As you know, the Library facility in the 1L Building, like most of campus, remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the majority of our resources have been electronic and accessible through a SLAS/FLAS log in, we recognize that this presents a real challenge for students and faculty seeking access to print material.
We have had some questions regarding eReserves, which provides controlled access to required readings in digital formats that are restricted to students enrolled in a specific course. The CSI Library has never had an eReserve system, which involves complicated copyright and licensing issues, special software, and password protection. Not surprisingly, this service also requires dedicated library faculty and staff to manage requests, scan materials, and ensure their online access does not violate Fair Use guidelines.
This August, CUNY successfully completed a multi-year-long migration to a new Library Services Platform (LSP), involving millions of data assets and records, system-wide. Learn more online. The promising news is that the new LSP has an eReserves module. Unfortunately, however, it has not yet been implemented. So, we hope that there will be developments in this area as things progress and we return to the Library building.
The textbook/reserve issue is one impacting all academic libraries. Library faculty across CUNY have been trying to resolve this issue since the Spring semester when we realized our libraries were unlikely to reopen and we would not be able to circulate materials for two hour loan periods. We know that student access to required readings is directly tied to both equity and student success. During these unprecedented times, in addition to adopting Open Educational Resources (OER) and assigning older/cheaper editions of required readings, we recommend scanning and uploading material into Blackboard using the guidance outlined by the CUNY Copyright Committee. In many ways, Blackboard functions as an eReserve because it provides access to required readings that are password-protected and restricted to students in your course, thereby helping to avoid many copyright violations.
Please continue to use the Reserves Request Form so we can try to identify and purchase your readings as ebooks. However, I must add the caveat that while we are trying to purchase electronic versions of print material, unfortunately, e-textbooks are not readily available to libraries for institutional licenses. See our statement online.
As always, we are here to help, and working to provide the most efficient service possible during theseunusual and trying times.
All the best, and stay well.
By Amy F. Stempler