Michigan State University Libraries
Michigan State University Libraries Main Building.JPG
The main building of MSUL
LocationEast Lansing, Michigan, United States
Size7,261,157 volumes
7,800,120 titles
(2015-16 data)[1]
Other information
DirectorJoseph Salem

Michigan State University Libraries (MSU Libraries) is the academic library system of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. The library system comprises nine branch locations including the Main Library. As of 2015-16, the MSU Libraries ranked 26th among U.S. and Canadian research libraries by number of volumes (7,261,157 volumes) and 11th among U.S. and Canadian research libraries by number of titles held (7,800,120 titles).[1]

The Africana Collection is one of the largest of its kind in the nation with a collection of over 200,000 items.[2] Other significant collections include the G. Robert Vincent Voice Library, the largest academic voice library in the nation, containing a collection of over 40,000 hours of spoken word recordings and includes the voices of over 100,000 persons from all walks of life,[3] and the Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collections which includes the extensive Comic Art Collection.[4] This collection includes over 100,000 comic books, and 10,000 related books and periodicals. The Turfgrass Information Center is recognized as the most extensive public collection of turfgrass educational material in existence.[5]

Main Library branch collections

The Branch Libraries are subject collections located in the Main Library as well as in branch libraries located in other buildings on and off campus. Each of the branch libraries have their own subject specialization.[6]

Inside of MSU's Main Library Branch
Inside of MSU's Main Library Branch

Branch Libraries located inside the main library building include:

  • Digital & Multimedia Center
  • Music
  • Art
  • Government Documents
  • Maps
  • Special Collections
  • Turfgrass Information Center
  • The Vincent Voice Library


The Africana Collection of the MSU Library has become one of the largest in the United States, having been built up since 1960 to support the broad faculty involvement in different projects on the continent, including research and development.[2] In the last few years the MSU program about Africa has been consistently rated among the top one or two programs in the country, both the number of faculty involved and the number of doctoral dissertations produced. The Library has 2 full-time professional Africana librarians, both of them holding doctorates in African Studies, who provide reference assistance to a wide range of faculty and students at MSU and elsewhere. The librarians are also very involved in national cooperative projects.[2]

The Library collection is roughly 270,000 books, pamphlets, maps and microform units covering all disciplines there is an emphasis on the socio-economic development and history of sub-Saharan Africa, with special emphases (reflecting faculty interests) on Ethiopia/Eritrea, Zimbabwe, South Africa, the Sahel region of West Africa, and Nigeria (especially the Eastern Region). Library materials come from all African countries (less so for North Africa) are collected at a high level and from all historical periods.

In 1999 it launched the open access icon of an open green padlock African e-Journals Project (OCLC 216849920).

Cesar Chavez Collection

The Cesar E. Chavez Collection is an interdisciplinary browsing collection consisting of titles in a variety of formats, research levels and locations on Chicano and Boricua Studies. Chavez Collection materials in other locations require the storage, access/viewing facilities and services not available in an open shelves collection. The main part of this collection is located on the first floor, west wing lobby of the Main Library. This browsing collection is reinforced throughout the Libraries system by other titles in the main stacks collection and various branch collections.[7]

The collection is representative of Chavez's life. It reflects his commitment to unions and labor, non-violence, truth, respect and an appreciation of diversity, education and his cultura. Chavez was a frequent visitor to the Lansing area, and as such, the collection also reflects the Midwest presence of migrant farmworkers.[7]

Digital & Multimedia Center

Computer cubicles inside the Digital and Multimedia Center
Computer cubicles inside the Digital and Multimedia Center

The Digital and Multimedia Center is the MSU Library's internal digitization facility and media center. In addition to offering online collections, representing many books and journals digitized by DMC, a set of over 10,000 multimedia items are held and are available for check out. These include theatrical movies and instructional software packages. DMC also assists in obtaining permissions from copyright holders for MSU faculty who need to use protected materials in courses and academic projects.[8]

Fine Arts

The Fine Arts Library is located in the west wing of the Main Library on the fourth floor. It houses the collections for:

The Fine Arts Library.
The Fine Arts Library.

Government Documents

The Government Documents Library is the Main Library location for publications of the United States government, the Canadian government, the State of Michigan, the United Nations and many other international intergovernmental organizations. It contains over 3 million documents in paper, microformat, and electronic formats. A significant portion of the collection is presently uncataloged and, therefore, does not appear in the Libraries' catalog.[9]

U.S. Government documents

The library has been a Federal Government Depository Library since 1907 and currently receives approximately 80 percent of the publications made available to depository libraries. An extensive range and variety of subjects are covered in the U.S. documents collection. It is particularly strong in the areas of agriculture, demography and population, education, environmental sciences, international relations, labor, and law. The collection is arranged by Superintendent of Documents call number which organizes publications by issuing agency rather than by subject.[10]

There are over 7,000 serial titles, many of which are complete from early dates, including Foreign Relations of the United States from 1861, Geological Survey Professional Papers from 1896, U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Papers from 1902, and the Bulletin of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics from 1913.[10]

Canadian documents

In 1967, the library became a selective depository of Canadian federal documents to support the Canadian-American Studies Program. The library selects a general range of publications from science to foreign policy and labor relations. It is particularly strong in agriculture, demography and population, fisheries and wildlife, forestry, and history. The collection includes Canadian censuses, statutes, and proceedings and reports of the Canadian Parliament.[10]

Michigan documents

Stacks located in the Basement of Michigan State's Library
Stacks located in the Basement of Michigan State's Library

In 2007 the Library ended its status as a permanent Depository for official publications of the State of Michigan. All of the materials received including the House and Senate Journals, reports on a variety of subjects, statistical reports and annual reports of various state agencies are maintained in the Government Documents Library.[10]

United Nations documents and publications

The collection includes documents and publications issued by the main United Nations organs since 1946. It also includes materials issued by various UN programs and bodies including, but not limited to, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the UN Development Programme, UNICEF, UNRISD, UN University, and the UN Environment Programme.[10]

The collection also contains publications issued by most of the UN specialized agencies and autonomous organizations. These include the Food and Agriculture Organization, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization, International Fund for Agricultural Development, International Monetary Fund, International Telecommunication Union, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, World Bank Group, and the World Intellectual Property Organization. Materials issued by several UN specialized agencies (International Atomic Energy Agency, International Labour Organization, World Health Organization) are housed in the main stacks.[10]

Other international intergovernmental organizations

The Government Documents Library also collects materials issued by other international intergovernmental organizations including, but not limited to, the European Union, Asian Development Bank, Organization of American States, Council of Europe, NATO, Association of South East Asian Nations, Western European Union, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.[10]

Map Library

Inside the Map Library
Inside the Map Library

The Map Library houses a collection of general and thematic maps and atlases for most areas of the world. The collection consists of approximately 200,000 sheet maps and 4,000 atlases, gazetteers and other reference aids including wall maps, globes, CDs and Internet-accessible resources. The collection is especially strong in Michigan topics, United States, Canada, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, though all areas are collected at some level.[11]

The Brunnschweiler Geography Library Endowment Fund was established in 1993 by Dr. Tamara Brunnschweiler for the acquisition and preservation of geography materials. Purchases from this fund are often old and rare maps and atlases relating to the MSU Libraries' mission.[11]

Rovi Media Collection

In 2015 the Rovi Corporation of California donated more than 850,000 movies, CDs and video games to the MSU Libraries, this collection is now the largest media collection in the United States. The archive consists of CDs that have been commercially available in the United States since the early 1990s and includes some releases imported from Europe. The DVD collection, which was started the year DVDs were introduced, similarly represents the vast majority of commercially released DVDs in the United States. The games archive focuses primarily on console games and PC from 1993 to 2014 and includes a few titles dating back to the early '80s. Material from the collection is available to the MSU community through the MSU Libraries catalog and to Michigan residents through MeLCat, the Michigan e-library catalog.

Turfgrass Information Center

The Turfgrass Information Center (TIC), a specialized unit at the Michigan State University Libraries (MSU), contains the most comprehensive publicly available collection of turfgrass educational materials in the world. TIC has over 250,000 records in its primary database, the Turfgrass Information File (TGIF).[12]

In the 1960s, the Michigan State University (MSU) Library began to collect printed turfgrass materials. In 1968, the personal collection of the late O.J. Noer, pioneer turf agronomist, was added to the library holdings through the O.J. Noer Foundation. Later gifts have included the Noer/Milorganite® Image Collection (on indefinite loan), the Scotts Company Archive, and most significantly, the James B Beard Turfgrass Library Collection. Today, the combined collection is recognized as the most extensive public collection of turfgrass material in existence.[12]

Between 1983 and 1992, the United States Golf Association (USGA) Turfgrass Research Program supported the development of the USGA Turfgrass Information File (TGIF). Using the Noer Collection as a foundation, TGIF was designed to systematically inventory published turf research and make the bibliographic information available via a computerized database. The TGIF database is accessible online through the Web. With over 250,000 searchable items using over 300,000 keywords, these resources cover the full scope of the turfgrass industry.[12]

This database monitors over 1,000 journals and magazines, research reports, and conference proceedings. In addition, the database includes records for extension bulletins, books and book chapters, technical reports, theses and dissertations, web documents, published Q & As, scanned golf course plans, and video interviews.[12]

Vincent Voice Library Collection

The G. Robert Vincent Voice Library is a collection of over 100,000 hours of spoken word recordings, dating back to 1888. The collection includes the voices of over 500,000 persons from all walks of life. Political and cultural leaders and minor players in the human drama are captured and catalogued to serve the research needs of a local, national and international user base. Clients include students and faculty of Michigan State University, other scholars and researchers, broadcasting networks, news agencies and film, video, and Web production companies.[13] It is the largest academic voice library in the United States and is part of the Michigan State University Libraries.[13]

The Special Collections

The Special Collections department of the MSU Libraries
The Special Collections department of the MSU Libraries

The Special Collections Department of the Michigan State University Libraries collects, houses, and preserves rare and unique materials within the MSU Libraries. The Special Collections was formally established in 1962 with the charge to house special materials, as well as to build, preserve, and make accessible important research collections for educational use. The materials cover a vast array of topics, but materials in Special Collections cannot be checked out, they can be used only in the Special Collections reading rooms. Today, the Special Collections holds over 450,000 printed works, numerous manuscript and archival collections, and an extensive collection of ephemera supporting research in popular culture, radicalism, comic art, and gender. Notable rare book collections include early veterinary medicine, eighteenth century British history and culture, modern American literature, cookery, and natural history. The Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection is one of the largest collections of its kind in the world while the Radicalism Collection features extensive holdings on a wide range of political, social, and economic viewpoints.[14] The oldest printed book in the MSU Libraries is held in Special Collections. Its title is Scriptores Rei Rusticae, and was printed in Venice in 1472, only a short time after the invention of the moveable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in Germany about 1455.[15]

Comic Art Collection

A Division or Branch of the Special Collections Department is The Comic Art Collection. The Comic Art Collection holds over 200,000 items. It is the largest library comic book collection in the world.[16] While the bulk of the collection is made up of American comic books, it also includes over 1,000 books of collected newspaper comic strips, nearly 15,000 comics from other countries, and several thousand books and periodicals about the subject. The major focus of the collection is on collecting published work, in its effort to give a complete view of the 20th century. Comics are currently the largest and fastest-growing special collection at the MSU Libraries.[17][18] Its coverage of comic strips was significantly enhanced with the donation in 2007 of the King Features proof sheet collection consisting of roughly one million sheets containing about two million individual strips (a duplicate set was donated to Ohio State University's Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum). In addition, the same year retired Professor Richard Webster of the University of Toledo donated his collection of one million comic strips collected from around the world during the 1960s.[19] The Comic Art Collection accepts unannounced donations. Materials not accepted into the collection are sent to another appropriate library or sold to support endowment funds for the Comic Art Collection.[20]

All contents of the collection are listed in the MSU Libraries' online catalog as well as in the international OCLC computer network. Microfiche copies of several hundred extremely rare superhero comic books from the early 1940s are also available in the Special Collections reading room.

Outside Main Library Building collections

These are included in the library catalog but physically located outside the Main Library. Branch Libraries located outside of the main library building include:[6]

  • William C. Gast Business Library
  • Gull Lake Library

Gull Lake Library

This MSU branch library, also known as the Gull Lake Library, is part of Michigan State University's W.K. Kellogg Biological Station. The Gull Lake Library contains over 1,200 volumes, many of which are bound journal volumes. Nearly 150 current serial titles are received. The collection supports the research interests of KBS faculty, staff, students and visiting scientists in aquatic and terrestrial ecology, evolution, behavior and agro-ecology. KBS is Michigan State University's largest off-campus education complex and one of North America's premier inland field stations.[21]

The first director of the station, Dr. Walter F. Morofsky, was an entomologist with MSU. Today the library has a strong historical entomology collection. Early Bird sanctuary research and teaching led to a good waterfowl collection. Once the year round research station was established in 1965, and the branch library was established, a strong research program in limnology was begun, which continues to this day. Currently, there are strong research programs in limnology, microbial ecology, plant ecology, agricultural ecology, fish ecology and vertebrate behavioral ecology.[22]

Business Library (William C. Gast)

The William C. Gast Business Library is located in Room 50 of the Law College Building across from the Eppley Center. It is the largest of the branches at MSU Libraries and has three business librarians, two support staff and twenty-five student employees The library provides seating for 450 and has wireless access as well as Internet connections at most tables, carrels and cubicles. There are group study rooms available, as well as cubicles for group use. Laser printing, including color, is available from the computers or laptops through e-token accounts. Room 22 serves as an instruction and computer lab with 28 seats. The branch is open 109 hours each week during the fall and spring semesters.[23]

Labor & Industrial Relations Library

The Labor and Industrial Relations (LIR), collection is located in the Business Library and is open to the public. It consists of a non-circulating LIR Reference Collection on site, with access to the rest of the University Libraries’ system. Established in 1957, it is jointly funded and administered by the School of Labor and Industrial Relations and the MSU Libraries

Areas of strength in the LIR Reference Collection include labor and employment law, and grievance arbitration. There are also several information reporters and loose-leaf services for LR/HR information.

Unique among its holdings is the Michigan Public Sector Agreement Collection. In 1972 the LIR Library was designated by the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) to be the repository for Michigan public sector agreements. The current agreements are in the LIR Library and superseded agreements are in the University Archives.[24]

See also


  1. ^ a b Shaneka Morris & Gary Roebuck, ARL Statistics, 2015-16, Association of Research Libraries (2018), pp. 46-47.
  2. ^ a b c The Africana Collection of the MSU Library Archived 2007-04-03 at the Wayback Machine Michigan State University Libraries Accessed: June 20, 2010
  3. ^ "G. Robert Vincent Voice Library". Michigan State University Libraries. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  4. ^ Comic Art Collection Archived 2010-02-12 at the Wayback Machine". Michigan State University Libraries. Accessed April 12, 2007.
  5. ^ Turfgrass Information Center". "Michigan State University Libraries". Accessed February 5, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Collections and Libraries Archived 2007-05-03 at the Wayback MachineMSU Libraries 02/21/07
  7. ^ a b Cesar Chavez Collection MSU Libraries Accessed: 6/20/2010
  8. ^ The Digital and Multimedia Center of Michigan State UniversityMSU Libraries Accessed: 4/18/2007
  9. ^ Collections and Government Documents Libraries of Michigan State University Archived 2010-02-12 at the Wayback Machine Accessed: 01/08/2010
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Government Documents Library Collections Archived 2010-02-12 at the Wayback MachineMSU Libraries Last updated: January 8, 2010
  11. ^ a b Map Library Kathleen Weessies, Maps/GIS Librarian of Michigan State University Last updated: January 8, 2010
  12. ^ a b c d Turfgrass Information Center of Michigan State University Accessed: 3/11/2011
  13. ^ a b G. Robert Vincent Voice Library, Michigan State University Libraries Accessed: 11/7/2015
  14. ^ F. A. Q. about Special Collections MSU Libraries Accessed: 4/18/2007
  15. ^ What is the oldest book in Special CollectionsMSU Libraries Accessed: 4/18/2007
  16. ^ The State News: Fortress of Comic-tude
  17. ^ Index to the Holdings of the Michigan State University Libraries Comic Art Collection Accessed: 4/18/2007
  18. ^ COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT POLICY STATEMENT Accessed: 4/18/2007 Subject: Comic Art Collection, Written by: Randy Scott, Draft date: September 18, 1998
  19. ^ Randy Scott. "The King Features Proof Sheet Collection." Insight. [Fall 2009?] p.3
  20. ^ "Comic Art Collection, Michigan State University Libraries: Information for Donors". comics.lib.msu.edu. Retrieved 2015-10-19.
  21. ^ Kellogg Biological Station Michigan State University Retrieved June 20, 2010
  22. ^ Gulla Lake Library Archived 2010-06-09 at the Wayback Machine MSU Libraries Accessed: 6/20/2010
  23. ^ William C. Gast Business Library Archived 2010-06-09 at the Wayback Machine MSU Libraries Accessed: 6/20/2010
  24. ^ Labor and Industrial Relations Library Archived 2010-06-09 at the Wayback Machine Accessed: 6/19/2010

Coordinates: 42°43′51.68″N 84°29′0.93″W / 42.7310222°N 84.4835917°W / 42.7310222; -84.4835917