University of Texas Austin - Cactus Yearbook (Austin, TX)

 - Class of 1982

Page 10 of 718


University of Texas Austin - Cactus Yearbook (Austin, TX) online yearbook collection, 1982 Edition, Page 10
Page 10

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HE LIBRARIAN hisses " Shhh, " hushing all voices, snoring or sneezing that dare to violate the sepulchral silence of the library. The gray-haired spinster vanishes down the dark aisles lined with periodicals and books. That probably comprised the favorite stereotype of a library ever since Gutenberg chained his Bibles to a table. But to know the University ' s libraries was to know that no stereotype could ever cover the diversity. University libraries, contrary to what might be popular belief, were not merely shelves from which books could be bor- rowed. Research was the main event in University libraries and they were well equip- ped for that. UT ' s eighth-ranked library system fell into three categories, which catered to some aspect of academic research. The General Libraries, the Tarlton Law Library (the nation ' s sixth largest) and the Humanities Research Center (rare manuscripts, art, photography) were the three divisions. But when thinking of libraries, it was the General Libraries that came to most minds. " The General Libraries are the ones used by the 40,000 students, " said Mary Pound, publications director for the Perry-Castaneda Library. Although some managed to avoid them during their stay in academia, the General Libraries were the places most students went to study, research, catch 40 winks or just look out the window. UT students didn ' t always have it so good. The University had no library until March 1884 when approximately 1,000 BOUND IN EXCELLENCE UT Libraries Become a Bibliophile ' s Heaven by MAUREEN CREAMER books were housed in a small dark room on the fourth floor of Old Main. The library was an open stack one for faculty members and female students. Male students ap- parently were not to be trusted in the stacks; librarians brought the requested books to the male students. In 1911, the library was moved into brand new Battle Hall. The architecturally hand- some building, though, had cracks and less space than the old facility. A gubernatorial veto of a funding bill left the library devoid of elevators and bookstacks. The University acquired more and more books; many had to be stored in nooks all over campus and the hodge-podge demand- ed attention that finally came in the form of the Tower in 1934. All 27 floors were to be filled with books; but the closed stack library on numerous levels grew cumber- some as more floors were " booked up. " Suggestions for a new facility were tossed around; one even proposed locating the new library under the South Mall. The Perry- Castenada Library, the third largest such facility in the nation, opened in 1977. Some observers suggested that PCL ' s shape was a stylized depiction of Texas. It may have looked like Texas from above, but the building ' s exterior wasn ' t Texan but In- diana limestone. The fossiliferous limestone on the inside, however, was Texan from way back. Once inside, the new student would find the amount of information stored in PCL staggering with the card catalog jungle as testimony. In August 1981, PCL had 1.5 million volumes and 5,000 periodicals. The Undergraduate Library, in the Academic Center, was the place most lower division students learned the ABCs of research. The antiseptic atmosphere had space for 1,928 students. The branches were the libraries with per- sonality. Home of the main collection from 1911 to 1934, Battle Hall in 1982 housed the Architecture Library. Its colorful vaulted ceiling reared regally over rows of lighted wooden study tables. And if nature called, women could head down the circular marble staircase to the little girl ' s room the " women ' s cloakroom, " vintage 1911. The Science Library (formerly the Main Library) on the second floor of the Main Building was reminiscent of the Library of Congress. It contained enormous blue and gold shields on the lobby wall and wood-beamed ceilings emblazoned with sayings from Samuel Johnson and Sam Houston. Another species of the branch libraries in- cluded the Engineering, Physics-Math- Astronomy, Geology, Chemistry and Fine Arts libraries. In July 1979, the scattered flock of fine arts libraries was finally gathered up into the Fine Arts Building. This library had the largest branch circulation and housed materials for art, drama and music students who could even practice on an electronic piano that was silent to all but the player wearing headphones. At the other end of the scale was the Classics Library, nestled in a yellowed corner of Waggener Hall ' s first floor. With 17,000 volumes, it had the smallest circulation. A combined reading- and reference room allowed students or faculty members to curl up in a warm corner and escape with gods and supermortals. The libraries continued to be a valuable resource to UT, attracting the attention of scholars everywhere. The foresight of Ashbel Smith, first Board of Regents chairman, the donations of bibliophiles and the en- dowments of figures like Major George W. Littlefield fostered the tradition of a library system bound in excellence just as great books are bound in fine leather. 6 Libraries

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