Decentralization was in large part the consequence of inadequate space and facilities in the buildings that housed the central library (Old Main 1884-1911; Battle Hall 1911-34; and Main 1934-77). While decentralization was an administrative expedient, it was not always popular. Humanities scholars whose work required interdisciplinary reading routinely protested the scattering of collections, but others, particularly science faculty, vigorously defended their branches and the local autonomy that came with them. But this independence often came at the price of poor-to-nonexistent service, inadequate hours and poorly trained staff, lack of inventory control, and erratic, uncoordinated management.
In later years, the University and the library made concerted efforts to consolidate scattered subject branches, provide better bibliographic control (cataloging) of collections, and eliminate many informal departmental "reading rooms" that had sprung up organically over the decades. The biggest strides in this regard occurred in the 1970s, when the Perry-Castañeda Library opened and absorbed a number of non-science branches into a new central library facility.
|Archives and Rare Books||5,500|
|Botany-Zoology (a, b)||6,750|
|Chemistry-Pharmacy (a, d)||5,500|
|Classical Languages (b)||1,200|
|Geology (b, c, e)||4,750|
|Home Economics (b)||250|
|Philosophy and Psychology (b)||2,150|
|Reserve Book Collection (b, g, h)||12,000|
Source: Moloney, p.307.
BOLD: In existence today.
a. Established before 1911.
b. Established after 1923.
c. Existed earlier in various forms as part of professor's or departmental office.
d. Pharmacy moved in with Chemistry in 1931 but was regarded as a separate collection. (The College of Pharmacy had moved to Austin from Galveston in 1927.)
e. Geology split from Botany-Geology-Zoology Library after 1923.
f. Split off as a separately administered branch in 1895.
g. Housed in central Library Building (now Battle Hall) after 1911.
h. Moved to Old Main in 1925.
Other known departmental collections, branches, or "seminar libraries" known to exist at various times before 1932 included:
For a pictorial history of the campus, see Berry, Margaret C. Brick by golden brick: a history of campus buildings at the University of Texas at Austin, 1883-1993. (Austin: LBCo., 1993).