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Multi-million dollar project will create new space for MSU's special collections

Posted at 7:09 PM, Nov 01, 2021

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University's Main Library will undergo a major renovation project that provide a safer space for the world's largest comic book collection and other materials in the university's special collections.

The university's Board of Trustees gave the library approval last week to start planning the project, which will create a climate-controlled space on the third floor of the east wing for MSU's special collections and the university's archives.

"Most of the special collections that are moving to this new climate-controlled space are in the basement of the library," said Joe Salem, dean of libraries.

The university's library doesn't have many climate-controlled spaces, so this addition will help preserve the rarest and most valuable items in its collection.

"There is some concern about flooding, because of their proximity to the Red Cedar River, although it's never happened, it's just a concern," Salem said.

Salem said the whole project is "donor funded. We have several supporters. But the lead donor is a supporter, named Keelung Hung. Dr. Hung made the gift in memory of his partner, Stephen O. Murray."

Hung donated $5 million to the libraries for the project. Salem said he gave another smaller gift that will allow the university to bring in external researchers to use Murray's papers. Murray was an anthropologist and sociologist known for his work on sexual and gender minorities.

"We're very excited about it," said MSU President Samuel Stanley. "And of course, the library is really kind of the heart and soul of the university and its a building we want to make a great destination."

Salem said the project will likely take two years. He couldn't give an exact estimate of the project's cost, but said Hung's donation should get them pretty close.

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