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Visiting Special Collections and Handling Materials   Tags: archives, primary sources, special collections  

This libguide will let you know what to expect during your visit to Special Collections and prepare you for handling rare and fragile materials.
Last Updated: Aug 5, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Visiting Special Collections Print Page

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.


Visiting Special Collections

Special Collections materials are often rare or fragile. In the case of archival collections, many items are unique and irreplaceable. Because of this, there are restrictions on what items are allowed in the reading room.

What you need to bring with you: 

  • list of materials (collection names, book titles, call numbers) you plan to see -  If you are using archival or photographic collections, you already submitted an Offsite Collection Request Form, but a list will help you organize your notes.
  • Photo ID

What you may bring with you:

  • Notebook, laptop computer, or tablet for taking notes
  • Pencil
  • Digital Camera (no flash)
  • Sweater (reading rooms are cold!)

What to leave behind (these items are
not permitted in the reading room):

  • Food, drink, candy (including gum), and tobacco products
  • Pens, markers, ink of any kind.
  • Portable scanners       

When you Arrive

During your first visit, you will be asked to fill out a Researcher Registration Form. You will be asked to provide your name, contact informationinstitutional affiliation, and a brief description of your research project. During future visits, you will only need to show your photo ID.

You are welcome to make use of your personal digital camera but note that flashes and tripods are not permitted. Materials must be photographed while resting on tables and photographers are not to disturb other patrons. You are responsible for noting all information required to properly cite the material being photographed. Special Collections welcomes you to use materials in our collections that are in the public domain and to make fair use of copyrighted materials as defined by copyright law. Please cite us. 

You will be asked to leave your coat and bag(s) at the front desk.

  Cell phones should be set to silent to avoid disrupting other researchers. If it is necessary to take a phone call, please exit the reading room.

  You may bring a pencil, notebook, laptop computer, and a digital camera to the table with you.

  Staff will retrieve materials for you and provide any special handling instructions relevant to the specific materials you are viewing.     

Subject Guide

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Agnieszka Czeblakow

Subject Guide

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Katie Rojas

Research Guide Image Citations

Ilie, Adrian. "IPhone.jpg." July 25, 2007. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.

Joskins, Joe. Sketch of Hoods Texas Brigade of the Virginia Army / by Joe Joskins ; a rebel in Co. 'A, 5th Texas Vol [i.e. Volunteer], Hoods Texas Brigade, Fields Divission [i.e. Division], Longstreets Corps, Army Northern Virginia. Rare Books Collection. UTSA Libraries Special Collections.

Slipstitch Designs. "Messenger Bag - Peacock." Sept. 1, 2008. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

splityarn. "Cannon PowerShot SD1000." June 18, 2008. Used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.


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