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Library Policies

  • Acquisition Policy
  • Copyright Policy
  • Circulation Policies
  • Interlibrary Loan Policy

This page includes information relative to the selection of materials for the Margaret Estes Library and Learning Resource Center.

Faculty, in conjunction with the Library Director, have the primary responsibility of selecting materials. Any person, however, can request the purchase of an item for the Library.

Selection priorities are as follows:

  1. Faculty requests for classes
  2. Collection development as determined by the Library staff
  3. Curriculum-related needs identified both by patrons and Library staff
  4. Other needs that are identified

Requests for purchase should be submitted to the Library secretary, via campus mail, e-mail, or fax. The request should include:

  • Full name of person making the request, including phone number and email address.
  • All available bibliographic information. This can be items from a bibliography, a circled review, circled items from a catalog, a handwritten citation, a print-out from an online reference such as FirstSearch, etc.
  • The reason for purchase should also be included.

The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Photocopies or other reproductions can be furnished only under certain conditions if they will be used solely for private study, scholarship or research. Use of the reproduction for other purposes may make the user liable for copyright infringement.

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a request for documents, copies, or other information if, in its judgement, fulfillment of the order would involve or facilitate violation of copyright law.


There is a lot of misunderstanding about copyright and fair use of materials for classroom instruction. "Fair use" refers to situations in which educators of non-profit educational institutions may use copyrighted works without seeking permission or making payment to the author or publisher.

Following are some guidelines to help you choose what to put in the Reserve Room, and in what form. In the 1976 Copyright Act, Congress provided criteria for use of copyrighted material in a non-profit, educational setting.

  • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit educational purposes. (This portion is usually not an issue at an academic institution.)
  • The nature of the copyrighted work. In other words, was the work created for the purpose of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research. Generally, what is used in the classroom easily fits these criteria.
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. This criterion is a bit more complex because it may be fair use to copy all of a short poem, but fair use to copy only a small portion of a larger work. To use (copy) the "heart" or "creative essence" of a work may easily infringe on copyright. A good rule of thumb is "no more than is necessary."
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
  • Fair Use is almost always a short excerpt and always attributed (that is, the author, title, date of publication, and publisher appear on the copy). If making the copy means that the students no longer need to purchase the work, then it is not Fair Use, and why copying the whole work is generally forbidden.


  1. Either the instructor, a student worker, or the Library staff may make one legal copy of the copyrighted work to be placed on reserve.
  2. Only one legal copy may be placed on reserve in addition to the source material.


  • The following "fair use" guidelines must apply for making multiple copies for classroom use:
  • For an article, the limit is 2,500 words.
  • For a longer work of prose, the limit is 1,000 words, or 10% of the work, whichever is less.
  • For a poem, the limit is 250 words.
  • For a longer poem, an excerpt of no more than 250 words may be used.
  • No more than one chart, diagram, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.
  • The copying must be done at the initiative of the teacher (at the moment of inspiration).
  • The copying must be done at a time when it is unreasonable to get permission from the copyright owner.
  • Only one copy is made for each student.
  • No charge is made to the student except to recover only the cost of copying.
  • The copying is done for only one course.
  • The same item is not reproduced from term to term.
  • No more than...
    • one work is copied from a single author.
    • three authors are copied from a single collective work (such as an anthology).
    • nine instances of multiple copying occur during a single term or semester.
  • "Consumable works" shall not be copied, such as: workbooks or standardized tests.
  • The same item will not be reproduced from term to term.


Single copies of text meeting the criteria above for length and importance to the work may be posted on a course site for one semester. The guidelines are the same as for the Reserve Room material. The posting may not occur over multiple semesters and still be within the realm of Fair Use unless permission has been granted by the publisher and/or author (whichever is the copyright holder) in writing and is on file in the professor's office.


What is the public domain?
The term "public domain" describes the state of a work of authorship. When a work is "in the public domain", it belongs to the public as a whole; it is a work that is not protected by the bundle of exclusive rights of authors or owners under copyright law. Thus, the public may copy, distribute, adapt, perform, and display works in the public domain.

When does copyrightable work enter the public domain?
A work is either in the public domain or it is not. It is, however, sometimes difficult to tell whether or not a work is in the public domain. The rules for determining whether a protected work is in the public domain are set out in chart form by Lolly Gasaway. These rules are complex and somewhat hard to describe, partly because they have changed many, many times during the 20th century. The general rules (excluding anonymous works and works for hire) can be summarized as follows:

  • Any work published on or before December 31, 1922 is now in the public domain.
  • Works published between January 1, 1923 and December 31, 1978, inclusive, are protected for a term of 95 years from the date of publication, with the proper notice. But, if the work was published between 1923 and December 31, 1963, when there used to be a (non-automatic) "renewal term", the copyright owner may not have renewed the work. If he or she did not renew, the original term of protection (28 years) would now be expired, and these works will be in the public domain.
  • After 1978, the way we measure the term of protection changes. It is no longer related to a date of publication, but rather runs for 70 years from the date the author dies (called "life of the author" plus 70 years). Further, publication is irrelevant. Works are protected whether they are published or not.
  • Finally, those works that were created before December 31, 1978, but never published, are now protected for the life of the author plus 70 years, or until December 31, 2002.

Some works are in the public domain because they were never copyrightable:

  • Works that lack originality
    • logical, comprehensive compilations (like the phone book)
    • unoriginal reprints of public domain works
  • U.S. Government works
  • Facts
  • Ideas, processes, methods, and systems described in copyrighted works

Remember that just because a work is in the public domain, does not mean that the public can assert authorship of the work. Although King Lear is in the public domain, William Shakespeare will always be the author of that work.


For research purposes, a teacher may select books, magazine or journal articles, or other documents to be placed in the Library's Reserve Room, which functions as an extension of the classroom. (Felknor, Harper).

Students may borrow these materials and make single copies on machines that are plainly marked with notices citing protection of the works under the Copyright Act. The students, as users of self-service photocopiers, are accountable for any copyright violations. (Syracuse University)

Look at the number of students, the time they have to read the assignment on Reserve, and the number of books that can be placed there. Reserve check-out duration can be as little as 2 hours. For example, for a class of 20 students, reading a chapter or 30 pages out of a book, with a week to fulfill the assignment, one book on 2-hour reserve will make the material accessible and available for all the students in the class.


Association of Research Libraries: http://www.arl.org/

CONTU (National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyright Works) for Interlibrary Loan

Copyright Advisory Network: http://www.librarycopyright.net/

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Library of Congress summary on Fair Use

Harper, Georgia. Copyright in the Library/ Fair Use: Reserve Room Operations, Print Copies. UT System, Texas. http://copyright.lib.utexas.edu/l-respri.htm

Lehman, Bruce A. (September, 1998). Report to the Commissioner on the Conclusion of the Conference on Fair Use (CONFU).

O'Mahoney, B.(1995-1997). The Copyright Website. http://www.benedict.com

The International Publishers Copyright Council -- bi-annual symposia to address specific copyright issues. IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) also participates in these symposia and maintains a website on Information Policy: Copyright and Intellectual Property.

University of Texas Crash Course in Copyright: http://copyright.lib.utexas.edu/

The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Photocopies or other reproductions can be furnished only under certain conditions if they will be used solely for private study, scholarship or research. Use of the reproduction for other purposes may make the user liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a request for copies, documents, or other information if, in its judgement, fulfillment of the order would involve or facilitate violation of copyright law.

Material Students Faculty Consortium
Books 3 Weeks Semester 3 Weeks
DVDs, video cassettes 1 Week Semester 1 Week
Reserve Materials As Indicated Semester No
Periodicals Overnight 1 Week No

Reference Books may be checked out by faculty for one day only.


  • Copier: $0.10 per copy
  • Copy Card: $1.00 each (makes 10 copies)
  • Printer: $0.05 per page
  • Overdue Books: $0.10 per day
  • Overdue Magazines/Reserves: $0.50 per day
  • Overdue ILL Materials: $0.50 per day
  • Lost Book: Cost of book PLUS $10.00 processing fee

Grades and transcripts will be held until fines are paid. 

InterLibrary Loan (ILL) allows participating libraries to borrow materials for individuals. ILL is an expensive process to both the lending and borrowing libraries, primarily through staff time, materials and online fees. Therefore, patrons are requested to be judicious in the use of this service and to adhere to the following policies:

  • Eligibility Criteria
    • Current LeTourneau faculty, staff and students may request items through ILL.
  • Current Resources First
  • Return ILL Materials Promptly
    • Overdue ILL items jeopardize our reputation with other libraries. Prolonged overdue status may result in the permanent loss of ILL privileges.
  • Pay All Lost Item Fees
    • The patron assumes complete responsibility for replacement fees of ILL items which are lost or damaged while on loan to the patron.
  • Provide Current Contact Information
    • LeTourneau ID number, LETU email address, permanent physical address, and phone number are required.
  • Provide Accurate Citations
    • Errors and incomplete citations may prevent the request from being processed.
  • Request Appropriate Materials
    • Textbooks: class textbooks cannot be ordered through ILL.
    • Multiple Requests: each patron may borrow a specific book one time per semester.
  • Provide Accurate Need-By Date
    • The need-by date is the latest date of which the item will be of use to the patron. Requesting an item with an earlier need-by date will not speed the response time and may hinder the process.
  • Avoid Last-Minute Requests
    • InterLibrary Loan takes time, often up to two weeks or longer. Place your requests as early as possible to avoid frustration.
  • Avoid Excessive Requests
    • Frequent, excessive and non-essential requests will be canceled.