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Student Guide to the Library: Course Readings

November 26, 2018

Large poster in a frame. The poster is titled "Course Readings."

Marie Tano (PO ’21) is a student employee at The Claremont Colleges Library in the User Services and Resource Sharing Division. This year, she is writing monthly posts sharing her library knowledge and making the library easier to use for students.

The library’s Course Readings system is a life saver for many students at The Claremont Colleges. Here’s a student employee perspective on this system and how it works.

What is a Course Readings Book?

A Course Readings book is a book that has been reserved for certain courses at any course offered at any of the seven Claremont Colleges.

How are Course Readings Books gathered and organized?

The library works with the bookstore to gather the lists of every book assigned for classes this semester. In addition, professors can send the library the names of any additional books that will be either used or required for their classes.

The library purchases a copy of every book on this list that we don’t already own. For books already in our collection, student employees and staff pull the books from the shelves, then place a nice little sticker on the book showing the course it is assigned for. The books are then organized on the shelves of the Course Readings section of the library.

This section is located on the second floor of the Mudd side of the library, near the Main Services Desk. The shelves of these sections are organized alphabetically by class code. You can find your books by searching for your course number, just like at the bookstore.

What are the due dates of Course Readings Books?

Once books have been relocated to this section, they can only be checked out for 4 hours at a time. (If you checked out an assigned book before it was added to Course Readings, your book will be recalled with a new due date, unable to be renewed.)

What about books that are assigned for more than one class this semester?

Sometimes a book is assigned for two or more courses at a time – for example, XX and XX. In this case, the book will be shelved with the XX books. On the YY shelf, you’ll find a “dummy book” showing you which shelf to check for your book.

Why does a Course Readings Book say that it is available on the website, but when I look for it under my course code it is not there? Is it missing?

Don’t panic – your book may not be missing at all. It may be assigned for another class (see above). It may have been recently checked in and is waiting at the Main Services Desk to be reshelved. Or another student may be using it in the library without having checked it out.

If you can’t find your item, ask at the Main Services Desk. Library staff members at the desk have access to the master list of Course Readings Books. They can track down which course it’s under and when it was last checked out. If the book truly is missing, library staff can file a report and request that a new copy be rush-ordered and put on the shelf.

Why are they only available for four hours?

Now, if you are confused about the limited hours that each book is available for, just remember that this section is the most utilized section of the library during the semester. Every single student at any of the colleges usually needs at least one of the books on reserve. And for those of us with financial issues, this section of the library saves us hundreds of dollars on textbook fees. This reason is why fines are collected very quickly for late or missing Course Readings Books. Please be prompt and keep your peers in mind when checking out books from this helpful 7C resource.