Purpose or Scope of Collection
A. Curricular/Research/Programmatic Needs
With the establishment of the School of Packaging in 1952, Michigan State University became the first university in the world to institute packaging as a discipline; in 1996 the School was the first to offer a doctoral program in packaging. As the oldest and largest packaging educational institution in the world, The MSU School of Packaging is an internationally-recognized leader in packaging research; its faculty and graduates have made and continue to make significant contributions to every sector of the industry.
The packaging collection of the Michigan State University Libraries serves the instructional and research needs of faculty and students in the School of Packaging as well as those in other disciplines concerned with packaging and its environmental impacts.
The School of Packaging offers both undergraduate and graduate programs leading to Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The program is designed to prepare graduates for positions in purchasing, production, quality control, package development, research, sales, marketing, testing or technical service. Specialized study may be done in areas such as food, industrial, or medical and pharmaceutical packaging. Graduate programs focus on distribution packaging, the environmental impact and recycling of packaging materials, human factors in packaging, packaging systems development and optimization, barrier characteristics of packaging systems and materials, quality preservation and storage stability of packaged products, the mechanical properties of packaging materials, and product and/or package damage in the physical distribution environment.
B. History of the Collection/Existing Strengths and Emphases
The packaging collection in the Main Library dates back to the founding of the School in 1952; however, a portion of the collection was removed in September of 1963 when the Engineering Library was created. What remained behind appeared to be a rather haphazard assortment of materials; however, more purposeful collecting since 1993 has resulted in a revival of the Main Library's packaging collection, which is scattered throughout the building in a number of call number classifications, depending upon the packaging material (e.g., paperboard, plastics, glass, metal), packaged product (e.g., food, pharmaceuticals, electronics), or focus (package design), although HF and TS are the primary call number areas. Some materials are located in the Business Library (e.g., distribution packaging, warehousing, packaging law) or Engineering Library (polymer science). The School of Packaging Reading Room provides some additional support for the teaching and research needs of packaging graduate students and faculty and complements the Libraries' collections in this area.