Libraries and Course Reserves Guide

Northwestern University Library

While online students and faculty may not always be able to visit the physical Northwestern libraries, the full resources of the library system are still available to them. The Northwestern library website is a good place to start, but the sheer number of resources can be daunting. In this how-to guide, some services of special interest to SPS faculty and students are highlighted.

Schaffner Library

The Schaffner Library serves several Northwestern colleges, including the Kellogg School of Management and the School of Professional Studies. Its services and and programs are designed with adult and part-time students in mind.

Distance Learning Librarian

One of the best resources at Schaffner is Tracy Coyne, the Distance Learning Librarian. Tracy supports online faculty and students in a variety of ways, such as answering research questions, helping to locate sources, and assembling library guides for classes. Tracy did an interview with the SPS Distance Learning blog; check it out to learn more about what she does and how she can support online courses.


NUSearch is the Northwestern Library search system. It replaces NUcat, the library catalog, and offers a number of useful options for students and faculty including the ability to search the library’s holdings and to refine to specific types of material, such as books or articles. NUsearch includes the E-Shelf, which allows users to create a personal “bookshelf” of records for books, articles, and other materials. See this guide for more information on NUsearch and its features.


LibGuides are program-specific and class-specific guides to resources and key publications in numerous fields. Includes links to databases, journals, and librarian subject experts in each field. Distance Learning Librarian Tracy Coyne can help to assemble class-specific guides for online courses.


Northwestern University Library allows all faculty, on-ground and online, to reserve electronic versions of course materials through eReserve. Faculty can request book excerpts, journal articles, and other library materials through eReserve. Library staff will review the requests for availability and copyright compliance, then notify you when the reserves are ready to access. Items are requested through a tool in Blackboard and Canvas course sites. The University Library has detailed instructions on how to request items available. Per the Library’s guidelines, for eReserves in online courses, the requests need to be submitted at least three weeks prior to the date that students will need access. When submitting a request, provide full citations for each item, along with the date that it should be available to your students. The Library also has instructions on how to copy eReserve items from a previous term into a current version of the class. For further assistance, you can contact the Course Reserves department at or by calling 847-491-7681 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. CST.