Friends of Murray Library

Who are the Friends of Murray Library?

From its formal beginning in 1993, Friends has promoted the mission of Murray Library with a variety of purchases, projects and programs.In addition to providing resources and services that extend beyond the library’s operational budget, Friends helps form a link between the campus and the community of learners.We invite you to join us in our efforts to enrich the resources of Murray Library, a central component in the education of Messiah students.


Purposes of Friends of Murray Library

  • To stimulate interest in the collections and facilities of Murray Library.
  • To provide an opportunity for those interested in the library to participate in exhibits, programs, and volunteer activities.
  • To attract gifts of books, manuscripts, and other materials for the library’s enrichment.
  • To encourage and receive financial contributions for needs beyond the library budget, such as building special collections.

Friends Bylaws:

  • Click here to review. 


Benefits enjoyed by Friends:

  • Library borrowing privileges, including DVDs
  • Twelve interlibrary loan requests per year
  • Invitation to Friends events
  • Receipt of Friends mailings
  • Eligibility to serve on Friends Board

Become a Friend today:

All categories cover immediate family members and include the following:

  • Contributor ($35-$49 annual)
  • Student Contributor ($5 annual)
  • Patron ($50-$99 annual)
  • Sponsor ($100-$499 annual)
  • Lifetime Contributor ($500 one-time)

To view an online brochure with membership application, click here. If mailing the application, please send to:

Friends of Murray Library
Messiah University
Attn: Tracy Sheaffer
One University Avenue, Suite 3002
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

To register and pay online, click the “Become a Friend” button at the top of this page.



19th Annual Dinner & Meeting: Join us Monday November 1st at 6pm for the Friends of Murray Library Annual Dinner and Meeting.  Devin Manzullo-Thomas will share findings from his forthcoming book, Exhibiting Evangelicalism: Commemoration and Religion's Purpose of the Past, about the history of evangelical museums in America.  In the United States, museums are respected cultural institutions and are viewed as places for education, tourism, or the cultivation of civic virtue - supposedly secular purposes.  But many museums challenge this simple characterization, including museums owned and operated by evangelical Christians.  Devin will describe how these sites came to exist, the narratives they promote, and how they impact public culture in the United States today.

The event will be held in Howe Atrium and Parmer Cinema (Boyer Hall), with a meal being served by Messiah's Two Bridges Catering.  Reservation deadline is October 15, 2021.  If interested, please contact Tracy Sheaffer, Library Administrative Assistant, at or ext 7181.

Library Student Research Grant:  This competitive grant provides Messiah seniors doing their senior honors projects or senior capstone projects an opportunity to experience a taste of graduate school-level research using both Murray Library’s print and digital collections as well as other relevant research materials for their chosen topic located at other institutions or organizations. A proposal is selected for funding by an interdisciplinary panel of judges chaired by Linda Poston, Library Director. The grantee will be awarded $750 in the spring for the fall 2021 academic year. Grant recipient research will culminate with a presentation of the overview and process of their research project at the Friends Annual Dinner Meeting or alternative venue as appropriate. 

Please join us in congratulating Anya Benninger, the 2020-2021 Friends of Murray Library Student Research Grant awardee.  Anya ​will graduate in 2022 with a Studio Art BFA (3D concentration), English minor degree.  She will be conducting her research on “Social Stories: Bookmaking in the Life of an Autistic Artist.”  Anya has been interested in the conversation between writing as a linear, story-based art form and the visual arts as an experiential, dynamic means of communication. She has enjoyed integrating writing into some of her bookmaking work, focusing on how words can interact with visual elements in a sculptural context. She has also written extensively about her experience of autistic neurology and how that relates to her interest in writing, especially when considering words as artistic physical phenomena. This project will bring her writing experience more directly in conversation with her artistic practice and explore the themes she has studied throughout college from a literary perspective.  Anya’s research will involve access to both historical illuminated manuscripts and modern collections of art books and she plans to access the Walters Art Museum, Boston Public Library, Yale University Library, and Art Department of Parkway Central Library.  Anya’s research will culminate with a presentation at the annual Friends dinner in the fall of 2021.  Dr. Christine Perrin is Anya’s faculty reference.  Congratulations Anya!


Special Collections:

Each of Murray Library's four special collections traces its beginning to Friends of Murray Library.

  • Artists' Books - Visually exciting and intellectually provocative, artists' books push to the outermost limits our assumed definition of what a book is, and turn the practice of reading into a novel experience. Simply defined, artists' books are a hybrid art form in which books and art intersect. Many of the over 100 artists' books in Murray Library's collection are the work of well-known book artists, including works by Messiah University art faculty. Friends funds new acquisitions to the collection each year, enhancing its use as an interdisciplinary teaching resource. To view an online brochure of the Artists' Books collection, click here

  • Ruth E. Engle Memorial Collection of Children's Book Illustration - Dedicated in April 2004, this collection of original picture-book art by award-winning illustrators was established with gifts given to Friends of Murray Library in memory of Ruth Engle, a charter member who also served on its board. New artworks are added to the collection annually, funded by Friends and gifts from donors. Currently, more than two dozen artworks are on display, reflecting a variety of media, styles and subjects and including works by illustrators from Australia, China, England, Korea, Mali and Russia, as well as the USA. View the online portfolio featuring 15 of the more than 40 works currently in the collection. For a complete list of other illustrators represented in the collection, please click here. Better still, visit the collection, free of charge, during library hours

  • Canadian Literature - Friends committed more than $10,000 to establish this special collection, currently consisting of more than 800 titles by such influential Canadian authors as Margaret Atwood, Rudy Wiebe, Robertson Davies, Leonard Cohen and Alice Munro, each identified by a Friends-commissioned bookplate. The collection is being expanded to include poetry, plays, critical and other non-fiction works.

  • W. Jim Neidhardt Collection on Religion and Science - Dr. W. Jim Neidhardt's keen interest in the relationship between modern science and the Christian faith, as well as the presence of several longtime friends at Messiah University, led him to give his extensive personal library of Murray Library. Subject areas in the collection are astonishingly diverse, ranging from physics, engineering and theology to cybernetics, chaos theory and aesthetics. A Friends-commissioned bookplate bearing Neidhardt's likeness portrays aspects of his lifework and identifies volumes in the collection.

Friends Board Members:

Dr. Ed Arke
Mr. Aaron Bert
Ms. Harriet Bicksler, Chair
Ms. Libby Coldsmith
Mr. Chad Frey
Ms. Ilse Kryemadhi
Dr. James LaGrand
Ms. Linda Poston, Murray Library Director
Ms. Jamie Rice
Ms. Elizabeth Hutchinson, Student Representative
Ms. Emily Stanley, Student Representative


Friends of Murray Library Student Chapter

If you’re a student interested in the library, then you should join FoML students!  You can participate in events, exhibits, and volunteer opportunities, all in the name of learning!  Cost to join is $5.  For more information, email Tracy Sheaffer at