Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


E-Reserves is a relatively young library support service that was conceived as a strategic, decentralized response to changes occurring in curricular resource formats during the 1990s. It is a service that has since become ubiquitous in academic libraries and one that is presently facing a crisis spurred by shifts in user culture, e-learning environments, and modes of scholarship production. Challenges facing E-Reserve services are compounded by a professional culture of isolation and by the absence of best practices and internal assessment measures that can serve as effective rubrics to measure changes or test the efficacy of current service models. This analysis of the history of E-Reserve services and evaluation of the current curricular support needs of faculty and students sheds light on the current crisis and envisions possible futures for the service. The article ultimately advocates for a move towards hybrid and iterative service models and highlights the importance of collaboration and outreach to ensure the future viability of E-Reserve services.


This work was originally published in Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Electronic Reserve.



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