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Africana Library

The Africana Collection of the MSU Libraries is one of the largest in the United States, having been built up since 1960 to support broad faculty and graduate student involvement in research and development projects on the continent. In recent decades, MSU program about Africa has been consistently rated among the top one or two in the country in both the number of faculty involved and the number of doctoral dissertations produced. The Library's commitment to this world area is reflected in the employment of two full-time professional African Studies librarians, who continue to build one of the top five collections in the country. Librarians also provide reference assistance and instruction to a wide range of faculty and students at MSU and from around the globe

The Library collection of roughly 270,000 books, journals, maps, films, archives, and microform units and online resources covers all areas and disciplines. Online resources on Africa are one of the best in the country and include cutting-edge digital libraries and archives, full-text journal suites from Africa, and MSU digital projects. Across the collections, there is particular emphasis on history, politics, economics, culture, education, languages, health, and other fields of sub-Saharan African. The collection has special emphasis in the priority countries of Nigeria, Ethiopia/Eritrea, South Africa, the Sahel region of West Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Library materials from all sub-Saharan African countries are collected at a high level, including materials in all African and other languages and across all historical periods. In addition to comprehensive holdings in the Main, circulating collection, the Libraries also boasts significant Africana Special Collections and there are substantial special and audio-visual collections. One such collection is the African Studies Interview Series. The MSU Libraries' collection development policy on Africa is outlined in the Collection Development Policy.

Digital Resources

The libraries’ digital resources on Africa feature all available major Africana e-resources including the largest microfilm collection in the U.S. from the Public Record Office in London, with extensive archives from Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria. The collection also includes:

  • 200 full-text African scholarly journals in the social, human and natural sciences (SAe-Publications)
  • African dissertations
  • African Writers Series Online (250 e-books)
  • Corpus de la première littérature francophone d'Afrique noire
  • Aluka
  • Empire Online (1,000 items)
  • SALDRU clippings collection
  • comprehensive citation indexes of materials published in and about Africa

Papers and Ephemera

Housed within the libraries are extensive collections of African posters (500), cookbooks, comic art, and material on African sports. Papers include:

  • the Sahel collection
  • the Ezera collection on Eastern Nigeria
  • South African political papers including Kathrada prison letters
  • the Kenya Airlift Papers
  • David Robinson Papers (Senegal and Mali)
  • Harold Marcus Papers (Ethiopia)
  • Donald Wright papers (Senegambia)
  • John Hunter Papers (geography/medical anthropology of West Africa)


The libraries support MSU’s extensive work in African Language teaching and research with focuses on:

Arabic (2,135)
Amharic (1,505)
KiSwahili (1,415)
Afrikaans (1,363)
Yoruba (388)
Hausa (374)
Shona (327)
Malagasy (250)
Tigrinya (200)
isiZulu (181)
Igbo (170)
isiSotho (145)
Somali (144)

isiXhosa (140)
Nyanja/Chewa (125)
Fula (121)
Ndebele (115)
Setswana (150)
Wolof (98)
Kinyarwanda (90)
Twi (89)
Ewe (85)
Bambara (83)
Ganda (75)
Mende and Temne (115)
other Niger-Congo languages (712)