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Special Collections & University Archives: Research Services & Guidelines

Visit Us

*Hours are subject to change without prior notice.*

Brownsville Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday
8:30 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.

Request a research appointment


Contact Us

(956) 882-7968

*Hours are subject to change without prior notice.*

Edinburg Hours of Operation

Tuesday - Thursday
8:00 A.M. - 8:00 P.M.

8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.

9:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.

Sunday & Monday

Contact Us

(956) 665-2726

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Current Exhibits

2nd Floor Wall Gallery:

War and Piece of the Rio Grande

3rd Floor Wall Gallery:

Borderlines: Drawing Border Lives

3rd Floor Gallery Cases:


Library Lobby:

Gabrielle Casas Art Exhibit

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Consultations are available in Brownsville and Edinburg for researchers and visiting scholars, who are interested in our collections. Please read the guidelines before requesting a research appointment.

Guidelines for Research Access

Our materials are unique, often old, and sometimes brittle or easily damaged. We request that you respect these User Guidelines to help preserve the documents for future use.

Before Your Visit

Check published sources to gain as much information about your topic as possible, including names, dates, and places.

Search our online finding aids (for archival materials) and online catalog (for books, newspapers, maps) to find out what resources we have. If you don't find what you are looking for, we have additional collections which have not yet been described online.

Please contact us at 956.882.7968 (Brownsville) or 956.665.2726 (Edinburg), or email us at to let us know what you are interested in viewing, or for further assistance. Describe your request as well as you can including names, dates, places, and specific documents. If you can provide us with box information from the finding aid, that is even better. This will allow you to use your time wisely when you are here, and may prevent you from making an unnecessary trip.

When you arrive at the Archives, you will be asked to submit a Registration form and a photo ID before you are allowed to view any materials. To protect our documents, you will only be allowed paper, pencils, camera, laptop and audio recorders in the Reading Room.


Researchers are required to register on their first visit. You must agree to abide by these guidelines and policies before you are given any materials. You will be asked to show photo identification, and fill out a registration form.

Personal Belongings

For the safe-keeping of our documents, patrons are only permitted to bring paper, pencils (no pens), laptops, cameras, and audio recorders into the reading room. We will provide paper and pencils if requested. You will be provided with lockers to put your backpacks, purses, binders, books, jackets, or any other personal items. Cell phone use (other than camera use) is not permitted. Archival materials may not be removed from the Reading Room. All personal items used in the Reading Room are subject to being searched as you leave.

Rules for Handling Archival Materials

Archival materials are shelved in closed stacks. A staff member will bring the materials to you. All materials housed in Archives are to remain within the Reading Room. At no time are materials allowed outside of the Reading Room. Every researcher is responsible for assisting in the preservation of our documents. The following rules are intended to protect and preserve our archival materials to ensure that the information they contain is available for subsequent visitors. Patrons who carelessly handle materials may be denied further access.

Maintain order

The order and arrangement of the materials may be important to a researcher. Follow these rules to maintain that order:

  1. Only one folder may be removed from a box a time.
  2. Use a document marker to hold its place in the box.
  3. Pages will stay in order if turned like the pages of a book.
  4. Items are not to be removed from the folder.
  5. If you find any problems (such as pages out of order, torn or marked pages), notify a staff member. Do not try to fix or rearrange the items yourself.
  6. If you find any materials that are stapled together, please notify a staff member. Do not try to remove any staples yourself.

Handle with care

Researchers are asked to respect the fragile nature of the research material, to handle it with care.

  1. Documents must be handled only with clean, dry hands.
  2. For particularly vulnerable materials such as historical photographs, staff will provide cotton gloves. At all times, please avoid touching the surface of any photographic image, slide, or other graphic material.
  3. Keep the folder flat on the table. Documents are not to be placed in a lap or propped against the edge of the table.
  4. Turn pages slowly and carefully, touching only the margins if possible to prevent damaging or soiling the surface of the paper.
  5. Do not lean on or put undue pressure on documents. Do not put pages of note paper, note cards, or other objects on top of original material to take notes.
  6. Do not use post-it notes, fold pages, trace, add or erase marks from materials, or handle in any way likely to result in damage.

Failure to comply with these rules may result in denial of access to the collections. Theft or mutilation of the holdings is a crime that may be prosecuted. These rules are enforced to ensure the protection of the unique materials.

Copying Policy and Procedure

You are allowed to make copies using your own digital camera. A camera stand is provided. Flash is not allowed.

Copyright and Publications

It is the researcher's responsibility to conform to all legal, literary, property rights, libel laws and copyright provisions attached to the materials used. Special Collections and University Archives is not responsible for the infringement of any such laws. If you wish to duplicate materials for use in a publication or on a website, please speak with a staff member. You must sign Copyright Compliance and Provisions for Use Form where you agree to abide by any copyright laws, and agree to provide the Archives with a copy of whatever you published (report, article, etc.).


Please use the following format for citation of archival materials used in research and publication:

[Title of Collection]; [item description], [dates]. [Number of Collection], Box [#], Folder [#], [name of item, e.g. Photograph of McAllen, 1951]. University Library, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, [Edinburg or Brownsville], Texas. 

Licensing and Reproductions

If you would like to use one or more of Special Collections & University Archives' resources for publication, whether in print or online, you must fill out a licensing and reproduction form. Please complete the Agreement for Use of Reproductions of Materials and email it to We will consider your request and get back to you shortly. Feel free to contact us for additional assistance, or with any questions that you may have.