Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Mathematics/Statistics

Revised 10/10/16 by Sheila Bryant

Purpose or Scope of Collection

  1. Curricular/research/programmatic needs

    The mathematics/statistics collection serves the research and instructional needs of faculty and students in mathematics and statistics/probability as well as other disciplines. Both the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics/Probability offer Masters and Ph.D. programs in addition to undergraduate degrees. Service courses are provided to large numbers of students in other disciplines. To a limited extent, the collection also serves the general public.

  2. History of the collection

    The mathematics/mathematical statistics collection at MSU was originally housed in the Main Library. When the Physics-Astronomy-Mathematics Building opened in 1949, a branch library was created in that building which housed mathematics, physics, and astronomy materials. In 1967, the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics & Probability moved to the new Wells Hall on the south side of the Red Cedar River. The mathematics materials were moved to A304 Wells Hall near the departmental offices.

    In 1968 the Department of Mathematics was awarded a National Science Foundation Centers of Excellence grant and a significant portion of that grant was used for new physical facilities for the library and expansion of the collection. The library was named in honor of Vernon G. Grove, professor of mathematics at MSU from 1920-1958, for "his major role in establishing a tradition of distinguished mathematical research and scholarship" at MSU. The Vernon G. Grove Research Library, popularly referred to as the Mathematics Library, opened in 1970 on the first floor of the 3-story D-wing of Wells Hall. An atrium reaching all three stories enhanced the contemplative environment of 7,000 sq. ft. and its comfortable seating for 70. The staff consisted of about 16 student employees, one library assistant, and the librarian. Due to a request from the University's central administration the library was closed in June 2016 and the resources and materials were moved back to the main library.

  3. Collection strength and emphases

    The monograph collection of about 75,000 is complemented by some 1,049 print journal titles. The Library's proxy server allows MSU-affiliated individuals access to MathSciNet and 1,630 electronic journals. The 100+ Math Video Collection is located in the Digital Multimedia Center (DMC) in the Main Library.

    The current collection emphasizes pure mathematics and mathematical statistics. Applied mathematics and statistics are collected on a selective basis to meet the instructional and research needs of the faculty and graduate students. The history of mathematics is not being collected as extensively as in the past. Collected works are not usually selected except in the case of contemporary giants. Basic textbooks are usually not purchased.

    The books written or edited by a faculty member, past or current, in the Department of Mathematics, the Department of Statistics & Probability, the Department of Computational Mathematics, Science, and Engineering, and the Division of Science and Mathematics Education are shelved in the Stanley C. and Selma D. Hollander Faculty Book Collection in the Main Library. These books may circulate. Additional copies, if available, are shelved in the regular book stacks.