The current political and economic instability in the region has caused a dramatic drop in enrollments in Slavic studies in the past decade. For the near future it appears that Russian language and literature teaching will continue the downward trend. At the same time, the opening of the societies and economies in these countries has also expanded the areas of interest: more study of the transition to democracy and the economic transformation is evident.
The area of Central Asian studies, conversely, has seen a tremendous growth in interest in the past few years among both faculty and students: some faculty members have done research in the region and a several dissertations are in process in various departments. At the current time, those interested in the region read only Russian and English, so the need to collect in the Central Asian vernacular languages is not strong at this time.
The Kuze endowment and collaborative collection development agreements both within Michigan and within the Midwest put the MSU Libraries in a position to develop a regionally dominant collection of materials from the Baltic countries of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Because there are few Baltic language programs in the country and Slavic collections tend to focus on the larger countries of Russia, Poland, and Ukraine, many libraries that collected Baltic materials when the countries were a part of the Soviet Union no longer do so due to budgetary restraints. MSU is currently one of the few libraries collecting materials in the vernacular for these countries in any significant way.
The need for collaborative collection development will intensify as budgets see few gains and inflation rises steadily. MSU Libraries no longer collects any materials from several countries because of these economic pressures. In addition, MSU's Library must join consortial agreements in order to be able to afford access to the more expensive Slavic databases and microfilm collections now available. In some cases, even consortial deals do not make these products affordable enough for the MSU Library Slavic budget. These challenges make a collection focused on curricular needs and a few selected areas of emphasis a necessity.
CRL is used as a resource for expensive microfilm sets and newspapers.
Jewish studies: covers English-language materials on the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, including memoirs. Slavic covers Holocaust studies in Russian, Polish and the Baltic languages. Studies that are primarily about the history of Jews in Eastern Europe are covered by Jewish studies, although if a work is about the Jews in the larger context of the political, social or economic history of a single country, Slavic will cover in English and the vernacular.
Religion: covers Eastern Orthodoxy in the context of its historical relationship to other religions and studies of doctrine and religious thought. Slavic covers the history and socio-economic relationship of the Church to the state and its people in the countries of Eastern Europe.
Art: purchases the majority of the books on Russian art in English; Eastern Europe to a lesser extent. Slavic purchases art books in the vernacular or multilingual editions.
Music: purchases scores of choral music from Eastern Europe in the vernacular, studies in English on Russian/Slavic musicians or composers.
Military science: covers studies of Russian/E. European military and history in English only.
Political science: covers works on communism and socialism in E. Europe, in English only.