The MSU Libraries use the following collection levels defined by the old Research Libraries Group Conspectus as follows:
- Minimal Level: A subject area in which few selections are made beyond very basic books.
- Basic Information Level: A collection of up‑to‑date general materials that serves to introduce and define a subject.
- Instructional Support Level: A collection that is closely tied to the needs of the curriculum:
- Undergraduate Support level: a collection that is adequate to support undergraduate instruction.
- Upper Level/Graduate Support level: A collection that is adequate to support undergraduate instruction and most upper level / graduate instruction or independent studies.
- Research Level: A collection that includes major published source materials required for research needs.
- Comprehensive level: A collection in which the Library includes all significant works of recorded knowledge for a necessarily defined and limited field.