Michigan State University

Visiting Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections

Reading Room Privileges & Rules

MSU Special Collections exists to preserve the heritage of the past and acquire important records of contemporary culture while making these materials available for use. The following rules are not devised to impede the use of materials, but rather to guarantee their preservation and orderly administration. We ask our readers to share our concern to conserve these resources by observing our regulations governing their use.


Special Collections materials may be used by Michigan State University faculty, staff, and students, and by other qualified persons. Appropriate identification (MSU I. D. or driver’s license) may be requested.

Special Collections stack areas are closed to the public. A request form must be presented to the staff person on duty who will retrieve the materials for use.

Material may be used in the reading room only and should be returned to the reading room desk when finished.

General Guidelines

  • Only materials needed for note-taking may be taken to the reading tables. Coats, briefcases, backpacks, and other paraphernalia are to be left in space provided.
  • Only pencil or laptop computers may be used at the reading tables for note-taking.
  • Cell phone use is not permitted in the reading room.
  • Food and beverages are not permitted in the reading room.

Handling of Materials

Materials are to be handled carefully:

  • Notebooks should not be placed on top of materials.
  • Care should be taken not to lean on the materials.
  • Tracing or notes of any kind are not to be made by placing paper on top of materials.
  • Pages should be turned gently.


Special Collections provides the following services. If you have further questions, please contact the Special Collections reading room during our normal hours.

InterLibrary Loan

While materials in Special Collections are noncirculating on InterLibrary Loan, it may be possible to obtain some items as photocopies or scanned file attachments. We reserve the right to decline a request based upon the material's condition and/or the copyright laws. Individuals are advised to contact a local public or research library and its interloan program. Information about MSU's InterLibrary Loan unit can be found at InterLibrary Services (Document Delivery).

Copying Services and Privileges

To assist patrons in their research, Special Collections offers limited on and off-site copying and digital photographic services. We reserve the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in our judgement, fulfillment of the order would violate copyright law, or damage the material. The sale of a reproduction does not imply an authorization to publish. It is the reader's responsibility to obtain permission to publish texts and facsimiles from the owners of the copyright.

  1. Photocopy services are provided for patrons visiting Special Collections. Due to the fragile condition of the materials, photocopies are 20 cents per exposure and patrons are limited to 20 copies. Payment is by cash or check only. Requests made within 30 minutes before closing may be filled the following day.
  2. As a general rule, all photographic copying of manuscript material is prohibited.
  3. Digital cameras and personal scanners are permitted in the Special Collections reading room for patrons who wish to make copies for scholarly use. Patrons using this equipment must have the permission of a Special Collections staff member to ensure the safety of the material and adherence to copyright law.
  4. On-site scanning requests are filled by the MSU Library Copy Center. Digital images are in TIFF format and all scanning is 24 bit color depth at 300 dpi, or 400 dpi if requested. All files are saved to a CD. The cost is $1 per image and $1 for the CD. Normal turn around time is 24 hours, unless the request is large and/or complex. Pick up and payment of orders is at the Copy Center.
  5. Off-site scanning requests are referred to the MSU Library InterLibrary Services. Digital images are 400 dpi either in grey scale or color with format in either JPEG or TIFF. Ariel or Odyssey delivery is preferred, but images can be scanned to a drop box and the borrower provided access to the file. Regular ILL services fees cover cost of scanning; at this time there are no extra charges for ILS scanning services.
  6. Requests for microfilm and other duplication services should be directed to the head of Special Collections.

Directions and Housing

To find information on getting to the MSU Libraries, go to the MSU Libraries page on Address & Visiting. There is information on parking, link to a campus map, and floor plans for all the floors of the main building.

The following are links to information regarding lodging possibilities during your visit to MSU.   They are listed from lowest cost to highest.

  • Visiting scholars have several choices at MSU for lodging.
    • Owen Hall, a graduate dormitory which is about a 10-15 minute walk from the Main Library.  Contact Conference Services at (517) 353-9300 or deststconf@rhs.msu.edu for further information.
    • Live On, Residence Education Housing Services, provides information about additional possibilities for staying on campus
  • Kellogg Center, this is an on-campus hotel/conference center with in-house restaurants.  Walking time to the library would be again about 10-15 minutes.
  • MSU Recommended Local Hotels and Inns,  this is a list of nearby hotels and inns with prices and information about shuttle service.