sources to enjoyable fiction. Checkout periods for books are usually one semester and DVD's are usually two weeks.

An access code is one-time use code that gives students access to proprietary online content. They are usually good for one semester and are non-transferable. Often, they are purchased in addition to a textbook, though some new textbooks require you to purchase both at the same time.


The library does not provide access codes.