Course Reserves and Access to Textbooks

Course Reserves, Electronic Course Reserves and Open Access to Textbooks for Students (OATS) are all great ways to provide students with free access to assigned and supplemental course materials.
Course Reserves are course-specific materials set aside by Cal Poly instructors for their students. This material may include books/e-books, textbooks, articles, solutions, videos or materials in other formats.
OATS are physical and electronic textbooks and other resources selected by the library to provide course support for popular lower-division courses.

If you haven’t done so already, please consider putting a copy of your course materials on reserve.


Finding / accessing reserve materials

  1. physical copies of materials (books, textbooks, etc) from the Circulation Desk
    • Search PolyCat
      Use your course number or your instructor’s name to find out what materials are reserved for your class.
    • Pick up at the Circulation Desk
      Course reserve materials are available for checkout at the Circulation desk with a valid Cal Poly I.D.
  2. electronic copies (e.g. PDFs) from PolyLearn

Finding / accessing OATS materials

More questions?

Read the checkout guidelines for checkout and return times as well as possible fines.


Submitting Materials

Library materials or personal copies of faculty’s materials can be placed on reserve for student use.

Need help finding relevant library materials for your course? Your College Librarian is happy to help.

Examples of materials that can be placed on reserve by faculty request:

  • Books/eBooks
  • Book/eBook chapters
  • Articles
  • Short stories, essays, poems
  • Graphs, charts, pictures, cartoons
  • Audio or video material

If requested materials are in the Kennedy Library’s subscribed electronic journals or books, we will link to the electronic version in accordance with any licensing allowances.

More questions?

See the submission guidelines.

Ready to put materials on reserve?

Fill out the Course Reserves submission form.

Concerned about the high cost of textbooks?

So are we. Here are some things you can do, whether you are a student or an instructor:

  • Order textbooks early. The earlier you choose your textbooks, the more opportunities the University Store and individual students have of locating lower-priced copies on the used market.
  • Choose lower cost textbooks. A federal law effective July 2010 (Higher Education Opportunity Act) requires publishers to share pricing and detailed information about editorial changes between editions.
  • Consider using an e-textbook from Kennedy Library. Kennedy Library has over 180,000 e-books, one of which may be suitable for your course. Please see our textbook match list to see which courses already are using materials available through the library.
  • Choose open access course materials. Explore the large number of quality resources available online, from textbooks to videos, and more. Do your students need printed texts? There are new publishing platforms for producing low-cost print copies from open educational resources. For resources on open and affordable course materials, please visit Kennedy Library’s Kennedy Library Open and Affordable Resource Guide
  • Create open access course materials. Join the movement for affordable course materials by creating and contributing your own instructional materials via DigitalCommons@Cal Poly, the OER Commons, or MERLOT. For support in exploring this option, please feel free to contact Dana Ospina, Open Content and Digital Publishing Librarian.

More on Open Resources

More on Open Access