PCL tours are free and open to students, faculty, and staff of the University, as well as the general public.
No reservations are required. All tours leave from the New Books area in the PCL lobby.
UT Groups: To arrange a class tour, please Ask a Librarian.
Non-UT Groups: See our Frequently Asked Questions for Visiting Groups below.
FIG Mentors & Facilitators: Please visit the FIG Mentors page to see how to involve the Libraries into your FIG.
Frequently Asked Questions for Visiting Groups
I want to take my class on a tour of the library. Whom do I contact? Is there a cost?
The Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL), the University of Texas Libraries main branch, is unable to offer tours to groups from outside UT at this time. If you are visiting with a group, you are encouraged to self-conduct a tour of the library. You may fill out the Ask a Librarian form to submit a tour request. Advance notice to library staff is required if you are leading a large group, even if you are planning to self-conduct a tour.
Please be aware that all photography and filming in the library requires administrative approval. You may contact Travis Willmann, Communications Officer, (512) 495-4644.
Can my class use computers?
Visitors can obtain courtesy access to our workstations by first setting up an EID (username) and password, then seeing a Circulation supervisor for authorization. This will allow the user one hour of computer access per day. A government-issued or school ID is required for authorization. The library does not have enough staff to accommodate large groups in setting up Visitor EID logins. If you are planning to bring a group, please contact Courtesy Borrower Services, (512)495-4305, ahead of time so that we can determine if we are able to accommodate your group. Please keep in mind that the computer stations in the PCL are, first and foremost, for current UT Austin students. We have a limited number of computers and they are often in high-demand by UT students, so it is not possible to reserve a block of them for your group, and you may sometimes have to wait for one to become available.
Part of the process of setting up computer access or a borrower card is for the individual to set up an electronic ID (UT EID). To save time during your visit, you may this do ahead of time if you would like. To do so, go to UT EID Self-Service Tools and click on "Get a UT EID," and follow the instructions. To log in to the Libraries computers or access your account you must meet the strong password requirements.
Can my class use online databases?
Visitor EID logins will allow users to access most of the library’s databases (there are a few exceptions that are only available to UT students, faculty and staff). You may already have access to the Tex-Share databases which are available through many Texas public libraries. You can find out more about the program through your public library.
Can my class use the online catalog and look at physical collections?
The Perry-Castañeda Library has an open stacks system, which means that visitors are allowed to browse the collection. It is not necessary to login to use the public catalog terminals which are located on the 2nd through 6th floors of the building. The library’s collection is predominantly organized using the Library of Congress classification system, with some older parts of the collection organized by the Dewey Decimal System. For detailed maps of the PCL and a guide to call number locations, see our Locations Guide.
Can my class check out library books?
Individuals must be 18 or older and Texas residents in order to be eligible for a Courtesy Borrower card. Texas residents can purchase a Courtesy Borrower card for $100 per year, but that fee is waived if they have a valid TexShare card (in their name, cards are not transferrable) from another participating library or if they have a current membership with the Texas Exes. We also need to see a government-issued photo ID when issuing a Courtesy Borrower card. The card will allow individuals to check out up to 100 items and log in to a library computer once per day for up to one hour. Most, but not all, of our electronic resources are available while logged on to a library computer. Access to the campus wi-fi and access to those electronic resources off-site are NOT available to Courtesy Borrowers.
Please read the Courtesy Borrower Services page for more information about using and obtaining courtesy borrower cards. Due to time and staffing constraints, the library may not be able to accommodate large groups in setting up borrowing privileges. If your group is interested in borrowing library materials, you must the library in advance so that we can determine if we are able to accommodate you. The Courtesy Borrower desk has different hours from the main building, so please check them so that you can time your visit appropriately.
How can I tell if a book in the online catalog is located at the PCL?
The online catalog searches books that are located in all of the libraries in the University of Texas Libraries system. The Location field of the item’s record will be “PCL Stacks” if the item is located at the PCL. If an item is on the shelf it will have a status of “AVAILABLE.” If you plan to visit a different branch to locate a specific item, it is a good idea to check their hours, as not all branches have the same hours as the PCL.
What options are available for copying and printing?
Printing from computers or using copy machines in the library requires a copy card. Copy cards are available for purchase from two vending machines on the entry level of the PCL and from Library Copier Services on the first floor. The PCL also has three KIC scanners located on the entry level, which allow users to scan and save an article or chapter from a book directly to a USB drive for free.