By Jelain Chubb, Texas State Archivist
The Archives and Information Services division is committed to increasing universal access to materials in our holdings that document the heritage and culture of Texas, namely the Texas State Archives and our vast collection of reference, genealogy, state and federal documents, and Texana.
Our archivists help document Texas history by identifying, collecting, preserving, arranging and describing the official archival records of state government. In fact, we are the custodians of historical treasures such as the Texas Declaration of Independence, and over 80,000 cubic feet of paper documents as well as nearly 30 terabytes of electronic files available online through the Texas Digital Archive.
Like the archives, our library collections – which consist of over two million volumes – are heavily used by researchers of all types, from elected officials and state agency staff, to noted historians and authors, attorneys, genealogists, business owners, educators and school children. The public relies on our resources and the expertise of our reference staff to get definitive answers to questions and official documentation as needed.
Staff of the cataloging department, education and outreach, the Summerlee Conservation Lab, and the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty are essential to the continued acquisition and cataloging of our materials, public engagement, programming, exhibits, and successful collaboration with partners throughout the state.
Here are just a few examples of how, together, we connect Texans and the world to Texas history:
- Through informative exhibits like Texans Take to the Trenches which opens April 3 and features items from our collection that tell the stories of how the state responded to the Great War
- Through digitization projects that allow our virtual users to listen to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s audio recordings of the 1972 Carrasco hostage crisis at the Huntsville prison or view over 100,000 images from our Prints and Photographs collections
- Through Interlibrary Loan, which enables library users to request published resources remotely
- Through efforts to recover “alienated” or missing state records on behalf of the citizens of Texas. Items returned to state custody in the past few years include over three dozen mid-19th century Texas Supreme Court case files and an 1836 letter from Stephen F. Austin and Benjamin Archer to the Provisional Government; and
- Through engaging presentations and workshops for libraries, historical and genealogical societies, schools, and the public on resources and topics that inform and inspire.
And now, with our new blog Out of the Stacks we will be offering regular updates on our collections and our efforts to make them more accessible to you. On behalf of the ARIS staff, I hope you find this information of value and that you will let us know how we are doing!