AUSTIN, Texas—The year was 1977. The top music single was Debbie Boone’s “You Light Up My Life” and the movie Annie Hall was inspiring a fashion trend. It was the year Apple Computer introduced its Apple II model in an innovative plastic case (1 Mhz speed, no hard drive) for $1,298.
On Aug. 16, 1977, Elvis died. Less than two weeks later the Perry-Castañeda with 500,673 gross square feet of floor space (four times the space in the old Main Library) opened for business as the new open-stack library serving the humanities, social sciences, business, education, social work, nursing and a variety of studies areas (Eastern European, Asian, Middle Eastern, Hebraica and Judaica).
Since that opening 25 years ago, the Perry-Castañeda Library (PCL) has circulated 32 million items, mostly books. Staff have answered about five million reference questions, mainly onsite in the Reference and Information Services area. More than 40 million information seekers have walked through its doors.
Things have changed since 1977. There’s now the World Wide Web. The library portal, UT Library Online, offers access to more than 200 full-text databases covering all subject areas, 5,000 digitized maps, 6,700 full-text electronic journals, including access to more than 100 million articles that are not on the public Internet, 47,000 electronic books, hundreds of online newspapers, plus an online catalog providing information on the more than eight million items now available onsite within the university libraries.
Harold Billings, director of General Libraries — and acting director when PCL opened in August 1977 — said, “Despite the advent of the digital library, the Perry-Castañeda Library remains as important to campus scholars as when it opened 25 years ago, especially as it enables the knowledge-seeker to pursue both physical and digital information blended within its user-friendly space.”
The PCL will celebrate 25 years of service from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Aug. 29, on the PCL Plaza. There will be cookies and music. There’s also an exhibit in the PCL lobby on the history of PCL.
For more information contact: Carole Cable, General Libraries, 512-495-4382.