Before You Visit

*Please note: On-site visitor services are currently limited. Research appointments are for use of archival materials only. Library materials are not available for on-site use. See our services page for more information, updated regularly.

Contact Information
Need help? Contact us at:

ref@tsl.texas.gov
or
512-463-5455

 
Introduction

This information is intended for researchers planning to visit the Texas State Library and Archives Commission at 1201 Brazos Street in Austin. Visitor information for the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center is on the Center’s Before You Visit page.

Before you visit, please review the Guidelines for Patrons using our public service areas.

Appointments

Appointments are for use of archival materials only. Library materials are not available for on-site use. See FAQs for more information about archival vs. library materials.

To help your research plans go as smoothly as possible, please review the information below and direct any questions to the Reference Desk (ref@tsl.texas.gov or 512-463-5455).

Policies and Services

  • To promote public health and safety, we remind the public that anyone who is not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 is safest by continuing to wear a facial covering. If you do not have one, we can provide one.
  • Please maintain six feet of social distance between yourself and all staff members and other researchers.

Advance appointments for use of archival materials are encouraged. Same day appointments may be possible in some instances. (See FAQs: “Can I make a same-day (walk-in) appointment?")

The benefits of planning an appointment in advance include:

  • Materials that require staff review or transportation from off-site storage will be available.
  • Your requested materials will be waiting at a table for you, and you can get right to work.
  • Less time spent on completing required forms.
  • Space reserved for you and any colleagues in the Archives Reading Room.

Appointment Services

  • Hours are Monday–Thursday 8:30–11:30 a.m. and 1:30–4:30 p.m. We will close 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. to prepare for afternoon appointments.
  • The reading room is currently closed on Fridays.
  • We can provide photocopies, although same day service is not available. See Reproductions for more information.
  • Patron lounge with vending machines is available.
  • Lockers are available. Due to limited space, bring only what you need. (See Reading Room Policies)

To request an appointment, email ref@tsl.texas.gov and include the following:

  • Texas State Archives Material Request Form. All materials must be requested on this form prior to confirming an appointment. Please download the form in Adobe Reader and save before sending. Forms completed in an internet browser only will likely appear blank when sent to our staff.
  • Researchers must be currently registered as a TSLAC patron prior to confirming an appointment. If you need to register or renew, download and complete the Registration Packet.

Please note:

  • During your visit, if there are no conflicting appointments, our staff can extend your time to the next appointment.
  • Each individual must be registered and have their own appointment to ensure sufficient space is available.
  • TSLAC may not be able to meet a request for an appointment with less than 24 hours’ notice.
  • Appointment times may be delayed based on the nature of the records, including restrictions on access and location of the materials, and availability of staff.
  • Provide a timeframe for when you want your appointment. This can be general (“the first week of October”) or specific (“October 1, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.”). While we cannot guarantee availability, this helps us plan your visit.

Once your appointment is confirmed, our staff will reserve a table for you in the Archives Reading Room and be in touch with next steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What does “archival material” mean?

Archival materials are original documents or primary sources, including original state agency records, letters, manuscripts, photographs, maps, and original newspapers. Some of our archival materials are described in our online finding aids:

There are many collections that remain unprocessed. If you are uncertain what materials you need, please email ref@tsl.texas.gov and staff will be happy to make suggestions.

2. What does “library material” mean?

Library materials are books and other items from our library collections: Main, Genealogy, Reference, Texas Documents, and US Documents. Library materials also include vertical files, non-archival microfilm, and online subscription databases (such as Ancestry). These materials are not available for on-site use.

3.  Can I make an appointment for books?

Library materials, including books, are currently unavailable for on-site research. If we have a specific book you need, please email ref@tsl.texas.gov with those details and we can help you with access options, which can include: online availability, interlibrary loan (ILL), or copies at other libraries.

4.  Can I make an appointment to research on your computers?

Our library subscription databases and public computers are currently unavailable for on-site research. If you have a specific research topic or question, you’re welcome to email ref@tsl.texas.gov with those details and we can assist you by email.

5.  What if I can’t make an appointment? Can staff do research for me?

It depends on the complexity of your request. Some research is beyond the scope of what our staff can complete. In many cases, if you’re unable to visit, our staff can provide you with a price quote for photocopies or digitization for materials eligible for those services. Please send the details of your request to ref@tsl.texas.gov and our staff will work with you on options for access.

6.  Can I make a same-day (walk-in) appointment?

We are here to support your research and will do our best to meet your needs. However, we may not be able to provide a same-day or walk-in appointment. Some determining factors are the nature of the materials (including restrictions on access and location of the materials), conflicts with other confirmed appointments, and availability of staff.

Parking

Parking is available in the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage located at 1201 San Jacinto Boulevard, directly east of the Lorenzo de Zavala Archives and Library Building. Metered spaces are available throughout the Capitol Complex and on San Jacinto.

In addition to the handicapped parking spaces in the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage, limited handicapped parking spaces for the Capitol Complex are located in the front of the building on Brazos Street.

Lockers

We request that visitors place belongings in lockers located in the Archives Reading Room. These free lockers are secured by individual keys for the privacy and safety of your belongings. The interior dimensions of the lockers are 17.5" deep and 10.5" wide and can accommodate items of up to 5' in length. Staff are unable to store or monitor items that will not fit in the available lockers, so please plan accordingly.

Briefcases, computer cases, rolling bags, luggage, backpacks, camera bags, large purses, fanny packs, parcels, musical instrument cases, shopping bags, etc., must be placed in a locker. Patrons are responsible for locker keys and, if needed, a fee will be charged for replacement.

Reproductions

On site researchers can request items to be photocopied by completing the Reproduction Request Form. While copies of archival materials may be requested, please be aware that due to factors including size and condition, not all archival items can be photocopied. Staff will determine their suitability for photocopying.

At this time, we are not providing same-day copy services or accepting payment in person.

While we do not provide scan on demand services, researchers may take non-flash photographs of archival material with personal cameras, cell phones or other devices with cameras. A scanner is available upon request for scanning letter-sized documents. Personal scanners, however, are not permitted. Photographic material cannot be scanned by patrons, but non-flash photography is permitted. Many of the images from our Prints and Photographs Collection have already been digitized for use by patrons.

Researchers can request digital copies of photographic material, maps, select audio and film, and oversize items that are not suitable for photocopies by completing the Reproduction Request Form. Certain formats have limits to the number of digitization requests per patron at one time:

  • 5 images of items up to 11" x 17" (including photographic material)
  • 3 single-page oversize items (larger than 11" x 17")
  • 1 multi-page oversize item (larger than 11" x 17")
  • 1 audiocassette tape or audio reel (dependent on technical capabilities and physical condition of audio)
  • 1 film reel or video format (dependent on technical capabilities and physical condition of film)

Review our Reproduction Fee Schedule for charges for print and digital copies.

Notice Concerning Copyright Restrictions

The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.

Page last modified: September 7, 2021