MSEL was cutting-edge at the time it was built in 1964, but nearly six decades later, the wear and tear of thousands of students spending thousands of hours working in the building has taken its toll. Significant updates and renovations are needed to make it a library for the 21st century. Before the university can modernize MSEL, we first need to move the books into remote shelving at the Libraries Service Center (LSC). Since we have approximately 1 million volumes in the library, this will take some time.

Read about the upcoming modernization in HUB

Where are we in this process?

The Libraries moved approximately 440,000 books between April 2021 and March 2022. Then we took a bit of a break while we waited for the second bay of LSC to open. Now, we are ready to start again.

When are the books moving?

We started moving books in late July 2023 and anticipate completing the project by August 2024.

When will the books be available to use again?

It will take approximately one week to process each batch of moved books into LSC. Patrons may still request items during the move, and we will get them to you as soon as they are processed.

How will I find and request moved books?

Book locations will be updated quickly in the library catalog so that you can continue to find and request books.

Learn more about borrowing and requesting library materials

How will I know what is moving?

We will post information about the project on this page, including a schedule of which books will be moving when. In addition, we will post signage throughout the library listing the areas that will be affected each week. We are prioritizing moving items that are easily serviced from LSC. We plan to keep items that support print-dependent disciplines in the building for as long as possible before having to move everything out.

How are you deciding the sequence of the moves?

Based on use data that we have been collecting for many years, we first moved items that are quickly and easily serviced from LSC, such as bound science journals that have good electronic equivalents.

When will the books be coming back?

The books will be coming back home when the library modernization project is completed, currently projected to be in 2026.

I am a graduate student working on my dissertation and I need books. What can I do?

First, don’t panic. We are a library; our job is to get books to you. As mentioned above, our first phase targeted those items that are easily serviced from LSC, leaving items in MSEL that support the more book-intensive disciplines. Second, you will always be able to consult the move schedule on this page and see when call number areas are targeted to move. Third, you can continue to request books throughout the move, and we will continue to service the requests. Fourth, work with your department liaison librarian to get help. Finally, please be assured that our goal is to have as minimal a service disruption as possible.

Who can I talk to for more information?

You can always contact your department liaison librarian. In addition, you can email Liz Mengel, Associate Director of Collections & Academic Services, at