Copying answer guides to use if ours go missing

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  • Hi,
    At our public library we just purchased test prep books for our state's 2nd-8th grade standardized tests. The answers come in separate "teacher's guides," which we also purchased. These are very skinny paper booklets and we are afraid they will get lost, stolen, or go missing. Yet without them, the larger test prep books are not very useful. Would it be legal to make photocopies of these teacher guides to use in case they go missing? We would just use them for a few weeks during the time it took to order and receive a new copy.

  • Unfortunately, you can't really copy things "just in case." You'd have to try to make a fair use argument, and if they're still available commercially I think you'd have a hard time with your justification.

    From Complete Copyright, p. 35:

    "Libraries should not copy materials 'just in case' those materials may be lost, stolen, or damaged. Back-up copies can be made for preservation and archival purposes under certain conditions..."

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