What makes a book a "rare book"?
While there is no universal definition of what a "rare book" is, a simple way to think about it is a book with high research or artifactual value that would be difficult to replace. Age, fragility, scarcity, or unique characteristics often place books in Special Collections. Additionally, books that may not be particularly rare or valuable as individuals often have significant research value in the context of an in-depth subject collection.
Rare Books at UTSA
As a unit of UTSA Special Collections, Rare Books collects, preserves, and provides access to published materials documenting the history and development of the Texas-Mexico border region in general and the people, history, art, life, and literature of San Antonio and South Texas in particular.
This guide highlights resources in our primary book collecting areas, as well as a few of our static collections, such as the Warden Collection of Western Americana. In addition to our core collections, Rare Books also houses rare or fragile books requiring special care such as our 1611 King James Bible [uncataloged], a 1926 exposition of Russian Embroidery [NK9256 .B7 1926], and many others.
Special Collections Hours and Services
Check out our hours at the John Peace Library and at the Institute of Texan Cultures in HemisFair Park. The rare book collection is held primarily at the John Peace Library. You may also contact us to make an appointment.
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Finding Books at UTSA
With just a few exceptions, rare books can be found in UCAT, the library’s online catalog, or in Library Quicksearch (use facets to narrow to special collections). For an introduction to UCAT, try watching the libraries' 4 minute tutorial on how to find books and other materials.
Rare Books Librarian
John Peace Library
University of Texas at San Antonio
1 UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249