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Rare Books at UTSA   Tags: history, primary_sources, san_antonio, texas  

Brief descriptions and highlights of UTSA Special collection's main rare book collecting areas, including San Antonio, South Texas, and more.
Last Updated: Oct 1, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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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 individual items often have significant research value in the context of an in-depth subject collection.   


Rare Books at UTSA

As part of UTSA Libraries Special Collections, the Rare Books Unit collects, preserves, and provides access to published materials documenting the history and development of the Texas-Mexico border region, with particular focus on the people, history, art, life, and literature of San Antonio and South Texas.   

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 1799 household account book [TX326 .A1 C6], and many others.


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. 

To learn about UTSA Special Collections' manuscript holdings, read the Archival Collections at UTSA research guide or visit our website.

Subject Guide

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Hours and Locations

For current hours and temporary closures, please check the Special Collections Website

John Peace Library Reading Room

One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249
(210) 458-5505

The Reading Room is located on the fourth floor of the John Peace Library at the Main campus. For researchers without UTSA parking permits, information about visitor parking can be found on UTSA's Main Campus visitor parking website.

The John Peace Library Reading Room is the primary access point for manuscript collections and rare books. Manuscript collections require an appointment and must be requested 5-7 days in advance.

To schedule an appointment, use our Request Access to a Collection form.

Institute of Texan Cultures Reading Room

UTSA HemisFair Park Campus
801 E. César E. Chávez Boulevard
San Antonio, TX 78205

(210) 458-2228

The Reading Room is located on the HemisFair Park Campus on the third floor of the Institute of Texan Cultures. Upon entering the ITC front doors, elevators will be to the left. On the third floor, head right out of the elevator and follow the hall around 2 right turns. The Reading Room will be on your left. 

Parking: Visitors may park in the ITC visitor lot, directly in front of the building. Visitors with a UTSA parking permit may park along the fence behind the federal building.

The Institute of Texan Cultures Reading Room is the primary access point for University Archives, photograph collections and architecture-related manuscript collections.

To schedule an appointment, use our Request Access to a Collection form.


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