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The University of Texas at Austin

Research Visit


Renovation of the Briscoe Center’s first floor in Sid Richardson Hall Unit 2 is nearing completion! The new reading room and galleries will open to the public on Monday, April 10th, at 10:00 a.m. Reference services will continue to operate at the Benson Latin American Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room through Wednesday, April 5th, so appointments for research through that day are still recommended. In preparation for our opening, we will be closed for research on Thursday, April 6th and Friday, April 5th. Beginning April 10th no appointments will be necessary except for researchers requesting materials housed offsite. We look forward to serving you in our new space!

Sid Richardson Hall
(L-R) Sid Richardson Hall, Unit 1, 2, and 3

Request Appointment


The Briscoe Center public services will assume the same hours as the Benson Rare Books and Manuscripts Division: Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. However, because we need to return our collections to SRH 2, we ask that our researchers return materials at 4:15pm. We will not be open evenings or weekends during the renovation. As always, we recommend that researchers check this page and the hours page since our hours occasionally change due to special events or University holidays.

Appointments and Registration


We strongly recommend researchers make appointments to visit the reading room. Space is limited to 8 tables, so in order to accommodate visitors who come to town to conduct their research, we will give priority to appointments. One appointment will cover as many days as needed to conduct research – researchers do not need to make a new appointment for each day. If researchers have made appointments but find they no longer need to do research at the Briscoe Center, we ask that they notify us as soon as possible so we can offer that space to another researcher.

We will not take appointments by phone. To schedule an appointment, researchers can complete this online form or make one in person.

If you arrive without an appointment and all of our available tables are taken:

  • you may wait to see if anything opens up; appointments will be held for up to 20 minutes, after which the researcher forfeits their spot;
  • make an appointment for another day;
  • try to walk in another day.

If there is space available, Briscoe Center staff will check you in and assign a table for completing your research.


Arriving patrons must check in and register with the BCAH information desk in the Benson Latin American Collection reading room. To speed up the registration process, registration forms may be downloaded, printed out and completed prior to your arrival in the reading room.

Requests and Retrieval

Due to the increase in time required to page materials from the Briscoe Center to the BLAC, materials requested by patrons will be delivered to the reading room once per hour according to the schedule below. Call slips should be submitted by the bottom of the hour for the next delivery. Example: submit call slips by 9:30 to receive boxes at 10:00.

 Call slip submission time  Pulling begins  Estimated delivery time
 Pre-requests  -  9:00: first delivery of day
 9:30  9:35  10:00
 10:30  10:35  11:00
 11:30  11:35  12:00
 12:30  12:35  1:00
 1:30  1:35  2:00
 2:30  2:35  3:00
 3:30  3:35  4:00

We recommend that our patrons submit pre-requests for items they wish to review to avoid long wait times for materials. Deadline to pre-request onsite materials:

  • In person: by 4 p.m. previous day (researchers should fill out the call slips and give to the reference archivist);
  • Remote pre-requests: at least 2 full business days (48 hours if submitted Monday-Wednesday). Remote pre-requests may be completed here

Request Limits:

Request limits: Due to space limitations, some of our retrieval limits have changed. During renovation, patrons may only retrieve 3 items at a time, regardless of type. For example, three archival boxes; or one archival box and two books; or one book and two vertical files.

Call slips requesting additional materials may be submitted as long as the three item limit is not exceeded.

Class Visits

Professors wishing to bring their class to the Briscoe Center for archival instruction or research orientation should contact the head of Public Services, Margaret Schlankey (, or 495-4537).

Reference and Research Tools

Finding Aids:

Due to space considerations, we will not be able to provide hard copies of Briscoe Center finding aids at the BLAC. However, Briscoe Center finding aids will be available in multiple places during our stay at the BLAC:

  • Kiosk computer loaded with finding aid files
  • iPad in iBooks (Word files)
  • Flash drive (PDFs)
  • Many finding aids are available on TARO
  • Links to TARO from UT Cat

Researchers can also borrow a flash drive to download finding aids to download onto their laptop. Researchers borrowing an iPad or a flash drive must submit a driver's license to reference staff to hold until the equipment is returned.

Card catalog:

The card catalog will be digitized and online in the near future. Please check back for status updates for this initiative.

A/V materials:

Some a/v equipment is available at the BLAC. Please contact Margaret Schlankey (, or 495-4537) if you require additional time or equipment that is not available in the BLAC reading room.


Microfilm will be paged with other research materials, and two microfilm readers will be available for patron use in the BLAC reading room. Appointment procedures apply for using the microfilm readers.

Tools for our researchers:

  • A limited number of desktop computers for accessing UTCAT and TARO
  • Photocopier: note that the BLAC photocopier will require the purchase of a UT Libraries copy card
  • Camera and tripod
  • Light table
  • Loupe
  • Gloves
  • Book cradles and weights
  • Flash drive
  • Pencils, sharpener