Saturday, October 23, 2021

MSU's Main Library: What you need to know

September 8, 2021
<p>Outside the MSU Library on August 26th, 2021.</p>

Outside the MSU Library on August 26th, 2021.

Photo by Thomas Ruth | The State News

MSU’s Main Library is made up of four stories, a basement and over seven million volumes, holding a variety of resources that students can take advantage of during their time at MSU.

From spaces for tutoring in specific subjects to a room with virtual reality equipment, understanding and utilizing the library is extremely useful to any student at MSU.

Library Location and Layout

MSU’s main library is located at 366 W. Circle Drive, East Lansing, MI 48824. The building falls north of the Red Cedar River, just east of the W.J. Beal Botanical Garden.

The library is made up of an East Wing and a West Wing, which are only connected on the first floor and basement, and holds rows and rows of books, referred to as “stacks.”

Outreach Librarian Holly Flynn said the East Wing is reserved for quiet study only, while the West Wing allows for more conversation and collaboration.

On the second floor of the library is the Makerspace, described on the library’s website as “an alternative learning environment and gathering space that encourages cross-discipline collaboration, experimentation and learning.”

In the space students can find button makers, a soldering station, a cutting machine and a self-service 3D printer. Also on this floor is a gaming lab with a vast library of consoles and games, a virtual reality lab and a 360-degree immersive visualization space.

“Think of this small IMAX theater that goes all the way around," Flynn said.

On the third floor, students can receive tutoring sessions. This is also where the art library is located. The fourth floor houses the music library and the digital and multimedia center where students can study in groups and check out multimedia like DVDs.

The reference desk, which can help students find specific items to check out, is located on the first floor near the north entrance. 

Finding and Checking out Materials

Flynn said that students looking for specific materials should visit the site, type in the materials they are looking for and note the call number of the material. 

For example, by searching for Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden,” a student would be able to view the status of the book (available or checked out), the location of the book, and the book’s call number.

The student would then go to a librarian at the reference desk with the call number or try to find the book themselves using signs posted around the library.

Books can be checked out for six months at a time and students can check out as many books as they want at a time. Students will need to present their MSU ID in order to check out materials.


MSU Libraries features a 24/7 chat, email and phone service, Ask a Librarian, that students can use to get help using the library.

“A lot of times students who are writing a paper ... maybe it's the first paper they've written in college, and they're looking for resources, you're not sure how to search the library's website, you’re not sure about different kinds of information, we use it for that kind of thing,” Flynn said.

The library is also home to The Writing Center’s busiest satellite location, on the west side of the third floor, which offers one-on-one consulting for students looking to improve their writing.

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Flynn said that the economics and social sciences help rooms also meet in the library.


This semester, the MSU Main Library will be open 7:30 a.m. to midnight Sundays through Thursdays. On Fridays, the library will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. On  Saturdays, the hours are much shorter from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Students can view a comprehensive library schedule on the library site.


“We offer a lot of fun events, like films and finals week events,” Flynn said. “Most of our events and workshops will be both online and in-person this year.”

In the past, the library has screened movies, hosted panel discussions and brought in therapy dogs for students to interact with. Flynn said that they also host workshops on how to use the library.

On Sept. 9, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., the library will be hosting a library open house, which includes a scavenger hunt and a prize. A calendar of upcoming library events can be found here.

Flynn said the best way for students to get acclimated with the library and to find what they are looking for is to simply ask a librarian. 

“The library is really big, and nobody expects anyone to know how exactly it works right off the bat, so I think the most important thing would be to ask a librarian,” Flynn said. “You can go up to the reference desk, you can call us, you can email us, we have 24/7 chat, however you want to get help, we can help you.”

This article is a part of our Welcome Week print issue. The full issue can be viewed here.


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