Guidelines for Reserve Requests from the Music Library

When to submit reserves

In order to ensure availability for the first day of classes, please submit completed reserve requests to library staff by the following dates:

  • Spring semester: December 1
  • Summer semester: May 1
  • Fall semester: August 1

Reserve requests submitted after those dates and/or missing basic information will be processed as soon as possible but may require extra time.
Please allow at least two weeks for requests submitted during the first three weeks of a semester and three to five days for requests submitted after that point.

Requesting Materials for Reserves

Processing time for requests submitted on or before the above deadlines is usually takes 5-10 days, depending on the length of your reserve list.  Your requests will be processed in the order they are received.

You may submit your reserve requests by

  • bringing your books/scores directly to the circulation desk with a note indicating the instructor and course number, or
  • submitting your list to Syllabi will not be accepted. Please include the following information in your request:
    Please include
    1. instructor
    2. course number
    3. items needed for reserve (be sure to include author, title, and call number). If possible, please include the link to the IUCAT bibliographic record. 

Whom to contact about reserves questions

Richard Marshall is the Reserves Coordinator. Please contact him if you have questions or special requests.

Misti Shaw, Head of Music Library Public Services, is also available to help you with questions and concerns about reserves. mistshaw @

Reserves Circulation

Items placed on reserve are set to a 2-hour checkout period by default, and can be taken outside of the library during those 2 hours. If there items you would prefer remain in-library use only, please let us know and we will accommodate your preference.

Personal Reserves

If you have personal materials that you wish to place on reserve for your students, they will be shelved in the reserves section behind the circulation desk. Circulation of these materials will be within the library only, unless you tell us you would prefer otherwise. Please provide the following information when submitting personal reserves items. Remember that your students will have to request these materials from library workers, so it is helpful if we have the same information you give your students.

  • Instructor
  • Course number
  • Author/composer
  • Title

Personal reserves do not automatically carry over for a new semester; you must tell us each semester if you want to continue putting your personal items on reserve. Please contact the reserves coordinator to update your course information if you wish to keep closed reserve items available for additional semesters. 

* At the close of each semester, personal items will be removed from personal reserves and placed on a temporary storage shelf.

Please collect these items at the end of each semester. You can contact the reserves coordinator to schedule a time to retrieve your items.

Sound Recordings

Sound recordings from the Music Library's collection will be digitized by library staff and made available online via Media Collections Online (which replaced VARIATIONS and can be accessed here: : If you would like audio materials made available for your classes, please provide the following information for each item requested.

  • Instructor:
  • Course Number:
  • Author/composer:
  • Title Of Work or Excerpt Needed For Reserve
  • Call Number:
  • Link to the IUCAT bibliographic record, if possible

In lieu of putting recordings on reserve, you can provide your students links to playlists you create in MCO. If you would like music library staff to help you create playlists in MCO, please let us know. You may also visit the Media Collections Online How-To Guide for Playlists.

Please keep in mind that due to system limitations, library staff are able to digitize only 10-12 hours of music daily. In order to ensure that your students have access to their listening materials when they need them, please:

  • Turn in your requests by the deadline for the upcoming semester.
  • Consult with the reserves coordinator to determine priorities and timelines for extensive reserve requests. We may not be able to finish the entire list, but we can begin with the items you need early in the semester.
  • Whenever possible, choose a recording that has already been digitized. The IUCAT display for previously digitized items will contain a URL pointing to a sound file:

    For help searching IUCAT for digitized recordings see: Locating and Listening to Sound Recordings Online

*Note: this guide was written with Variations in mind. For additional information on the transition from Variations to Media Collections Online please see this FAQ:

Recordings which are found in Media Collections Online (and/or Variations) will not be physically placed on reserve since most of the listening is done via the Media Collections Online streaming system.  If the physical recording is required to be placed on reserve,  please notify us accordingly.

In cases where the online selection has been digitized from an LP, reel-to-reel tapes, or an archival sound collection (Ehret, Ross Allen, IU performances, etc.) the online version will be the only one available.

If you choose to provide cassette or CD copies of listening examples, please arrange to have prepared and labeled copies delivered to the Music Library at least two weeks before your students need them. Please be aware that we can only digitize recordings that are owned by the Music Library, and all personal CDs will be placed on personal/closed reserve behind the circulation desk.

Video Recordings

Video recordings from the Music Library's general collection may be placed on reserve for classes. These items will be shelved in the closed reserve area behind the circulation desk.  As with any videor ecording, these materials may only be used by students in the library.

If you would like video recordings placed on reserve, please provide the following information for each item requested.

  • Instructor:
  • Course Number:
  • Author/composer:
  • Title:
  • Call Number:
  • Link to the IUCAT bibliographic record, if possible

Non-reserve Access to Media Collections Online (formerly Variations)

In addition to the reserve options listed above, it is possible to obtain access for your students to the entirety of Variations without submitting reserve lists.  To designate your course as needing access, please email the following information to the reserves coordinator at

  • Course Number
  • Section Number
  • Course Title

This information will be entered into the system, providing access to authorized Media Collections Online materials from campus or from home for the duration of the semester.

Further information regarding Media Collections Online may be found here: