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Faculty Information: Preparing Your Courses

Preparing Courses

Requesting New Materials

We encourage faculty to participate in the development of the collections by recommending the purchase of books and audio-visual materials.

While our primary responsibility is to support the curriculum and the College programs, the Libraries will also support faculty research when possible.

To request materials for the library:

New journal subscriptions must be approved by the academic department before the library can start a subscription. Due to increasing journal prices, in order to add a new journal, the department will need to drop subscription(s) of equivalent cost.  Contact your library liaison to get information on subscription costs and other information to support the journal request.


Placing items on Reserve

What we offer: 

Both Sawyer Library and Schow Science Library offer print reserves services. Reserves are commonly used to

  • provide supplemental readings
  • make an item available throughout an entire semester
  • provide a convenient locale for students to use required materials

What may be placed on print reserve:

  • books
  • video recordings
  • sound recordings
  • other physical library items 
  • personal copies (if the library does not own a copy) 

Set up and manage your course reserve: 

  • To manage your reserve lists,  login to the Course Reserve system
  • Requests must be submitted at least two week before the start of the semester 
  • During the term, requests must be submitted at least one week before material is needed 

For question about the library's Reserve services, please contact the Head of Access Services.

Streaming Services

We offer:

  • Digitization of library-owned films with access through GLOW (course management system)
  • Purchase of streaming rights from streaming distributors (e.g. Films for the Humanities)
  • Access to licensed streaming databases

Terms of library digitizing Services:  

  • Only for library-owned materials
  • Only for Course Reserve materials
  • Only when purchasing license does not prohibit streaming

How to request streaming:  

Start in the library catalog: search for the film by title

  1. If the library owns the film
    • Click "Request for Reserve/Streaming" to request the film to be digitized and streamed

  2. If the library does not own the film
    • Use the Suggest A Purchase form (we need to purchase a copy because we only stream library-owned materials)
    • ​Be sure to indicate that it is a priority 1 request and ask for the film to be placed on reserve
    • Answer yes to the streaming question
  3. If the library owns a digitized version (with a link in the library catalog), you may either
    • Link to  that film directly from your Glow course
    • Include it in your Course Reserve request and we will link it for you

For each request, the library will research streaming rights to determine whether we can legally provide a streamed version. If we can proceed with streaming, films will be made available through your Glow course and you will receive an email notification from the Access Services department.  

In the event that we are not legally able to provide a streamed version, we will place the DVD on Reserve for your course.

What's included in the streamed version:

  • When available, English subtitles will be streamed for foreign language films.  If you do not want subtitles included, check that option in the request form
  • Bonus features are not streamed unless you request it by contacting the Access Services - Reserve Assistant, after you submit your request.

Turn around time:  
Streaming requests are processed in the order in which they're received.  Investigation of streaming rights and digitization of the film may take anywhere from 1 day to 4 weeks, depending on the volume of requests.

Support / More Information: 

Organizing Film Screenings

Using library films, you may choose to organize a film screening either in the library or in any other classrooms on campus.  

Organizing library screenings:  

  1. The maximum capacity of our viewing rooms is 12 people.  
    If you need a larger room, we suggest using one of the three Registrar controlled classrooms in the Stetson Hall side of the building: the Mabie room (307), classroom 501, and classroom 508.  These classrooms must be reserved using Williams Room Scheduler (EMS)
  2. You need to reserve a library viewing room
    • Viewing rooms can only be reserved in Sawyer Library 
    • To reserve: email the Access Services - Reserve Assistant or call the Circulation Desk at 597-2501
    • Rooms are reserved on a first come, first served basis
    • Only faculty may reserve viewing rooms 
    • Viewing Rooms are equipped with a 47 inch LED flat screen television, Blu-Ray player (which plays DVDs), a VCR, an international VCR, and a laser disc player
  3. Films used for a viewing will be placed on reserve. 
    This ensures that the films are available for the date/time of the screening. Only faculty can reserve rooms, however, anyone may pick up and return the film for the viewing at the Circulation Desk

Organizing screenings outside of the library

  1. You must reserve a room, using the Williams Room Scheduler (EMS).  
  2. To ensure that the film is available on the date/time of the screening, please notify either the Reserve Assistant or the Circulation Desk (597-2501) so that we may ensure that the film is ready for pick up at the time of the showing.

Securing Public Performance Rights 

Showing a film to a group outside of your courses may require obtaining public performance rights. It is up to you to determine what you need to do to comply with copyright law. For more information see: Public Performance Rights Guidelines

Scheduling Library Instruction

Williams College does not have a required course where students learn basic research skills. Thus, library instruction liaisons and Special Collections librarians work with faculty to integrate research skills into their courses. As you prepare your syllabi, please consider the following library instruction services:

Library Research Sessions and Research Assignment Ideas

We can work with you to plan a library research session for your course. Our library research sessions feature a variety of active learning activities and hands-on practice that introduce students to doing research. We can cover topics such as:

  • formulating a research question
  • searching strategically
  • examining search engine bias
  • evaluating news and web sources
  • managing information using EndNote
  • creating annotated bibliographies
  • writing a literature review
    and more! 

It is best if the concepts learned in the library session can be applied to an assignment in your course. If you do not have such an assignment, see our Creating Information Literacy Assignments page or ask your library liaison for ideas.

Research Appointments

We are also available to meet with students individually or in small groups.  If you would like to require students to schedule a research appointment instead of having a library research session, please check with your liaison to make sure this approach is feasible given your class size.

Course Research Guides and "How to" Guides

Upon request, we can create a course research guide introducing research strategies and library and information resources in the topic area(s) of your course. Research guides can be general for larger research papers or more specific for smaller assignments that require use of sources outside of class readings.

We also offer a variety of "how to" guides covering research tasks that cross disciplines such as citing sources and finding book reviews, newspapers articles, film reviews and criticism, images, and more. Please feel free to include links to any of these guides in your syllabi or Glow course.

Class Visits

If you don't have time for a full class session, we could briefly visit your class to pass out librarian trading cards, point students to a course or how to guide, and encourage students to set up research appointments if they need individual help.

If you are interested in any of these instructional services, please contact your library instruction liaison or Special Collections to discuss your course and what you would like your students to learn about doing research. 

Working with Special Collections

What is Special Collections? 

The Special Collections department comprises Chapin Library and College Archives. It provides access to rare and unique materials. 

Chapin Library collects rare books, manuscripts, and other primary source materials, both ancient and modern, in support of the Williams curriculum.

 The College Archives is concerned with the history of Williams, and administers other special collections and books from the earliest libraries of the College.

How to work with materials in Special Collections

  • You may discover many resources through the library catalog. Consult a Special Collections librarian to learn about the complete scope of the collection, including uncataloged materials.   
  • Some materials have been digitized and are available through UNBOUND, the college's institutional repository
  • Materials do not circulate, but are available for use in the reading room (Sawyer, room 441)
  • Reading room hours

Including Special Collections materials in your courses

Special Collections librarians are available to work with you and your students.  They offer:   

  • Class presentations and instruction sessions tailored to faculty needs
  • Instruction on research methods using rare books and archives
  • Short-term collaborative exhibitions related to coursework in the Instruction Gallery
  • Talks about Special Collections displays, including the Founding Documents of the United States
  • Research appointments 

Faculty are invited to suggest special collections acquisitions in support of courses or research interests.

Presentations and instruction sessions are offered in these spaces: 

  • Special Collections Instruction Room (Sawyer Room 452), seating 24
  • Seminar Room, seating 8
  • Galleries

Archiving your Syllabi

College Archives archives course syllabi for several purposes:

  • as a reference copy for students in your course
  • as a reference copy for students exploring which courses to take
  • as proof of the content of a course for students going to graduate school
  • as a historical record of courses provided at Williams College​

We archive syllabi in electronic form only. Please e-mail your syllabi as attachments to

For further information about collections and services or to schedule an appointment contact a Special Collections librarian


GLOW and library resources

The library works closely with the Office of Information Technology to integrate library content (articles, book chapters, streaming media) and services (Research Guides, Ask A Librarian service) into your GLOW courses. To that end we offer: 

  • Scanning services to enable you to integrate library-owned books and journal articles in Glow 
  • Streaming Services to make library films available through Glow
  • Integration of Research Guides, highlighting resources and search strategies and created by librarians for your course 

For assistance with library resources, contact your library liaison 

For assistance with uploading content into Glow, contact your ITech liaison

Scanning Services


  • Free photocopying is available to faculty and their designated proxies, by using the copier by-pass keys (available at the Circulation Desk in Sawyer and Services Desk in Schow). Locations of photocopiers:
    • Sawyer - Level 3 Printing/Photocopying Room (321)
    • Sawyer - Level 1 Printing/Photocopying Room (121)
  • Document senders (scanners with email delivery) are available in Sawyer and Schow and enable easy creation of PDFs

Library Service

Faculty may request scans of library materials. 

  • We will scan journal articles or book chapters/sections
  • Limit to one copy of each article or book chapter (due to copyright restrictions)
  • Multiple chapters of a book will be copied only after obtaining permission
  • Scans will be delivered via your interlibrary loan account within 24 hours Monday-Friday (no service on weekends; Friday requests are delivered on Monday afternoon.

To request scans: submit requests through the interlibrary loan system

Advising Theses Students

All honors theses written by Williams undergraduates are treated as holdings of the Williams College Libraries.  Faculty advising student honors theses should review the College's theses guidelines and share this information with their students. Faculty should be aware of guidelines and procedures, including format and title page guidelines, student/faculty release requirements, and deposit deadlines.  

Students submit their thesis electronically as a pdf using our form. The faculty advisor will be asked via email to approve the student's selections regarding access to the thesis.

Theses without access restrictions are available in Unbound: Williams Online Collections.

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