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University of York Library
Library Subject Guides

Reading Lists: a Practical Guide


Icon depicting books on a shelfIntroduction to Reading Lists


Use the Reading Lists system to improve the student experience. Reading Lists allows students to have easy access to their course reading in a clear and consistent way.


What is Reading Lists?

Reading Lists is an online system that works within your VLE modules to create online reading lists for students.

Reading Lists are an important part of the student learning experience as it ensures consistent and equal access to reading materials for students. It is also the key way in which academic staff inform the Library about recommended reading for their modules.

Through Reading Lists, the Library works with academic staff to ensure that students can access the course reading they need.

How does the Library help staff use Reading Lists?

We can help in a number of ways:

  • If you have a brand new list or major changes to a reading list, we can do that work for you. You just need to send the list to us via the online submission form
  • We offer 1-2-1 and departmental training at any time of year so if you’d prefer to talk to someone face to face about reading lists, contact
  • We can provide guidance on selecting materials to include in your reading list
  • We maintain this online guide which contains lots of information on how to use the Reading Lists system so you can make changes to the lists yourself

What do students want from a reading list?

Whether you have inherited a list from a colleague or you are starting from scratch, reading lists are most helpful to students if they are:

  • Realistic: so that students have access to sufficient copies of items and appropriate loan periods, in digital form wherever possible
  • Accurate: so that students can find the correct resource, including correct editions
  • Prioritised: so that students understand what they are expected to read and the Library understands what it needs to provide
  • Clear: so that students understand which resources are relevant to which parts of the module
  • Up-to-date: so that students are working with your latest information
  • Timely: so that the Library has time to acquire and make available the required resources

Where can I access the Library's Reading Lists policy and guidelines?

Use the links below to access these documents:

Some suggested pointers for getting started using Reading Lists:

See what our students think about Reading Lists

It's connected to the library and I really like the essential/recommended tags” SBS

Easy format, clear distinction between essential and recommended reading” Politics

It's a perfect electronic source connected to the library - easy to check and easy to find the sources required. Really fantastic.” Law

It is easy to find a book that you need without having the trouble of struggling between different editions and so on.” History

It saves so much time!” SBS

Linking to the library catalogue is brilliant” Archaeology