Michigan State University

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will I need to make an appointment to use the reading room?

Yes, all patrons and students alike will need to make an appointment to access the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections as well as the University Archives and Historical Collections. Appointments can be made for any length of time during the open hours of the Reading Room. Multiple appointments can be arranged. We ask that all children are accompanied by an adult.

Will I need to present a photo ID to use the Reading Room?

Yes, Once per year, we will request ID to verify information in your patron account. The following forms of identification are acceptable:

  • Campus ID (MSU or other institution)
  • State-issued ID (identification card, driver’s license)
  • Military ID
  • Passport or passport card

Please note that the confidentiality of library records in the state of Michigan is protected by "The Library Privacy Act," Michigan Compiled Law (MCL 397.601-606, Act 455 of 1982). Federal law may supersede Michigan Law.

Will I be expected to socially distance and wear a mask during my appointment?

YES, Practicing good social distancing will be mandatory for the entire duration of your appointment. Wearing face coverings will also be required for all patrons as well as Special Collections staff and student employees. For more information about expectations for visitors while on campus, please see Michigan State University’s COVID-19 response plan (https://msu.edu/together-we-will/campus-visitors/).

What if I do not need my full appointment time?

You are welcome to use as much or as little of your appointment time as you need.

Can I bring someone with me into the Reading Room during my appointment?

Yes, you are welcome to bring a guest with you who will also be expected to register with Aeon. When making your appointment, please indicate that you have two persons who will be in attendance during your desired appointment. Your guest will be expected to sit at the same table as you and utilize the same materials. Your guest will also need to register in MSU Special Collections Registration & Request System

Can I request additional items for research during my visit?

No. Due to complications of scheduling logistics, you will not be able to request additional materials during your appointment. If you wish to view additional materials, another appointment will have to be made.

Will I need to wear gloves while accessing collections?

Generally, you will not be required to wear gloves to view Special Collections materials. Gloves can sometimes cause damage to fragile items. As always, we will require that you wash your hands before handling any materials and prefer this to hand sanitizer, which can leave behind a harmful residue. Staff will provide gloves in rare exceptions, such as when handling metals or photographic materials. Staff will quarantine materials before and after use in the reading room.

I am not comfortable accessing the MSU Libraries, yet I still have research needs. Can you help me?

Special Collections and University Archives staff are happy to assist you remotely in any way we can. Please email us at spc@msu.edu or archives@msu.edu to discuss your research needs, and we will do our best to accommodate you.

What can I bring with me?

While using Special Collections materials, you will only be able to enter the Reading Room space with a laptop, phone, camera, and pencil. You are able to store other personal belongings, such as coats, bags, etc., in our lobby and locker area. We recommend that you bring as little as possible to your visit.

Can I photograph materials?

Most materials can be photographed for personal use. Researchers may use their personal digital cameras/phones with the flash turned off to to photograph material they are working with. Tripods are not permitted. Personal or handheld scanners are not permitted.

Some archival materials are restricted and cannot be photographed. 

For permissions for publication, please contact us via email, spc@msu.edu or archives@msu.edu.

How do I request a scan of an item?

While working in the Reading Room, you can request a Material Reproduction form from the librarian at the desk. Please note that scanning requests may require a 6-8 week turnaround time.

Not on campus? Please reach out to your local library to request scans of the material(s) via InterLibrary Loan. Don’t have access to your local library? Please reach out to us via email,spc@msu.edu or archives@msu.edu.

Need more information? Please refer to the Reproduction and Request Copies page.

Class Instruction

For information related to classroom instruction using items from Special Collections, please consult our class instruction webpage, https://lib.msu.edu/spc/class-instruction/ or contact Ruth Ann Jones, Outreach & Instruction Librarian, jonesr@msu.edu.