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University of Southern MaineLibraries

Textbooks on Reserve: Home

How the Textbooks on Reserve Project works.

Where do I borrow textbooks for two hours?

The USM Libraries and the Student Government have purchased many, but not all, textbooks for the Textbooks on Reserve project. We encourage you to check to see if we have your textbook(s) on reserve in one of our campus Libraries for you to use in the Library.

  • Check your schedule and make make sure for each course you have:
    1. The course abbreviation and number (e.g. ENG 100, BIO 105, MUS 150, HTY 200, ...)
    2. The instructor's name (e.g. Chebowicz, Champlin, Davis, Zhao, ...)
    3. The campus on which your course is held (e.g. Portland, Gorham, Lewiston-Auburn) or whether it is online.
  • Then go to the USM Libraries catalog, URSUS, and do a Reserves Search to find out if your textbook(s) is in the Textbooks on Reserve program.
  • Learn more about how to do a Textbooks on Reserve search by viewing this very short tutorial.
  • If you do find your course listed, you can see which campus Library has the textbook(s) for your course.

Borrowing a textbook on Reserve

  • Bring your course information to the campus Library that has the textbook.
  • Bring your USM ID card. You must have your USM ID card to checkout books.
  • At the main desk, ask for the textbook by course number (ENG 100,...) and title of the book.
  • You can checkout the textbook for use in the Library for two hours.
    If you need the book for longer than two hours, you can check it out again if no one is waiting for the book.

Picture of a USM ID Card

How do I buy textbooks at USM?

If your textbook is not in the Textbooks on Reserve project or you want to purchase your textbook, you should:

  • Go to the USM Bookstore's web site and click on "ORDER YOUR TEXTBOOKS"  to find out what books your need for your classes.
  • Order books through USM's Virtual Bookstore, eCampus.
  • Frequently Asked Questions from the USM Bookstore.

USM Libraries have textbooks for MANY (but not all) courses.
Typically textbooks will be in the Library of the campus where the course is taught.

Open Educational Resources (OER's)

Keeping textbook cost as low as possible is a goal for USM Libraries. When faculty use OER's, students access textbooks at no cost.

Ask A Librarian


With the increasing cost of textbooks for students, the USM Student Government, Libraries, and Provost discussed creating a pilot program for students to borrow introductory textbooks at no cost.

In the Fall of 2016, the pilot project focused on the core 100 level courses. The textbooks for these courses were placed on Reserve in the Libraries. The books were placed at the campus Library (Portland, Gorham, or Lewiston) where the course was taught most often. Due to the large number of books being purchased, it was not possible to have the reserve books for a course on more than one campus. If the book was available as an e-book, it was made accessible as an e-book.