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Michigan State University

Civic Engagement: Resources in MSU Special Collections: Home

Our activism collection has resources that may be useful for your research project!

How to use Special Collections

Special Collections has archival collections and other materials not held in the Main Library circulating collection.

Special Collections materials need to be requested through the library catalog and can only be used in our reading room.

You will also need to make an appointment for the reading room itself. This guide will show you all these steps.

How to request items through the catalog

1) Go to the MSU library catalog, Advanced Keyword Search.

2) Where it says Limited to: Collection: use the drop-down menu to select Special Collections.

3) Under Advanced Keyword Search, put in keyword(s) to describe your topic.


4) You'll see brief entries for items that contain your keywords. Click on the title to see more about it.


5) You'll see more details about that item. Click the purple Get It button. Follow the remaining prompts to request the item for use in our reading room.

Make a Reading Room appointment

1) Go here to start the appointment process. Click the button Make an Appointment.

2) Under today's date, click where it says Next Available. Appointments must be 5 days in advance.


3) On the next screen, select a starting time for your appointment. Go to the drop-down menu below the grid to select an ending time. Then click Submit Selected Times.

More help?

If you need more help with Special Collection, please contact me!

  • Ruth Ann Jones
  • Instruction/Outreach Librarian
  • Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections

Topics highlighted in class

Here are a few ideas for searches. Please don't hesitate to contact me for more help!

These keyword searches will take you to the library catalog with results for materials relevant to civic engagement.

The names of specific organizations or movements often have good results.

You can also construct your own search, or click on subject headings in a record to find similar works.

Archival collections

Archival collections contain the papers of individuals or organizations, documenting the behind-the-scenes work of activism and community engagement. Suggested collections are listed below. The collection inventory will help you decide which boxes to request.

Remember that these are only suggestions! Please don't hesitate to contact me for more ideas or help finding material.