Textbook Support Services

The University of Michigan Library provides a number of services which support or enhance student access to many of the course materials that are required or recommended for course use on the Ann Arbor campus. Some instructors provide citation information about required textbooks for specific courses, available for viewing in Wolverine Access Student Class Schedule.

Information for Students

Search the Catalog

Search Mirlyn, the library catalog, to determine if the Library has a specific textbook (by title, author, or ISBN). In some instances we may have multiple editions of course-related books available for checkout.

The Library has thousands of books available in an online format, across all disciplines. While the best strategy for finding specific online books is to search Mirlyn, many digital collections we provide offer a feature to browse by subject areas as well. Some selected examples of these digital collections include:

  • AccessMedicine - clinical and educational content from leading medical books
  • Project Muse - thousands of peer-reviewed digital books in the humanities and social sciences, from major university presses and scholarly publishers
  • Springer English/International eBook Collection - over 100,000 books in many subject areas and languages. While books can be viewed and printed in PDF at no charge, personal copies of over 20,000 titles can be purchased at a modest cost

For Ann Arbor engineering courses, you can view our current list of required and supplemental engineering textbooks, which is updated on a regular basis.

Use Course Reserves

While the Library does not systematically buy print textbooks(1), some instructors make required course materials in various formats available via the Library’s course reserve service. These items can be checked out for a short period of time, to allow all class members access to the required content. 

Seek Out Alternative Sources

In cases where the Library does not have the required textbook for a particular course, borrowing a print book from another library via our Document Delivery services may be possible. For example, with the UBorrow service, students can search and request books from 15 major research libraries, and then can borrow the print item for a period of twelve weeks. Please plan ahead as borrowing from another library is not a reliable method to obtain a textbook for an entire semester; a required textbook at one university is likely a required textbook at another university and therefore in high demand. 

The Library does not endorse one particular source for required course materials, but students may want to look at local bookstores for used books, as well as Booksprice.com, Amazon, Chegg, or ebay.

Information for Instructors

Library staff can help instructors locate course materials already within the Library collections, and can help make print materials available to students for short checkout periods via course reserve services. (Instructors may place a course reserve purchase request for specific print titles.) 

Librarians can help instructors identify titles for purchase for a course, so that correct information may appear in Wolverine Access for students’ consultation, as well as help in facilitating a purchase for the Library collections, including multi-user online books. Librarians can also consult on making links to online books available within the Canvas course environment. 

Alternatively, instructors might review free and open resources from third-party providers, such as the Open Textbook Library and OpenStax, in order to identify affordable course-related materials for students. And, Michigan Publishing staff members can assist faculty in making their own teaching materials available in print at an affordable cost. 

Questions about finding textbooks? Please Ask a Librarian.


(1) There are many reasons why the Library may not own a textbook, chiefly, new editions of textbooks are frequently published, and each edition can be an expensive purchase. Additionally, online versions of textbooks are frequently not available for libraries to purchase (i.e. only individuals may purchase).

Page maintained by Matthew P Carruthers
Last modified: 12/12/2017