Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Using the Collections

Reading Room. Click to enlarge.

The Hazel H. Ransom Reading Room

Location and Hours

The Harry Ransom Center is located on The University of Texas at Austin campus at the northeast corner of Guadalupe and 21st streets (see map). The Hazel H. Ransom Reading Room and David Douglas Duncan-Cain Foundation Photography and Art Viewing Room, located on the second floor, serve readers using manuscripts, rare books, and visual materials (photographs, performing arts, art, and decorative arts/personal effects).

All patrons must register at the reception desk and show a current photo ID (college/university, driver's license, passport, etc.) on arrival. They must also view a brief presentation on using the facility and handling collection materials. As part of the registration process, it is necessary to create a research account which allows users to request materials through an automated system and keep online records of their transactions. In addition, patrons using manuscripts and some visual materials will need to consult with curatorial staff. We may require users of high school age or younger to be accompanied by an adult. The Ransom Center supports short-term research visits for approximately 50 scholars each year through fellowships. Please be aware that it is not necessary to have a fellowship to use the collections.

The Reading and Viewing Rooms are normally open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. No material is pulled within thirty minutes of closing time. All materials must be returned to the circulation desk fifteen minutes before closing.

Some book and manuscript collections are in remote storage and must be requested at least three days in advance of anticipated use. Please contact the Ransom Center well in advance to request offsite materials.

Materials from the Photography, Performing Arts, Film, and Art Collections may not be available on Saturdays, unless previous arrangements have been made to place them on reserve. Because of limited staffing and access restrictions, some materials may not be available due to size, condition, preservation and handling concerns, storage location, or security reasons.

To ensure you are able to view the materials you wish to see, curatorial staff should be consulted regarding access to collections and their availability. We strongly encourage patrons to contact us before visiting.

The Reading and Viewing Rooms are closed on all University holidays. Researchers should confirm current library hours and closings by contacting the Ransom Center at 512-471-9119 or online.

Getting Started

The size of the Center's collections can be overwhelming. For a helpful subject overview of the principal holdings, consult the online Guide to the Collections. You may also wish to browse departmental holdings using the links at the top of this page. The collections pages contain useful information about accessing particular kinds of materials.

We also recommend that you consult the Search the Collections page and contact an appropriate staff member to ensure a complete search. Public services staff will answer queries as quickly as possible, but please allow up to two weeks for a response because of the heavy volume of inquiries we receive.

Important Information about Access to Collections

All materials in the Harry Ransom Center collections are non-circulating. They are housed in closed stacks (except for the reference collection) and will be delivered to your desk in the Reading and Viewing Rooms. Some book and manuscript collections are in remote storage and must be requested at least three days in advance of anticipated use.

Materials from the Photography, Performing Arts, Film, and Art Collections may not be available for paging on Saturdays, unless previous arrangements were made for materials to be placed on reserve. Many materials from these collections must be requested in advance; please consult specific policies on the use of sculpture and paintings and costumes.

Curatorial staff are able to advise you regarding access to and availability of particular collections. We strongly encourage out-of-town patrons to contact us before arrival. It is important to note that the summer months are an extremely busy period, and if your schedule is flexible, we recommend visiting at another time of the year.

Reproductions and Publication

Users may either request research copies of Ransom Center materials or make them themselves using a digital camera; the Center's Materials Use Policy specifies that all reproductions made for publication must be produced by the Center's staff. A variety of reproduction formats is available, depending on the type of material. Those who wish to make their own research copies should familiarize themselves with the terms of the Digital Camera Use Policy. Users who wish to order reproductions for research or publication should first consult the Photoduplication Fee Schedule and must complete a Photoduplication Order Form. The Center reserves the right to deny requests for copies based on condition or copyright status and to limit the size of orders or the number of copies made by those using cameras.

Fees may be assessed for the use of Ransom Center materials in publications, performances, audio-visual productions, and exhibitions. Other fees may apply when the Center is also the copyright holder. We require that users who wish to make such use of our materials submit the appropriate Notification of Intent form. Fees are assessed based on the publication fee schedule.


The Center has three rooms available for class use on the second floor: the Denius Seminar Room (seats 35), the Feldman Seminar Room (seats 20), and the Zarrow Family Visual Materials Seminar Room (seats 20). Use of these rooms is generally limited to college and university classes making use of the Center's collections. Arrangements for the use of the seminar and viewing rooms must be made well in advance; a reservation form and accompanying guidelines are available on this site. Because of heavy demands on staff and classroom space, we are unable to accommodate elementary or high school classes, except for a limited number of Advanced Placement classes, subject to availability and staff approval. As an alternative, the Ransom Center welcomes school tours of its galleries. To schedule a gallery tour, please complete a tour request form or call 512-475-8086. Two to four weeks advance notice is appreciated.


The Reading Room Will Be Closed:

Monday, May 27
Thursday, July 4

Always closed on Sundays