Purpose or Scope of Collection
Curricular and Research Needs
The agriculture collection of the Michigan State University Main Library supports the curricular and research needs of the faculty, staff and students in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), AgBioResearch (formerly the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station) and MSU Extension. This policy impacts the following CANR departments: Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering (jointly with Engineering), Crop and Soil Sciences, Horticulture, Plant Pathology, and Landscape Architecture. In addition, the policy covers materials needed by the Institute of Agricultural Technology and, in part, the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory (jointly with Natural Science).
Crop and Soil Sciences and Horticulture offer a 2-year certificate program and the B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering and Plant Pathology offer B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Through the School of Planning, Design and Construction, Landscape Architecture offers B.S. and M.S. degrees.
Certificate programs are offered by the Institute of Agricultural Technology and the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Plant Breeding and Genetics.
History of the Collection/ Existing Strengths and Emphases
The Library received its charge on opening day of the Michigan Agricultural College, May 12, 1857, from President Joseph R. Williams: “An Agricultural Library should be gathered here, more perfect than any country now affords. All knowledge relative to the Agriculture of the past, and its history, its progress, and its condition in modern states, should be assessable to the students. The Library should embrace a wide range of sciences, law, literature, history, philosophy, medicine, etc. The library should, therefore, be a noble and comprehensive one.”
Records of the earliest Michigan Agricultural College Library acquisitions, gifts and librarians' reports were issued in the Annual Report of the Secretary of the State Board of Agriculture of the State of Michigan, for the year....; and provide insight into the early recognition of the need for a well-rounded and cutting-edge collection of research materials for students and professors alike. Funds for a library collection, initially "a few hundred dollars" mentioned in the First Annual Report (p. 8, 1862) have grown to a robust budget of today to insure the purchase of scholarly and secondary materials for the disciplines of practical agriculture, horticulture, natural science, entomology, botany, and farm economics.
The Library has been the recipient of copies of all State Agricultural Experiment Station publications and all possible publications from State Cooperative Extension Services and Agricultural Experiment Stations. In recent years this has been in flux with the decline in printed publications and new born-digital information. The Library has also received, over the last 150 years, similar publications from all of the American land grant universities, thus creating a wealth of knowledge of past and present, organic and conventional, beneficial and detrimental plant cultivation practices.
The Library has historically sought out information resources on the agricultural sciences published beyond the state line including all countries around the world to bring awareness of other practices, challenges and solutions to educate our students, professors and researchers. The collection is strongest in United States, Canadian, European, and African materials.