Spiva Library was the first building built on the MSSU campus. Groundbreaking was held on Feb. 3, 1967 and construction was completed the following February. The library is named for Mr. George A. Spiva, a prominent Joplin businessman and financial supporter of the new college.
The library's collection began with 8,000 books from the old Joplin Junior College library. These books, combined with new purchases, provided Southern students with approximately 27,000 volumes in 1967. In 1967, Spiva Library was approved as a federal depository library which added materials from the Government Printing Office to the library's collection.
During 1972/73 the library underwent a million dollar expansion. This more then doubled the library's size. At that time the library's collection had topped 77,000 volumes. The Audio Visual Center was also added to the library.
In 1987, following the move of the Social Sciences & Communications departments to the Mansion, the library expanded into all the available areas of the building. Also during 1987 the library retired the traditional paper card catalog and switched to an electronic catalog. The LION (Library Information ON-line) would serve the library's patrons until the year 2000 when it was replaced by a shared, electronic online catalog (SWAN - SouthWest Academic Network).
In 1999 Spiva Library began undergoing changes to take it into the 21st century. Work began on a multi-million dollar expansion and renovation. With expansion completed the library is 40,000 sq. ft. larger and equipped to handle new and emerging information technologies.
During the last 10 years the library's collections have expanded to over 274, 000 print volumes, over 754,000 microform items, and several electronic journal subcriptions. In addition, 4 computer labs containing 96 workstations, three with scanners, connected to black and white and/or color network printers are available for student use in the library and are completely updated approximately every 3 years.
In more recent years the library has undergone painting of various colors on all 4 floors, University Java coffee shop moved onto the 1st floor and new furniture, paintings, and mirrors were arranged to provide a modern and up-to-date facility that is a warm and inviting place for study and research.