Michigan State University

Some areas of the Main Library are now open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday and 12pm to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. These areas include main-floor access to Circulation as well as our study and computing space on 1 East with access to MSU printing. As of Feb. 1st, we opened 1 West. Our total capacity at this time is 120 people. We also now have touchless lockers, where you may pick up materials. Outside of safety, our top priority is to provide access to all of our collections. We continue to offer virtual services. We also are paging materials and will continue to mail materials to faculty, staff, and students living off-campus. We encourage you to use our convenient distance services. Please see our Online and Distance Learning resource page for more information.

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What are primary sources?

Primary sources are materials which provide first-hand evidence of an event, a person's life, or a historical period.

Letters, diaries, and oral histories are common types. These documents are like a scientist's raw laboratory data. They have not been edited or interpreted by a historian.

Secondary sources provide interpretations. Magazine articles, textbooks, and film documentaries are common types. 

Secondary sources are likely to have quotations or sound bites from primary sources embedded in them. But, the overall product has been shaped to tell a certain story or prove a certain point.