Renovated in 2017, the Briscoe Center reading room provides a quiet and comfortable space in which to use our rich historical collections. Archival materials are retrieved from stack areas that are closed to the public and delivered to patrons seated in the reading room. Registered researchers can request materials online prior to their visit, or on site using one of the Center’s reference kiosk computers. Reference staff are available to help researchers find collections of interest and to answer any questions. To ensure the preservation and security of our holdings, there are limits to the amount of material researchers can request and use at one time.
As of July 5, 2021, our Reading Room is open to members of the UT Austin community (current students, faculty, and staff) by appointment only. We currently are providing remote reference services via email, phone, or teleconference, as well as duplication/digitization services. We recommend all researchers contact us, and select “Reference” from the Nature of Inquiry dropdown menu, and let us know how we can help you with your research.
Policies & Procedures
The Briscoe Center is a resource open to the public to study archival documents, the evidence of history. Our mission is to preserve history and provide access to our vast archive. To carry out our mission, we require researchers to follow a set of policies and procedures during their visit to the reading room to ensure all patrons will have access to our rich collection for generations to come.
Amenities Tools & Equipment
The Briscoe Center offers audio/visual technology and other equipment to help researchers get the most from our materials. We have a microfilm room with self-serve access to all of our Texas newspaper microfilm along with digital microfilm readers that allow you to scan images to a USB or print up to 15 pages. At our audio/visual center, we have earphones and equipment to listen to CDs, cassette tapes, or LP records and to watch DVDs, videocassettes, Blu-rays, and U-Matic videocassettes. Please note that for all other formats of audio/visual material, you must make an appointment with our A/V archivist.
To help with research of our materials, unlimited scratch paper and pencils are available for researchers to use. We also have magnifying glasses, loupes, weights, book cradles, a camera stand, and a light box. A digital camera and USB drive are available to check out as well. We also offer secure lockers to store your personal belongings while you’re in the reading room.
A scanner/photocopier is available to use on non-rare books and vertical files, at the reference staff’s discretion. Photocopies are limited to 15 pages while scans are unlimited.
The Briscoe Center offers hands-on archival instruction that can be tailored to the course content or focus on the nuts and bolts of archival research. Staff can consult with faculty to create curriculum or projects that use primary sources in the Briscoe Center’s collections. See the Class Visits and Instructional Services page for more information.
If you need help locating materials, or have questions about our policies or services, you can Contact Us.