About the Library

Confidentiality of Library User Records

The UT Health Science Center Libraries respect the privacy rights of all customers regarding the use of library facilities. In general, the First Amendment, and the confidentiality of library records, takes precedence over everything except for national security, the threat of immediate injury or harm, and illegal activity.

Appendices 1-4 define the policies and codes that support the library’s position on confidentiality of records. Upon receiving a request from a law enforcement agent, library staff should not turn over any user records but should immediately contact the Executive Director of Libraries or a division director and the Office of Legal Affairs.


Library user records will not be made available to any individual or to any agency of local, state or federal government, except under the following circumstances:

  1. The library may disclose personal records at its discretion if it is necessary to carry out library policy (i.e. borrower records may be turned over to University Police in the course of attempts to collect overdue library materials).
  2. A library user may request his/her own records.
  3. The library may turn over library use records, if the library is served a valid process, subpoena or court order by a law enforcement agency or prosecutor, or a National Security Letter (NSL). The Office of Legal Affairs is the appropriate office on campus to receive the process and will direct the library in complying with the valid process, subpoena, etc. Whenever possible, library administration will consult with the Office of Legal Affairs before turning over personally identifiable information.


All library staff with access to library user records are responsible for implementation of this policy.


This policy applies to all library records, including but not limited to records relating to registration for use of BLIS, Ovid or EZProxy, circulation transaction records, computer database searches, use of electronic full-text resources, online search requests, interlibrary loan requests, reference queries, requests for photocopies of library materials, electronic article delivery requests, title reserve requests, use of library computers, browser history, software, servers and the Internet, and the use of audiovisual materials.


  1. If approached by a law enforcement officer or prosecutor wishing access to user records, library staff should not respond immediately, but should refer the officer or prosecutor to the person in charge of the library at that time. During normal business hours, the Executive Director of Libraries, a Director or Associate Director should be contacted. If the records request should occur outside of UT Health Science Center business hours (Monday- Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) Rajia Tobia, Executive Director of Libraries, should be contacted using the library’s emergency contact list located on the intranet. If the Executive Director of Libraries is not available, staff on the main campus should call in this order Jonquil Feldman, Director of Briscoe Library Services, Luke Rosenberger, Director of Library Technology, John Weed, Head of Collection Resources, or Keith Cogdill, Director of South Texas Regional Information Services. Staff at branch libraries should contact Keith Cogdill if Rajia Tobia is not available; if neither is available, branch staff should follow the calling sequence for the main campus. Depending on the situation before complying with the request, library administration should contact the Office of Legal Affairs for handling or further instructions, (210) 567-2020. Subpoenas and other documents issued by a court should be delivered by the server to the Office of Legal Affairs.
  2. The Executive Director of Libraries or the director’s representative will speak with the officer or prosecutor, and explain policy as necessary. If the officer or prosecutor has a process, subpoena or court order, the Office of Legal Affairs will verify that the order is in proper form and has been issued with sufficient cause. If no valid papers are presented, the library may refuse to turn over requested records but this determination should be made in consultation with the Office of Legal Affairs. If the subpoena or court order is found to be valid, library staff will produce all records covered in the scope of that order. Staff should follow the subpoena strictly and should not provide any records that are not specifically requested in the legal document. It should be noted that because of the university’s records retention policy, limited retention of circulation records and routine maintenance of equipment such as computer hard disks, requested records may no longer be available. Once a valid legal request for a library use record has been made, if the record or records still exist, then the record should be retained and not destroyed.
  3. Requests for library user records issued under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), as amended by the USA PATRIOT Act, may contain a “gag” order: the request must be kept confidential and staff may not discuss the incident except with a supervisor, the Executive Director of Libraries or the director’s representative, and the Office of Legal Affairs. No information about the request may be disclosed to any other party including the library user whose records are the subject of the search. A federal district court recently ruled this provision of FISA unconstitutional; however, the government is appealing the court’s decision, and the lower court’s decision is stayed while the government appeals. Therefore, the library must continue to follow the provisions of FISA.
  4. Library staff should contact University Police if they have reason to believe that illegal activity is taking place as result of a user’s inappropriate use of the library’s computer resources. Examples of illegal activities include accessing child pornography or terrorism related activities. In these circumstances, it is preferable that the illegal activity be directly observed by the law enforcement officer.
  5. Occasions may arise when a library patron is using a library computer in violation of the library’s Computer Use Policy (http://www.library.uthscsa.edu/about/computeruse.cfm) which states that playing games or viewing pornographic material is unacceptable. If observed or if a library staff member receives a complaint, library staff is authorized to make the patron aware of the Computer Use Policy. If the patron persists with the unacceptable activity, then library staff are authorized to contact UT Police for further assistance.


Appendix 1: Texas Government Code, Section 552.124 (2000) Exception: Records of Library or Library System.

Appendix 2: The USA PATRIOT Act

Appendix 3: ALA Policy Manual (c2002) 52.4 Confidentiality of Library Records

Appendix 4: Library Bill of Rights

Approved by Virginia Bowden, Library Director 6/5/2003
Approved by Mary Moore,
Director of Libraries 2/11/05
Revised and approved by Rajia Tobia,
Executive Director of Libraries 10/17/2008

Revised and approved by Rajia Tobia, Executive Director of Libraries 8/26/2010

Appendix 1

Texas Government Code, Section 552.124 (2000) Exception: Records of Library or Library System.

  1. A record of a library or library system, supported in whole or in part by public funds that identifies or serves to identify a person who requested, obtained, or used a library material or service is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021 unless the record is disclosed:
    1. because the library or library system determines that disclosure is reasonably necessary for the operation of the library or library system and the record is not confidential under other state or federal law;
    2. under Section 552.023 [Note: This refers to a person’s right to see his/her own records]; or
    3. to a law enforcement agency or a prosecutor under a court order or subpoena obtained after showing a district court that:
      1. disclosure of the record is necessary to protect the public safety; or
      2. the record is evidence of an offense or constitutes evidence that a particular person committed an offense.
  2. A record of a library or library system that is excepted from required disclosure under this section is confidential.

Appendix 2

The USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) of 2001 became law on October 26, 2001. Details of this law can be found at the ALA web site: http://www.ala.org/alaorg/oif/usapatriotact.html.

Appendix 3

The following is from the ALA Policy Manual (c2002):

52.4 Confidentiality of Library Records

The ethical responsibilities of librarians, as well as statues in most states and the District of Columbia, protect the privacy of library users. Confidentiality extends to “information sought or received, and materials consulted, borrowed, acquired,” and includes database search records, interlibrary loan records, and other personally identifiable uses of library materials, facilities, or services.

The American Library Association recognizes that law enforcement agencies and officers may occasionally believe that library records contain information which may be helpful to the investigation of criminal activity. If there is a reasonable basis to believe such records are necessary to the progress of an investigation or prosecution, the American judicial system provides mechanism for seeking release of such confidential records: the issuance of a court order, following a showing of good cause based on specific facts, by a court of competent jurisdiction.

The American Library Association strongly recommends that the responsible officers in each library, cooperative system, and consortium in the United States:

  1. Formally adopt a policy which specifically recognizes its circulation records and other records identifying the names of library users with specific materials to be confidential.
  2. Advise all librarians and library employees that such records shall not be made available to any agency of state, federal, or local government except pursuant to such process, order, or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of, and pursuant to, federal, state, or local law relating to civil, criminal, or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigatory power.
  3. Resist the issuance or enforcement of such process, order, or subpoena until such time as a proper showing of good cause has been made in a court of competent jurisdiction.

(Revised July 1999)

Appendix 4

Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  6. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Adopted June 18, 1948, by the ALA Council; amended February 2, 1961; amended June 28, 1967; amended January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 24, 1996.

Contact Us

To find contact information for our librarians and staff, please see our Staff Directory.

Dolph Briscoe, Jr. Library

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Dr., MSC 7940
San Antonio, TX 78229-3900

  • Administration Offices: (210) 567-2408
  • Circulation Services: (210) 567-2440
  • Fax: (210) 567-1044
  • Information and Research Services: (210) 567-2450
  • Interlibrary Loan: (210) 567-2460
  • Records Management: (210) 567-2428

Mario E. Ramirez, M.D. Library – RAHC

Regional Academic Health Center
2102 Treasure Hills Blvd.
Harlingen, TX 78550-8736

  • Phone: (956) 365-8850
  • Fax: (956) 365-8856

Laredo Regional Campus Library

Academic Building
1937 E. Bustamante St.
Laredo, TX 78041

  • Phone: (956) 523-7404 or (956) 523-7426

Jesse H. Jones Comprehensive Research Library at the TRP

SBC Conference Center
15355 Lambda Drive
San Antonio, Texas 78245

  • Phone: (210) 567-2450

Courtesy Borrowers

Residents of the State of Texas age 18 years or older are eligible for a variety of services, including:

  • Books and audio/visual materials
  • Journals—print or electronic, accessed from any of the UT Health Science Center Libraries
  • Library computers (time limit)
  • Online search service (fee)
  • Photocopy and printing (fee)
  • Typewriter

Due to licensing agreements and contracts, off-site access to electronic journals, books and databases is available only to currently employed or retired faculty and staff, and currently enrolled students.

Loan periods for circulating material

Material Type

Loan Period

# of Renewals Allowed


14 days








Print Reserve materials

3 hours


Library Registration

  • Create an account for book checkout.
  • The annual fee for Courtesy Borrowers is $35
  • You may register in person at the Briscoe Library Circulation Desk or at the Ramirez or Laredo Regional Campus Libraries
  • A state-issued ID (current driver’s license or passport) is required to register
  • Registration is valid for one year from date of issue and may be extended annually with payment
  • Registration cannot be renewed until all fines and other obligations have been cleared.

Library Collection Use

Users may have up to 3 items checked out at any given time.

Disaster Plan: Appendices


APPENDIX 1: Briscoe Library Floor Maps

APPENDIX 2: Emergency Evacuation Team (Briscoe)

APPENDIX 3: List of Most Valuable Books, Records and Equipment–Not publicly available

APPENDIX 4: Emergency Salvage of Wet Books and Records

APPENDIX 5: Packing and Removal of Wet Library Materials

APPENDIX 6: Departmental Emergency Evacuation Procedures

Disaster Team Leader: Jonquil Feldman

Office Phone:  210-567-2430

Emergency Contact Information is on the Staff Intranet (not publicly available).

Regular Duties related to Disaster Planning

  • Calls regular meetings of the Disaster Team throughout the year
  • Ensures the disaster plan is updated annually or as needed
  • Maintains an emergency telephone and email contact list so that employees and other appropriate people are notified quickly after disaster strikes
  • Ensures that library staff are registered to receive HSC Alerts
  • Coordinates with Executive Director to work with the Department of Environmental Health and Safety and UT Police to ensure Library is in consistent compliance with broader disaster management policies
  • Establishes and maintains relationships with recovery companies

During and After a Disaster

  • Consults with Executive Director regarding building closure; follows guidelines in the Business Continuity Plan
  • Notifies division heads and  disaster team members of imminent danger or building closure (begins the telephone tree process)
  • Ensures a recording is made on the main line, 567-2400, stating the Library is closed and providing other pertinent information
  • Establishes a command center and delegates staff assignments as needed
  • Contacts Office of the President, External Affairs with library-related announcements, including library closure and reopening.  Does not contact media directly.
  • Ensures that library closure and reopening announcements are posted on website and in other media by Web Team
  • Works with Administration, Circulation, On-Call Librarian Services and Interlibrary Loan to ensure that voicemail recordings are changed to reflect current hours of service and contact information.
  • Oversees overall management of recovery and salvage operations
  • Supervises delivery and installation of equipment needed in recovery efforts
  • Assesses and records damage with other disaster team members
  • Identifies storage space for priority recovery list items
  • Receives reports from disaster team members
  • Prepares a post-disaster report


Back to Library Disaster Team list.

Emergency & Recovery Contact Information

Emergency conditions are normally managed by UT Police, Facilities Management, and Environmental Health & Safety (for significant disasters).  Contact the appropriate department directly as listed below.

Local Contacts

Library AdministrationRefer to the Library Administration Chain of Command
Staff Emergency Contact Information is on the Staff Intranet (not publicly available).
University Police From main campus
From off campus
Harlingen (RAHC)
Facilities Management 210-567-2885 (M-F 8:00 am – 5:00 pm) 210-567-2947 (all other times)
Housekeeping 210-567-2935
210-567-2947 (all other times)
Locksmith 210-567-2794
210-567-2947 (all other times)
UT Health Science Center Environmental Health & Safety Dept.
Business Hours
After Hours
Networks and Server damage    UT HSC Computing Resources    UT HSC Systems & Network Operations (SNO) 210-567- 2280

Security Agency Contacts                                           

UT Police, Facilities Management or Environmental Health & Safety will contact the appropriate agencies.

University Police

From main campus
From off campus
Harlingen (RAHC)
City/County Security 99-911
State Security Agencies Public Safety Department 210-531-2200
Federal Security Agencies Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms 210-225-6741

210-805-2727  or  800-283-4867

Department of Homeland Security Regional Office 210-472-6030


Recovery Services Contacts


Organization Name Contact Information
BMS Catastrophe (Blackmon Mooring) 24-hr phone number: 800-433-2940
BELFOR 800-686-3333 
Eagle Environmental (hazardous spills and contaminants) 800-336-0909
Munters 800-686-8377 

Back to Disaster Plan

Emergency Building Evacuation Procedures

For general guidelines, refer to the UT Police Emergency Preparedness Manual.

Campus Status information can be found on this site: http://www.uthscsa.edu/status.asp.

When a fire alarm sounds inside the library building, or in the event of a campus emergency situation the following steps must be taken to evacuate the library:

  • Designated Evacuation Team Members are responsible for grabbing their cell phones to communicate with staff on the other floors and with the Evacuation Team.
  • Evacuation team members on each floor are responsible to evacuate staff and patrons through the nearest exit in a timely manner and to minimize possible injury from the hazards of the emergency (i.e. smoke, burns).
  • Check the stacks, seating area and restrooms for lagging library users; make sure they exit through the nearest available door.  If a user refuses to leave the building, note the user’s location and continue to evacuate the building.  Give information on where they were last seen to the emergency crews when they arrive.
  • Physically challenged persons will be accompanied/assisted out of the building.  See Appendix 1 for a map showing exits and the location of the emergency exit chair.  Should this not be feasible, the escort must get them to emergency exit such as the stairwell, ask others to inform emergency crews of their whereabouts and remain with them until further assistance arrives.
  • In the process of evacuating the building, staff should inspect their floors for smoke, fire, injuries or other emergencies and relay this information to the Evacuation Team Coordinator.  Only attempt to put out a fire if it is small and you have been trained to use the fire extinguisher.
  • Upon evacuation, library staff are to meet at the designated meeting place, which is the motorcycle area of Lot 2, close to Dental Drive.   Each supervisor or designee should attempt to account for his/her staff.  See Appendix 6 for details on Departmental Emergency Evacuation Procedures. Library staff at the designated meeting place will be notified via radio when the Safety Officer gives the all clear to return to the library building.
  • Only UT Police, the Fire Chief, or Environmental Health & Safety officers can give the all clear to return to the building.
  • The Evacuation Team Coordinator and the Disaster Team Leader will remain near the library entrance (if safe) to keep people from entering the building, unless they are emergency personnel, and to act as liaison between emergency services and library administration
  • Upon return, please check your work areas for any damage to personal property, workspace and the building that were not there before the alarm, and report them to the building fire marshal or library administration office.
  • On evenings or weekends, the Evening/Weekend Manager on duty will send available staff to evacuate the floors.  The manager will remain on the 3rd floor, notify UT Police of the alarm and send officers to help with evacuation and crowd control.


Back to Disaster Plan

Evacuation Management Team Coordinator: Ken Wise

Office Phone:  210-567-2440

Emergency Contact Information is on the Staff Intranet (not publicly available).

Regular Duties related to Disaster Planning

  • Leads an evacuation management team with representatives from every area of the library
  • Coordinates, with the Evacuation Team, evacuation procedures for the Briscoe Library
  • Conducts periodic drills, with Environmental Health and Safety
  • Maintains certification in basic first aid
  • Ensures that items on the first aid kit list are available and up-to-date.

During and After a Disaster

  • Mobilizes evacuation management team to evacuate the Library building
  • Assists Executive Director and disaster team leader in keeping open communications with UT Police and Department of Environmental Safety and Health
  • Gives first aid only if unable to obtain help from medical personnel or UT Police.  Calls 911 for an ambulance when needed.
  • Keeps first aid supply stocked
  • Ensures that any used disaster supply items are replenished


Back to Library Disaster Team list.

Executive Director of Libraries: Rajia Tobia

Office Phone:  210-567-2413

Emergency Contact Information is on the Staff Intranet (not publicly available).

Regular Duties related to Disaster Planning

  • Works with Department of Environmental Health and Safety and UT Police to ensure Library is in consistent compliance with broader disaster management policies
  • Coordinates update of Business Continuity Plan (not publicly available)

During and After a Disaster

  • Maintains direct communication with UT Police , Department of Environmental Health and Safety, and Office of the President
  • Activates Business Continuity Plan
  • Works with Office of Business Affairs to process insurance claims
  • Works with Facilities Management on the restoration of the Library
  • Authorizes payment for supplies and services as needed


Back to Library Disaster Team list.

Facts and Figures about The Libraries

September 1, 2011 through August 31, 2012

Collection Facts

  • Print book and journal volumes:  183,083
  • Print book volumes: 95,553
  • Book titles cataloged: 512
  • Book titles ordered: 365
  • Total unique active health sciences journal titles: 4316
  • Total journals available electronically: 25,000 (estimate)
  • Health Science journals available electronically:  3,832
  • Journals available in print only:  84

*Serials count includes journal titles and serial  standing orders


  • Reference transactions, all locations:  4,365
  • Circulation, all locations: 26,697
  • Classes offered, all locations:  164
  • Attendance at classes:  4,401
  • Interlibrary loan requests filled by other libraries:  2,024
  • Interlibrary loan requests filled for other libraries:  8,041
  • Literature searches completed: 73

Building Use

  • Entrance gate count, all locations:  438,297

Electronic Resource Use

  • Library web pages viewed: 751,331

Most Heavily Used Electronic Journals

  • Journal of Biological Chemistry
  • Nature
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • PLoS One
  • Cancer Research
  • Science
  • Cell
  • Journal of Neuroscience
  • Blood
  • Journal of Immunology
  • Lancet