Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Religious Studies

Factors Influencing Collection Policy

  • A. Anticipated future trends

    We have entered a new period in which issues of faith, Christianity, and non-Christian religions, especially Islam, are of greater interest to many in our University community than they were before 9/11. The Religious Studies department, more than once slated for closure, has revived itself; a number of new, young faculty members have been hired. The Islam/Judaism position has become two positions. The University now has both Jewish studies and Muslim studies programs. The professor offering courses on the history of religion in America is a co-PI for a large grant project, The American Religious Sounds Project,  that collects the sounds of people at worship.  We need to build up the collection on the non-Christian faiths while not reducing our efforts on Christianity. This will be a great challenge with the present financial resources for this collection area.  An academic specialist has been hired by the department to assist with advising.  He also teaches courses on new religious movements.  There is also now a track in the department to provide courses on working with non-profits, such as churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, and religious organizations.

  • We must be attentive to DEI, diversity, equity, and inclusion in our collecting going forward, looking for publications from both mainstream and small independent publishers about racial minorities, religious minorities, LBGTQ+ persons, and other under represented peoples in the various world faiths, their experiences and difficulties, both primary and secondary sources.  Consider online, open access, as well as traditional paper formats. 

  • We anticipate collecting electronic research data subsets created by faculty and students from our electronic resources.

  • B. Relationship to Other Resources
    • On campus branch or format collections, if any.


    • 2. Regional resources

      Students from Lansing Bible College, who pursue an individualized Ph.D. program awarded through M.S.U., make heavy use of specifically focused scriptural, exegetical, and pastoral collections at LBC and other private schools.  University of Michigan Libraries and the libraries of Hope, Calvin, Aquinas, and Spring Arbor, Colleges,  and University of Detroit-Mercy probably collect religious studies more heavily than we do. 

  • C. Relationships to resources treated in other policy statements

    Human medicine: medical humanities, collected by medical selector in R-RZ
    Philosophy: ethics, collected by philosophy selector, B-BJ
    History: history of churches; impacts of religion on history and society, collected by British history/studies selector, French studies selector, medieval/Renaissance/early modern studies selector, and area studies bibliographers, gender studies selector, political science selector, classics selector, BL-BX, D-DX, E, F, H-HX, J-JX.  Religious studies selector usually collects in BL-BX only.  Area studies bibliographers are supposed to collect works about the intersection of religions and society/politics/economics/culture, etc. in their areas of the world.
    Art: aesthetics; religious themes as subjects, collected by art librarian, N-NX
    Music: Church music, collected by music librarian, M-MT
    Literature: representation of religion in literature; religious writers as literary authors, collected by literature selector and also by British history/studies selector, medieval studies/Renaissance/early modern selector,  and area studies bibliographers, P-PT
    Judaism: collected by Jewish studies bibliographer, especially 19th century forward

            Islam: collected by Muslim studies selector and Middle East selector

            religious aspects of non profit organizations may be collected by religious studies selector.

Michigan State University