The University of Texas


Model of the PCL The UT System Board of Regents authorized planning and funding for the new Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL) facility in 1972. A construction contract was awarded in early 1974 to Stokes Construction Company. Architects were Phelps, Simmons and Garza and Associates, and Bartlett Cocke and Associates, Inc.


The PCL under construction PCL is situated at the corner of Speedway and 21st Street. The exterior of the building is Indiana limestone; interior walls are Texas fossiliferous limestone. PCL, an open-stack facility, embraces all subject fields, with strongest holdings in the humanities, social sciences, business, and education. Service and staff areas are concentrated on the first two of the six building levels, with bookstacks and general reading areas located on Levels 3 through 6.

How did PCL get its name?

The Perry-Castañeda Library is named for two former University professors, Ervin S. Perry and Carlos E. Castañeda. Professor Perry was the first African American to be appointed to the academic rank of professor, and Professor Castañeda played a central role in the early development of the Benson Latin American Collection.

In an effort to recognize the contributions of these distinguished faculty members and to express the University's lasting commitment to educational opportunities for all Texans, President Lorene L. Rogers recommended to the UT System Board of Regents that the new facility be named the Perry-Castañeda Library. By unanimous vote the Board of Regents adopted this proposal at their meeting of September 12, 1975.

The Perry-Castañeda Library is one of the largest academic library buildings in North America and is a major research center in Texas. Three years under construction, the six-level, open-stack facility was designed to serve as the main library of UT Austin.

PCL under construction PCL now


Size: 500,673 square feet, gross area
413,168 square feet, net assignable area
6 levels
9.3 acres of carpet
70 miles of book stacks
(74 miles from Austin to San Antonio)
Cost: $21,700,000 including landscaping, furniture, and furnishings
($92,706,000.00 in 2013 dollars)
Capacity: 3,200,000 volumes
(2,500,000 volumes in 2002)



The PCL Microcomputer Center, made possible by a grant from Project Quest, opened its doors December 2, 1985, with eleven IBM personal computers. [It] was seen as an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of microcomputer software and hardware in a library setting for the enhancement of teaching and research activities.

Library Bulletin, December 12, 1985

The PCL Microcomputer Center

21st-Century Study area

This area, occupying the original card catalog area, offers 41 stations for accessing library collections and other information resources for the purpose of supporting learning and research. Users can print in color or black and white from these stations using a copy card.

21st-Century Study area




Perry-Castañeda Library
101 East 21st St.
Austin, TX. 78713

Phone: (512) 495-4350

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