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.

When are the books moving?

We began moving items on April 13, 2021 and will move approximately 10,000 per week on either Monday or Tuesday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and noon. We anticipate this phase will be completed in December 2021.

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.

Which books are moving now?

Our planning team has identified the initial volumes to be sent during Phase 1, based on years of use statistics – both external and in-house use. Experience tells us that the types of collections that can be most easily serviced from LSC include: all volumes on A-level, which held General Reference, Government Documents, and law; all the Special Collections and Archives items stored on-site; all bound journals; many, but not all, of the “White Ps”; and selected call number ranges identified by our academic liaison librarians, who have detailed knowledge of the parts of the collection faculty in their areas most use. Faculty and students who would like more information about books in their areas to be moved should consult with their liaison librarian.

How are you deciding the sequence of the moves?

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

Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the planned sequence of call number ranges for the move.

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 2025.

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 targets 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 emengel@jhu.edu.

Planned Sequence of Call Number Ranges

Date (2021)
Call Number Range
Location Subject Area
April 13 UA 646 – Z 8998 C-Level Military Science, Bibliography, Library Science
April 20 Z 8998, TS 1 – TS 2260, TT 9 – UA 646, TK 5101 – TP 1 C-Level Bibliography, Library Science, Technology/Engineering, Military Science
April 27 TP 1 – TP 350 C-Level Technology/Engineering
April 27 BV 230 – BX 9430 B-Level Philosophy, Psychology, Religion
May 4 BX 9430 – CC1, JX 636 – JZ 4841, LB 1050 – LB 2806 B-Level Philosophy, Psychology, Religion, Political Science, Education
May 11 LB 2806 – MT 860 B-Level Education, Music
May 18 TD 145 – TK 5105 C-Level Technology/Engineering
May 25 TK 5102 – TK 5105, BF 1 – GB 651 C- Level Philosophy, Psychology, Religion
June 1 GB 561 – GC 439 C-Level Geography, Anthropology, and Recreation
June 1 BL 31 – BL 1853, CC 1 – CR 4225, CR 4231 – D168 B-Level Philosophy, Psychology, Religion
Auxiliary Sciences of History, World History
June 8 GT 2130 – GV 1853 B-Level Geography, Anthropology, and Recreation
June 8 QB 362 – QC 173 C-Level Science
June 15 QC 173 – QC 243 C-Level Science
June 15 P 1 – P 4039, P 4041 – P 8114, P 8120 – PB 1458 D-Level “White P” Language and Literature
June 22 P 8120 – PB 1458, PH 4607 – PJ 813 D-Level “White P” Language and Literature
June 22 QC 243 – QC 881 C-Level Science
June 29 QC 881 – QD 1 C-Level Science
June 29 PJ 813 – PJ 1669 D-Level “White P” Language and Literature
July 6 PJ 669 – PM4155, PM 4159 – PM 5891 D-Level “White P” Language and Literature
July 6 QD 1 C-Level Science
July 13 QD 1 – QD 262 C-Level Science
July 20 PM 5891 – PM 6436, PM 6438 PO 1175 D-Level “White P” Language and Literature
July 27 PO 408 – PO 2807 D-Level “White P” Language and Literature
July 27 QD 262 – QD 716 C-Level Science
August 3 QD 716 – QD 951, QE 1 – QE 11 C-Level Science
August 3 PO 2807 – PO 3569, PO 3573 – PO 5334 D-Level “White P” Language and Literature
August 10 PO 4537 – PO 6052 D-Level “White P” Language and Literature
August 10 QH 211 – QH 301 C-Level Science
August 17 QH 301 – QK 473, QL 1 – QL 723 C-Level Science
August 24 PO 6052 – POP 9520, P0 9530 – PQ2373, PQ 2380 – PQ 3515 D-Level “White P” Language and Literature
August 31 S 593 – SH 1, TA 347 – TA 5105, TC 163 – TD 145 C -Level Agriculture, Technology/Engineering
September 7 PQ 3515 – PR 3366 D-Level “White P” Language and Literature
September 7 PN 1994 – PN 1997 D-Level “Blue P” Language and Literature
September 14 PN 1994 – PN 1997 D-Level “Blue P” Language and Literature
September 14 TP 350 – TS 1 C-Level Technology/Engineering
September 21 Special Collections
September 28 Special Collections