Information Resource Development Plan

Library Mission

The mission of the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio Libraries is to advance the teaching, research, patient care and service programs of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the health care programs of South Texas by providing library services and access to health sciences information. The Libraries support the mission and goals of the Health Science Center, and seek to build information resources to support the mission and goals. Information resource decisions are based on knowledge of the research, teaching, patient care, and service programs of the institution. Librarians seek opportunities to make decisions in keeping with the university’s mission and goals by interacting with faculty and students through the Library Committee, curriculum committees, instructional services, Library websites, and Library service points. In addition, Library staff seek opportunities to make decisions based on user input through periodic surveys, suggestions, focus groups, information resource recommendations, information use studies, and periodic collection evaluations.

UT Health Science Center at San Antonio Library Locations

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Library has several components located in San Antonio, Harlingen, and Laredo, including:

  • San Antonio
    • Briscoe Library, the central library
    • Jesse H. Jones Comprehensive Research Library at the Texas Research Park
    • Circuit Librarian Health Information Network (CLHIN)
  • Laredo
    • Laredo Regional Campus Library
    • Circuit Librarian Health Information Network (CLHIN)

The component libraries will be referred to as the Libraries in this document.

Who are the clients of the Health Science Center Libraries?

The UT Health Science Center is one of fifteen components of the University of Texas System. The Health Science Center schools include: Health Professions, Dental, Medical, Nursing and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Two branches of other University of Texas institutions are located on the campus: the UT Houston School of Public Health and the UT Austin School of Pharmacy.

UTHSC students, faculty, and staff on the main campus in San Antonio, in Harlingen, Edinburg, Laredo, and at other remote sites in San Antonio and in South Texas are the Libraries’ main clients. Students of the UT Houston School of Public Health and the UT Austin School of Pharmacy have the same privileges as UTHSC students. Physicians accepted in Graduate Medical Education residency programs of the UTHSC Medical School are considered students. Persons appointed by the UTHSC President through their respective departments as clinical or adjunct faculty have the same privileges as full faculty. Visiting faculty and students, volunteers, and students enrolled in joint programs between UTHSC and other universities such as UTSA have the same privileges as UTHSC faculty and students as long as they can provide documentation of their status.

The Libraries are open to the public. In addition, the Libraries provide some library privileges to area health professionals and local students from other universities. These privileges are detailed in the Borrowers Policy. All persons may access the Libraries’ electronic information resources within the library; however, due to licensing restrictions remote access is restricted to use by Health Science Center faculty, staff, residents, and students.

Collection Philosophy

Depth and Scope of Information Resources

Appendix A summarizes in detail collection policies for Information Resources.

An academic health sciences library should include the major information resources required for educating health professionals, clinical practice and research, and for basic biomedical research, including materials containing research reports, new findings, scientific experiment results, and other information useful to researchers. It also should include important reference works and a wide selection of specialized monographs, as well as print and/or online access to an extensive collection of journals and major indexing and abstracting services in the field.

The Libraries seek to anticipate the majority of the health sciences information needs of Health Science Center clientele so that appropriate material is available when and where it is needed. Electronic access will be provided by the Libraries to its clientele regardless of geographic location when this is feasible and meets user needs.

The Libraries strive to provide information resources at the research level[1][1] in the core subject areas of dentistry, medicine, nursing, the basic medical sciences, and selected allied health sciences. Most materials that are acquired for the collection are written in English, with selected titles acquired in Spanish. University educational programs range from the undergraduate level to the post-doctoral level, and the Libraries provide information resources appropriate to this range of student academic levels.

To a lesser degree the Libraries provide information resources in the related subject areas of public health, pharmacy, psychology, health care management, and library and information sciences. The Health Science Center does not have programs in the social sciences or humanities and therefore the Libraries do not provide information resources in these unrelated subject areas, unless resources in these disciplines are needed for a specific curriculum or program or are part of a larger resource package that includes health sciences titles. In general the Libraries do not provide information resources needed by clients in fulfillment of educational requirements at other institutions.

The Libraries provide general reference resources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, government statistical data, management and education resources, and legal and regulatory resources to support the routine operations of the university and the work-related reference information needs of its clientele.

The Briscoe Library has an historical collection of more than 5000 volumes, many of which were given to the Library by the Bexar County Medical Society (BCMS) in 1971. The historical collections were named in honor of Dr. Patrick Ireland Nixon, the Bexar County physician who was instrumental in the development of the BCMS historical collection. The Nixon Medical Historical Library includes more than 100 exceptionally rare books, including a Vesalius portfolio, Witherings’ An Account of the Foxglove, and other notable books. The Library accepts donations to this collection and purchases one or two volumes each year if funds are available.  In general, the collection focuses on materials published prior to the 20th century.

The Briscoe Library has been designated as the University Archives. The Archives currently contains materials from the early days of the Medical School, some UTHSC presidential papers, External Affairs documents, and publications such as the UTHSC News and the Mission. Local documents related to the history of the health sciences in San Antonio and South Texas are accepted by donation. There is an existing arrangement with the UTHSC Print Shop to send documents printed on campus to the Library on a routine basis. In 2000 the Library was assigned the responsibility for Records Management for the UTHSC. As such the Library has an opportunity to influence the archival policies and procedures of the UTHSC.

A limited number of health-related information resources intended for the general public are acquired. The Briscoe Library subscribes to a small number of general interest periodicals and leisure reading materials.

[1][1] Research Libraries Group defines a research level collection in a health sciences library as: “A collection which contains the major published source materials for dissertations and independent research, including specialized reference tools, conference proceedings, professional society publications, technical reports, government documents, multiple editions of most textbooks and monographs, including a significant number of titles pertinent to the subject in a recognized standard bibliography, and extensive collection of periodicals, including at least 65% of the titles pertinent to the subject in the List of Journals Indexed in Index Medicus. While English materials may predominate, the collection usually contains important materials in French, German, Spanish, Russian, and other languages. Older or superseded material are retained for historical research.” (Richard DT, Eakin D. Collection Development and Assessment in Health Sciences Libraries. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1997).

Branch Libraries

The Libraries includes several branch locations, with collection development policies suited to the needs of clients at each location:

  • The Jesse H. Jones Comprehensive Research Library is located at the Texas Research Park (TRP) in San Antonio. A small book collection is maintained at the Jones Library, focusing on the research areas of aging, genomics, proteomics, and related subjects. The electronic resources of the Libraries are available to the clients at the TRP. Books ordered for the TRP are generally not duplicated at the Briscoe Library due to cost.
  • The Laredo Regional Campus Library has a small collection of books and print journalsbackfiles in the subject areas related to student programs in Laredo. These programs are still being developed but currently include physician assistant studies and environmental studies. Laredo Library holdings are listed in the Library’s catalog and are generally duplicates of books owned by the Briscoe Library. The Laredo Library has access to the Library’s electronic resources.
  • The Circuit Librarian Health Information Network (CLHIN) does not have a collection but uses the collection of the Libraries.

All branch libraries have access to the entire collection at the Briscoe Library, whether through electronic access or delivery of documents.

Information Infrastructure

The Libraries are the largest information resource repository of the university and encompass facilities, collections, hardware, software, and staff. The Briscoe Library is housed in a building with approximately 70,000 square feet on four floors. The building includes over 200,000 print volumes that are organized for ease of use by Library clients. Library staff members maintain the collection, provide clients with tools for accessing its contents, and provide orientation, instruction and assistance in effectively using the array of information resources provided by the Libraries.

Computer workstations and software are required to access electronic resources, so the Libraries maintain and support a number of these for client and staff use. The Libraries seek to provide electronic resources that are compatible with the variety of computing platforms used by its clientele, including PCs and Macintosh computers for client use.

Although a few university departments maintain libraries, most of these are primarily conference rooms with shelves for personal subscriptions of the department’s faculty. The Nursing School’s Curriculum Resource Center is managed by the Nursing School but all acquisitions are listed in the Library’s catalog. The Drug Information Service also lists most of its resources in the Library’s catalog.

Funding Priorities

The Libraries receive state appropriations for purchasing books, serials, binding, and electronic resources.  A portion of the expenditures for the collection comes from other accounts, including RAHC, PUF LERR, special appropriations, fines, student fees, gifts, and an endowment.

Information resources expenditures by the Library can be divided into two categories: recurring expenditures and one-time expenditures. Information resources in the recurring expenditures category generally require an annual payment in order to continue receiving them. Examples include print and electronic journal subscriptions, database subscriptions (e.g., Ovid MEDLINE, CINAHL, etc.), licenses for electronic information resources, and regularly published directories, manuals and handbooks for current reference purposes. Information resources in the one-time expenditures category are one-time purchases that do not require additional annual payments once they are acquired. Examples include textbooks, audiovisuals, and computer-assisted instructional programs. Although binding expenses relate to journals, they can be considered as one-time expenditures.

Rapidly rising recurring costs could consume all funds identified for information resources and eliminate the ability of the Library to provide other types of information resources. In 1997 the Library established a target ratio for the allocation of information resource funds of 85:15 for recurring expenditures to one-time expenditures. One percent of the funds allocated for recurring expenditures is designated for subscriptions to new resources. Approximately 90% of the Library’s collection expenditures are focused on acquiring or licensing electronic resources. These decisions were endorsed by the Library Committee.

Collection Guidelines

  • Because of the various locations served by the Libraries and user demand, electronic access is the preferred medium for new journal acquisitions.
  • Print backfiles that have been digitized and stored in a reliable source, such as PubMed Central or electronic backfiles purchased from publishers, will be considered for storage or weeding.
  • Print backfiles of materials not available electronically are important, although a specific number of years of volumes to be retained on site for each title has not been established.
  • Equipment such as computer workstations, servers and applications software are integral to providing electronic information resources. In order to continue to provide current technology the Libraries will follow a computer equipment replacement cycle of 3-5 years for workstations, peripherals, servers, network equipment, and applications software.
  • Anyone may suggest a purchase or subscription for the Libraries. Recurring purchases such as journals will routinely be reviewed by librarians. Databases will occasionally be reviewed by faculty specialists and librarians. Books and other one time purchases are usually reviewed solely by librarians.

Information Resources Decisions

Library Committee — A Library Committee composed of representative faculty and students is appointed by the President to serve in a consultative and advisory capacity to the President and Vice President for Academic Administration and to work with and assist the Executive Director of Libraries in making recommendations for Library practices and procedures. The Committee addresses Library service issues from the users’ perspective and works with Library administration to get input from faculty, students and staff concerning proposed changes in Library policies, practices and facilities. The Committee has traditionally advised the Executive Director of Libraries and other Library staff about collection related issues.

Selection of resources — The Library has a finite budget within which it must operate, so that ultimate selection decisions must be made by Library staff. However, Library staff strives to make selection decisions in a consultative manner which is responsive to client needs, and selection decisions are always open to review and reconsideration. In general, selection decisions for continuing commitments, such as print and electronic journals and databases, will include wider consultation than selection of single items such as books. Information resources that require equipment, such as audiovisuals and computer software, are considered along with the availability of the required equipment. Audiovisuals and computer software are generally selected because they are related to current teaching programs, so faculty involved in these programs will be consulted in the selection process and departments may be asked to share in the cost of the materials.

Review of information resources — Information resources that represent recurring commitment of funds, such as journals, databases and continuously upgraded software, will be reviewed annually to determine if they should be continued, or change format, for example a print journal subscription changed to online only. Use of resources will be a primary factor in determining what materials will be candidates for discontinuation. Use can be measured by circulation counts, sampling of in house use, and access counts for electronic resources. Library clients will be advised of the candidates and provided with an opportunity to comment.

Retention of information resources — The Library seeks to retain one copy of primary resources in the core subject areas. The Library establishes retention periods for selected titles in the core subject areas, especially those frequently updated with new editions. Only selected general references are retained beyond the two most current editions for historical reference purposes, and generally only current material is retained. Library staff periodically reviews the collection to withdraw materials that are no longer current or are not likely to have historical merit. All material in the Special Collections is retained indefinitely.

Deselection — Material removed from the collection will be made available subject to the Rules of the University of Texas System Board of Regents for acquisition by other University of Texas System libraries. Following notification to UT System libraries, materials will be made available selectively to the campus community during occasional book giveaways sponsored by the Library. Charitable organizations may also receive deselected materials or donations not needed by the Library. The Library is not able to pay postage to transfer materials to other organizations.

Replacement of lost, damaged or missing materials – If a Library borrower loses or damages material, the Library charges the cost of the material plus a replacement and processing fee. If a book, journal, or other library material becomes missing or damaged beyond use, the Library will seek to replace the material if it is still in print, current, and in high demand. Missing items that are not replaced will be declared lost and removed from the Library’s catalog.

Duplication of material — Duplication of material is rare and generally avoided. However, heavy demand for materials requires that the Library occasionally purchase additional copies of items. This practice is usually limited to a small number of major textbooks. Library copies are not intended to replace personal copies of textbooks. Students are generally expected to purchase personal copies of texts and study materials. Duplicate copies of books generally are not retained after a new edition is added. The Library seeks electronic alternatives that provide clients with improved access to books and journals and that eliminate the need for duplicate print materials.

Electronic resources — Electronic resources are an important form of information resource provided by the Library in addition to print books and journals, and audiovisuals. In some cases electronic technology is used to create new forms of books, journals, etc., and in other cases it is used to produce an entirely unique information product. Decisions about electronic resources are subject to the same selection criteria as other information resources. In addition, these resources are evaluated for ease of use, availability of existing technology for use by Library clients, the availability of budget resources or collaboration partners, and the ability of the Library to comply with license conditions. The Library has adopted the World Wide Web as the standard for accessing electronic resources and will focus on resources that are available through the Web.

Licensing – Publishers of most electronic resources require acceptance of a licensing agreement for use of their resources. The Library will review licenses for electronic products such as software, databases, and electronic journals to determine if the terms of the license can be met and if they are favorable for Health Science Center users. In some cases a license may not be acceptable due to limitations specified in the license and in some cases the Library will attempt to negotiate more favorable terms. Favorable terms in a license include IP address authentication for Web products; authorized users to include Health Science Center faculty, staff, students, postgraduate trainees, and walk-in users in the Library building; remote use of the product by authorized users; permission to use either the electronic version or a print copy of the electronic version to supply interlibrary loan requests; ability to use in electronic course reserve and course management systems, and restrictions on printing or transmitting that are in accordance with the copyright law and its fair use guidelines. Licenses are reviewed by the university’s legal counsel and are signed by the Executive Vice President for Business Affairs, who is the campus’s authorized signatory.

Consortia Participation — The Library seeks to participate in consortia that can improve the Library’s collection. Consortia provide the opportunity to increase the Library’s buying power and to enhance the collection with electronic access to books and journals. For example, a consortium purchase of an electronic journal collection might typically include titles held by all University of Texas System component libraries or all titles published by a particular publisher. It is recognized that some consortia purchases will contain both titles in the health sciences as well as those not in scope for a health sciences collection. The Library participates in those consortia purchases that have at least some application to the health sciences or that are offered at no cost to the Health Science Center. Each consortium offer will be evaluated on an individual basis for its cost and benefit to the Health Science Center. The Library participates in the University of Texas System Digital Library, TexShare, and SCAMeL consortia and seeks to participate in other advantageous consortial opportunities as they develop.


Health Science Center partners — The Library seeks opportunities to work with other units of the Health Science Center to improve information resources available to the campus. Among others, the Library has worked collaboratively with the South Texas AHEC program, the South Texas Border Health Initiative, the Medical and Dental Hispanic Centers of Excellence, ACET, Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics, and Information Management Services to provide collection resources and services.

Other library partners — The Library is committed to participating in collaborations that effectively expand the availability of needed information resources to Health Science Center primary clientele. Collaboration among University of Texas System libraries and other libraries accelerated in the 1990’s and continues to evolve.

Access to Collection Information

Library Catalog — The Library maintains a catalog of its print and electronic information resources. The catalog operates on an Innovative Interfaces, Inc. platform and is available through the Web. The catalog contains information about holdings of the Libraries and several departmental collections such as those held by the Nursing Curriculum Resource Collection.

Libraries website — Library staff maintains the UT Health Science Center Libraries website, a central source for providing information about the Library and its collection. In addition to information about the Library, the website provides links to important electronic resources, such as electronic journals, databases, books, health sciences and general reference websites. Since both Library staff and clients seek information about Library resources by using both the catalog and the Library’s website, Library staff will provide links from both the catalog and the Library’s website to electronic information resources in order to maximize access to these resources.

Electronic Journals List and Link Resolver – The Library maintains an “A-Z List” of electronic journals available to the campus. The list includes subscribed titles, titles available in aggregator services and free or open access journals. An Open URL link resolver provides links to full-text references, the catalog, and interlibrary loan service from various databases. The link resolver works in conjunction with the knowledge base provided by the A-Z list.

Appendix A: Information Resource Guidelines


  • Electronic Journals — The Libraries seek to build a collection of electronic journals and balance electronic access with print access. The preferred medium for current journal subscriptions is electronic. New journal subscriptions are only entered in print format if there is no electronic version or if a requesting faculty member has a compelling reason to subscribe to the title in print form. Electronic format is preferred for several reasons. Electronic journals can be accessed by authorized users not only in the Library building but also in offices, homes, and off-campus sites. Electronic journals have capabilities such as rapid publication, hypertext linking, and multimedia applications. For existing print subscriptions duplicated in electronic form, the Library periodically reviews these titles to determine if both print and electronic copies are needed. Electronic journals frequently provide unique challenges including licensing issues, archival storage and rights, cost, and duplication of print journals. The Library generally subscribes to all electronic journals that are offered as a benefit of a print subscription as long as the license for the electronic journal is acceptable. The Library also selectively participates in consortium subscriptions to electronic journals that fall within the Library’s collection scope, provided sufficient funds are available. Examples of consortium purchases are the University of Texas System Digital Library consortium subscriptions to Elsevier ScienceDirect, Nature Online, Wiley Interscience and American Chemical Society Web Editions. The Library seeks recommendations for electronic journal subscriptions and will review these subscription requests in the same manner as print journals. If a trial period is available for an electronic journal title or collection, then the Library will activate a trial and seek input from faculty regarding the electronic journal. The Library maintains a proxy server to insure that authorized users can access electronic journals and other electronic resources from off-campus sites.
  • Print Journals — The Library’s print journal collection contains approximately 112,000 volumes with approximately 88 current titles received in print only format. The number of print journal subscriptions decreases each year as more publishers convert their journals to online format. Faculty opinion, interlibrary loan activity, consortium discounts, and cost are important factors in the decision process, and a journal generally is not added until it is indexed in a major biomedical database such as MEDLINE or CINAHL. Journals needed infrequently that are easily available through interlibrary loan channels may not be added, especially very expensive titles. Low use journals and those that do not meet a regular publishing schedule for an extended period generally are canceled after consultation with Library clients.
  •  Journal Backfiles — Retention of print backfiles will be determined on a title by title basis and will be predicated on such factors as availability of electronic backfiles, usage data, the need for shelving space, and the possibility of remote storage. In most cases, at least ten years of print backfiles are desirable. In some cases, electronic backfiles are available and may be purchased in lieu of keeping print backfiles.


  • The print book collection inclusive of all sites contains approximately 105,000 volumes. A wide range of books in the core subject areas is provided to support the diverse clientele of the Library, including books to support the undergraduate programs of the Schools of Health Professions and Nursing as those students begin to develop professional skills and knowledge, encyclopedic works in the medical and dental specialties, reviews for state and national license examinations, and specialized monographs for graduate and faculty research. In addition, general reference books such as dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, government statistical data, management and education resources, and legal and regulatory resources are provided to support the general information needs of Library clients. The Library provides electronic books in a wide array of subjects, including some major medical textbooks. The Library is committed to continuing to provide new books in the core subject areas and the related subject areas and has established a target allocation of funds in order to assure that funds will be available for needed new books.


  • The Library has a small collection of artifacts that are used for display and to compliment exhibits. Donors wishing to give artifacts to the Library may be referred to local museums, if a museum is a more appropriate location for the artifacts.


  • Resources such as videotapes, audiotapes, and slides are purchased very selectively to support the curriculum. Departments may be asked to share in the purchase of these materials.


  • Because the primary format for journals is now electronic, print journals will be bound very selectively. In general, the Library binds weekly journals due to the number of issues produced each year. Branch libraries do not bind journal titles held in their collections.

Compact Discs and DVDs

  • The Library purchases compact discs and DVDs selectively and may require a requesting department to share in the cost of a purchase. Most compact discs and DVDs are housed in the Libraries’ general collection; if a compact disc or DVD accompanies a print volume as a duplication of the book or as supplementary material, then the compact disc is generally kept with the book. Library clients may bring personal copies of health related compact discs and DVDs to the Library and view the discs on Library computers as long as this is allowed as part of the software license.

 Computer Software

  • Selected personal computer applications software for word processing, spreadsheet, database management, electronic mail, and necessary utilities software are provided on public computers in the Library. The Library will support the major computer platforms and applications products, and will seek to maintain current versions as major upgrades are released. Public use computers are also equipped with software to support use of information resources such as a current Web browser, Adobe Acrobat reader, and other multimedia software as necessary.

Computer-based instructional software

  • Software with direct application to existing or pending university courses and educational programs is provided in the Library’s collection after consultation with faculty and students. Software programs may be added to accommodate different learning styles, to reinforce classroom instruction, and to support independent instruction. The Library also has the facilities and infrastructure to provide clinical decision making and diagnostic support software programs to aid students in developing clinical skills. Departments may be asked to share the cost of computer-based instructional and diagnostic software because of their added impact on the Library’s staffing and equipment costs.

Consumer Health

  • The Library collects a small number of books written by authoritative sources at the consumer level. Consumer health books may be purchased in English or Spanish. In addition, TexShare provides consumer health oriented databases. Consumer health materials are added for use by both the general public and by faculty, staff, and students who need access to general consumer information for their patients. The Library seeks special funding through grants, contracts, and other sources to purchase consumer oriented materials.

Dissertation and Theses

  • In the past, the Library has kept two copies of theses and dissertations from the UTHSC Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. One copy of each dissertation was placed in the circulating collection and one copy was housed in the Archives. Recently, the Library began collaborating with the Graduate Dean’s Office to move toward digital dissertation submission and archiving. With electronic submission, the Library receives an electronic copy that is stored in the digital repository and made available with the author’s permission. If the author does not grant permission for general or limited full text availability through the repository, a “dark copy” of works not sent to UMI will be saved on the Library’s server, thus providing for the archival copy. As a general rule, the Library does not collect dissertations published at other universities, although Library staff will attempt to borrow dissertations through Interlibrary Loan or provide information about purchase of dissertations from other universities. In addition, the Digital Dissertations and Theses database provides full-text access to many dissertations. Bindery staff assists the Graduate Dean’s Office by processing and sending student dissertations to the state contract bindery.


  • The Library is committed to providing access to major databases that cover the core subject areas and provides a link resolver to provide links from databases to full-text resources. Priority databases include those created by the National Library of Medicine (MEDLINE, PubMed) and CINAHL for nursing and allied health literature. The Library recognizes the importance of current awareness tools and citation information and provides databases and electronic resources to meet these needs. Whenever possible, the Library provides databases through a Web interface and seeks databases and other electronic resources that provide full-text or links to full-text.

Exam Study Materials

  • Materials used to study for exams such as the USMLE, NCLEX, and Dental Boards are purchased selectively in order to assist students in studying for and passing these exams. Funds from the student Library Resource Fee are used to purchase these materials and in some cases, the appropriate school will be asked to fund purchase of specialized exam resources.

Gifts and Donations

  • The Library accepts gifts and donations of books, journals, and other materials if they are needed for the collection. Items donated to the Library are accepted with the understanding that, upon receipt, the Library becomes the owner of the material and reserves the right to determine retention and disposition of the material. Donors may be asked to submit a list of materials to be donated prior to acceptance of the donation. The Library follows the UT System Policy on Gift Acceptance and cannot provide valuations of donations for income tax or other purposes. Delivery to the Library of gifts and donations is the responsibility of the donor.

Internet Resources

  • The Library evaluates resources available through the Internet. Some external Web sites will be linked to the Library’s website or to the catalog as appropriate.

Leisure Reading

  • The Library provides a small collection of popular bestsellers through a book rental plan (McNaughton), as long as funds are identified to support this service. Generally, funds from donations and gifts are used to support the rental collection.  A book exchange is also maintained in the Leisure Reading area of the Library.


  • The Library does not actively collect materials in microform format. The Library does not have a microform reader/printer.


  • The Library subscribes to two nationally prominent newspapers and one local newspaper. Other newspapers are available through commercially available databases.

Reserve Collection (print, audiovisual, and software)

  • A collection of materials for Reserve use is located at the Circulation Desk. The Reserve collection consists of two components – Course Reserves and Core Reserves. Course Reserves are materials such as textbooks, photocopies, audiovisuals, computer programs, etc that have been placed on Reserve by an instructor for a particular class. Purchase of duplicate copies needed for Course Reserve is the responsibility of the requesting faculty member or department.  The Core Reserve collection consists of a small number of heavily used major textbooks, audiovisuals, and computer software selected for the Reserve collection by Library staff or at the request of faculty. Core Reserve materials are kept at the Circulation Desk to maximize their availability and to limit their circulation periods. Generally, only the most recent edition of a textbook is kept in the Core Reserve collection. Faculty requesting print, audiovisual, or electronic materials to be placed on Reserve are expected to sign a copyright compliance statement prior to processing the materials.  The Library does not maintain an electronic reserve system, since the campus Blackboard system is generally used for electronic copies of course materials.

Special Collections

  • The Special Collections includes the rare book collection, the archives, and the local medical history collection. The rare book collection contains approximately 5000 volumes published between the 15th and 21st centuries. Most books housed in the collection were published prior to the 20th century.  Rare books are added with designated funds or through gifts or donated materials. The current focus for the rare book collection is to add early American imprints or books which complement material already in the collection. The archives contain official papers voluntarily transferred to the Library by units of the Health Science Center and Library administrative papers. The university’s Records Retention schedule designates materials that are to be transferred to the archives from departmental files. The local health sciences history collection contains material documenting local health sciences history in South Texas including oral histories, public health records, photographs, diaries, etc.

Approved by the Library Committee, 2-3-97

Revision approved by Mary Moore, Ph.D., Director of Libraries, 6-23-2006
Revision approved by Rajia Tobia, Executive Director of Libraries, 1-29-2009

Revision approved by Rajia Tobia, Executive Director of Libraries, 10-12-2011

John P. Howe, MD III Conference Room Guidelines


Room Description

The Howe Conference Room, located on the fifth floor of the Briscoe Library, provides group meeting space for approximately 20 persons. The room may be reserved for special university functions by HSC faculty and administrative staff, subject to approval by the Senior Director of Libraries. Since this room houses more than 1500 rare books, special security and safety regulations in addition to general library policies must be observed at all times. Also, please note that this room is kept at a cooler temperature for preservation of the books. Bringing a sweater or jacket is recommended.

Reserving the Room

Room reservations are made by calling the library’s Administration Office at 210-567-2408 or by email to LeachSM@uthscsa.edu.

Room reservations are maintained in the library’s Howe Conference Room Outlook Calendar. Information required for the reservation include:

a) Name of the individual and department hosting the meeting or event
b) Department contact name and phone number
c) Name of caterer, if applicable
d) Whether equipment will be requested. (See below for audio-visual equipment or computer requests.)

The conference room is available for set-up and use only during regular library hours:

Monday – Thursday 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 midnight
Friday 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 midnight


Room Use Considerations

Furniture in the conference room may be rearranged. All tables must be unplugged before they are moved and they must be returned to their original configuration and plugged in at the conclusion of the meeting. Departments will be called to return room back to its original setting if this has not been done before 5:00 p.m. Extra furniture may not be stored in the fire exit stairwell for safety reasons.

Because the conference room is located on a fire exit route, it cannot be locked; therefore equipment or valuables should not be left unattended.  If a laptop is requested, it may not be set up until the day it is needed and must be removed when the room is vacated or by 5:00 p.m. Entrances and exits must not be blocked with tables, chairs, extension cords, etc.

Library staff may occasionally need to retrieve books from the conference room while a meeting is in progress. Although staff will try to hold requests for books until after meetings are concluded, they will enter if necessary.

Restrooms are located next to the main elevators on each floor. The library’s staff room telephone may not be used and staff are not responsible for taking messages. Mobile telephones may be used only in the hall near public restrooms.

Secretaries needed for on-call services during use of the conference room may use furniture by the elevators on the 5th floor. Lounge seating is also available in the public area outside the conference room entrance.


If food or refreshments are to be served, prior arrangements must be made with the library. The library should be notified of any food deliveries and the approximate time of arrival, ext. 7-2408. If University Dining Services is to cater the event, the main library entrance may be used: however, serving carts must be covered and the service elevator should be used. Other caterers should use the service entrance on the library’s south side.

The staff room and staff kitchen adjacent to the conference room may not be used by groups using the conference room unless special permission has been obtained from the library Administration Office, ext. 7-2408.


Because a portion of the library’s rare book collection is housed in the Howe Conference Room, it is extremely important that clean-up be conducted immediately following any meeting where food or drink is served, to mitigate pest infestation. If appropriate clean-up is not completed in a timely manner, the department or group reserving the room will lose privileges to reserve the Howe Conference Room in the future.

Groups using the conference room are responsible for making arrangements with Housekeeping to provide additional trash receptacles when necessary and remove trash, dishes, leftover food, etc., immediately after the conclusion of the meeting. If the meeting concludes at a time when Housekeeping is not available for clean-up, then it is the responsibility of the department making the reservation to assure that clean-up is completed. Special attention to clean-up should be made in the evening and during the weekend when Housekeeping is typically not available. Table cloths and/or place mats should be used to protect furniture. Both the credenza and the wooden tables in the room could be damaged if hot items are placed on their surfaces. Housekeeping should be notified immediately of any spills so that they can shampoo the carpet to prevent stains.

Audio-visual Equipment and Computer Requests

Arrangements to set up a laptop or other equipment (projectors, whiteboards, flipcharts, etc.) should be made with the AV Services Department at 210-567-2214. Groups requiring projectionist services should make arrangements with Classroom Services, ext. 7-2210. Groups may also supply their own laptop which can be connected to the video projector located in the conference room. Library staff do not provide equipment setup or support services. Problems with computers or equipment should be reported to 210-567-7777.


Persons using the conference room should note that it is located in a heavily used study area. Students have asked that persons entering and leaving the conference room be considerate and keep conversations outside the conference room to a minimum.

Any exception to these guidelines can be made only by the Senior Director of Libraries.

Updated 3/16/2017

Library Disaster Team

The Disaster Team Leader assumes a primary role in managing the disaster, working closely with the Senior Library Director and other staff.  The Senior Library Director will ultimately be responsible for all actions and decisions, based on advice from the Disaster Team, and in collaboration with University Police, Facilities Management, and Environmental Health and Safety.


The Library Disaster Team includes:

Senior Director of Libraries……………………………………………………………………………… Owen Ellard

Disaster Team Leader……………………………………………………………………………… Jonquil Feldman

        Resource Management Head………………………………………………………………………..  Andrea Schorr

Branch Libraries & Community Engagement…………………………………………………………  Peg Seger

Human Resources and Business Administrator…………………………………………. Herlinda Howard

Evacuation Management Team Coordinator………………………………………………….. Walter Creech

Library Technology Coordinator…………………………………………………………………..Jeremy Mercier

Records Management Coordinator………………………………………………………………….. Owen Ellard

Photographers/Disaster Documentation Representatives……….. Robert Zuniga & Walter Creech


UT Health Science Center Disaster Support:

Chief, UT Police……………………………………………………………………………………….. Michael Parks

Asst VP for Environmental Health and Safety………………………………………… Michael Charlton

Asst VP for Campus Operations, Facilities Management…………………………….. Darrell Maatsch

The Disaster Team will:

  • Coordinate with emergency services (University Police, Facilities Management, Environmental Health and Safety) to determine when and where it is safe to enter the building.
  • Prepare for recovery.  Contact BMS Catastrophe (1-800-433-2940, 210-542-4180-cell).
  • Once staff are allowed back into the building, assess the nature and extent of damage and take photographs to document the damage.
  • Identify a disaster command post with necessary communication equipment, desks, and supplies for directing the recovery effort.
  • Work with BMS Catastrophe to assemble pallets, cartons, book trucks, and work crews.
  • Make salvage decisions and take action quickly because mold can start growing on wet materials within 48 hours.

For more details on handling specific emergencies, consult Procedures for Campus Emergency Situations.

Back to Disaster Plan

Library Policies


Library Technology: Jeremy Mercier

Office Phone:  210-562-6805

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

Regular Duties related to Disaster Planning and Response

  • Follows guidelines in the Business Continuity Plan
  • Coordinates maintenance of temporary library Web site with access to key information resources to be hosted off-site
  • Activates the temporary website as needed

Coordinates with UT Health Science Center Systems, Network and Operations (SNO) & Academic Technology Services (ATS) to:

  • Develop backup plan to minimize loss of access to servers and resources
  • Secure and reestablish computer network and systems
  • Reestablish telephone connections
  • Reestablish computer security system

Coordinates with Property Control and Facilities Management to:

  • Remove damaged or destroyed equipment
  • Identify appropriate means for disposal of destroyed equipment (there are EPA guidelines for disposal of many types of equipment including printers and photocopiers)

Works with Senior Director of Libraries and Business Administrator to:

  • Replace destroyed equipment
  • Identify key servers and equipment that should be restored first


Back to Library Disaster Team list.

P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library Policies

UT Health Science Center Libraries Special Collections


Procedures for Use of P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library and the University Archives

The P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library and the University Archives is open to lay and professional researchers by appointment from Monday through Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, except on university holidays. The following procedures help preserve the material in the collections for future generations. Your understanding and cooperation is appreciated.

  1. The P. I. Nixon Library Reading Room is reserved for those using materials from the Special Collections. Rare books and archives may not be checked out or removed from the Reading Room.
  2. All patrons must register with the Special Collections staff and complete and sign a Research Agreement. Picture identification is required.
  3. Special Collections materials may be used only under supervision of Special Collections staff, who will assist patrons in identifying material to be reviewed and who will retrieve requested material for patrons.
  4. Library staff must be present in the Reading Room during the use of archival materials and rare books. Please notify Special Collections staff when you arrive and return materials to staff when you leave.
  5. Appointments are required if specific materials are requested. Staff need to know in advance as some materials are stored in remote locations. For rare books call 210-567-2406 or email finnie@uthscsa.edu; for archival materials call 210-567-2470 or email dethorne@uthscsa.edu
  6. No bags, brief cases, purses, notebooks, folders, binders, coats, or other personal property are allowed in the Reading Room. These should be given to Special Collections staff for safe keeping and will be returned when materials are turned back in. Personal computers are permitted, but computer carrying cases must be placed with staff.
  7. Use only pencil or personal computers for taking notes. No other writing implements or markers are allowed in the Reading Room during materials use. Do not mark materials in any way or fold pages.
  8. Only loose sheets of paper are allowed in the Reading Room for note taking and will be provided by staff.  PostIt NotesTM are not allowed. Patrons must present all material to Special Collections staff for checking prior to departure.
  9. Food and drink are not allowed in the Reading Room except for special functions approved by the Library.
  10. Unless special arrangements are made beforehand, no more than 2 books and/or 2 manuscript boxes will be retrieved at a time. No items will be retrieved after 4:00 pm.
  11. Cameras are welcome, but flash photography is not allowed.  Photography must be supervised by Special Collections staff and permission must be obtained for publication or reproduction of any Special Collections materials.
  1. Archival materials and rare books must be handled with great care. Staff will monitor the use and handling of materials at all times. Proper handling guidelines include, but are not limited to:
    • Handle papers one at a time, using both hands for support, and stack papers carefully. Do not pick up a stack of papers and tap them on the table to straighten them. If a document is in fragile condition, please request assistance from a staff member.
    • Do not make any marks, erasures, or any other changes on a document.
    • Keep all items on the table while being used. Place nothing in the lap or propped against the table. Staff can provide book cradles or supports for better viewing of books.
    • Place nothing on top of archival materials or books. Do not write on top of, fold anew, or trace materials.
    • Turn pages slowly and carefully, touching only the margins if possible.
    • Wear the cotton gloves provided when handling photographs and wash hands prior to handling rare books.
    • Notify staff if you notice any irregularities or incongruities in the description of the material and the actual material, or if you notice damaged materials.
  1. Tours of the Nixon Library can be arranged.  We welcome groups.

Note regarding photocopying and digitization: Staff will digitize or photocopy a portion of text for patrons. Some materials cannot be copied due to their condition or other restrictions. Materials larger than 11” X 17” will not be photocopied. Photocopies or digitization may be ordered at the time of visit and should be ready within 24 hours. There is no charge for Health Science Center personnel. Non-UT Health Science Center users will be charged 25 cents per photocopy or $25.00 per picture digitized, collected in advance. Fees may be charged for digitization of other materials, depending on the purpose and the amount of materials requested.

Please note that access to the collections of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library and the University Archives does not imply permission to copy, quote, publish, or otherwise make public use of any part of the collection. The researcher assumes the responsibility to secure such permissions, including permission from the UT Health Science Center Libraries, prior to use.


Photographers/Disaster Documentation Representatives: Robert Zuniga & Walter Creech

Robert Zuniga–Office Phone:  210-567-2084

Walter Creech–Office Phone: 210-567-2462

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

Duties related to Disaster Planning and Recovery

  • Maintains an inventory of library possessions
  • Photographs the damage to the collections and library contents, as well as damage to the building, if appropriate
  • Maintains a photographic record of recovery efforts


Back to Library Disaster Team list.

Policies for Emergency Closure


Before closing the library, always contact the Senior Library Director and the VP for Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs’ office (210-567-2004) for approval to close.  In the event of an emergency or campus closure, the Office of the President well send an HSC Alert through email and text message to mobile telephones. If the announcement says that only essential personnel must report to work, the Library will be closed. All staff are expected to sign up for HSC Alerts in order to be notified of campus closures.

The UT Health Science Center Handbook of Operational Procedures (http://www.uthscsa.edu/hop2000/8.3.1.pdf) outlines procedures for closing of the campus due to severe weather or during an emergency.  Campus Status information can be found on this site: http://www.uthscsa.edu/status.asp.

Notifications: If the library does not open on time or has an early closure, library staff will notify the public of any closures and status of the library through Web site updates, phone messages, social media and signage.

Inclement weather:  During business hours, the Library will close if the University President or his designee declares a campus closure and cancellation of classes due to extreme weather or an emergency or disaster.  After 5 pm or on weekends the Senior Library Director or his designee has authority to close the Library in case of extreme weather or an emergency.  Hours of work missed will be recorded as Administrative Leave. However, if an employee received prior approval for vacation or sick leave, then the absence will be recorded as vacation or sick leave, respectively.

The Library will open if the weather is severe but the campus is not closed.  Staff members are expected to make every reasonable effort to report to work.  If staff cannot safely make it to work, they should notify their supervisor by telephone immediately.  Hours of work missed if the campus is not closed will be handled like other absences and charged to vacation leave, or pay will be reduced.

Physical disaster that poses a threat to lives or property:  the Library will be evacuated and will close immediately.

Power failure:  University Police should be contacted at 7-2800. In the event of a power failure, the following guidelines apply:


Daylight Hours After Dark
Library will remain open for 30 minutes, to allow time for power to be restored Library will remain open for 15 minutes to allow time for power to be restored
After 30 minutes, the Library will be evacuated After 15 minutes the Library will be evacuated
Library staff must remain in contact for one additional hour Library staff must remain in contact for one additional hour
If the power is off for a total of 90 minutes, then the Library may be closed and staff sent home If power is not restored after a total of 30 minutes, then the Library will be closed and staff sent home
If power is restored earlier than 6 hours prior to closing time, night or weekend staff must return to re-open the Library If power is restored earlier than 6 hours prior to closing time, night or weekend staff must return to re-open the Library


Telephone outage:  As long as there is access to a cell phone to call UT Police, the library will remain open.

Water shutdown:  If the water is shut down in only the library building, the library will remain open. If the shutdown affects the Library and lecture hall buildings, then the Library will close due to unavailability of restrooms. If water is restored earlier than 6 hours prior to closing time, Library staff will return to re-open the Library.

Air conditioning shutdown: Generally, the Library will not close if the air conditioning is down for just a few hours or overnight. The decision to close is at the discretion of the Senior Library Director, and can be based upon the outside temperature at the time.


Back to Disaster Plan

Procedures for Campus Emergency Situations

If a disaster occurs, regular contact should be maintained with UT Police:

San Antonio                       911 or 210-567-2800

Laredo                                  956-523-7414

Chain of Command: The following Library Administration personnel should be notified that 911 has been dialed, during or after business hours:


Senior Library Director Owen Ellard
Director of Library and Outreach Services Jonquil Feldman
Head of Collection Resources John Weed
Head of Library Technology Jeremy Mercier
Records Management Officer Owen Ellard
Library Administrator Herlinda Howard


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

Procedures for Emergency Campus Situations


Active Shooter

If approached by a threatening person in the library or if a threatening situation is observed between staff and/or library users, staff members should either call the University Police (911 or 210-567-2800) directly or alert another staff member to do so.

If the person is directly in front of you or near the phone, the code for alerting police and other staff that there is a physical threat involved is to ask for Form 10-33.  A Panic Button located at the Circulation Desk will ring directly at the UT Police station.

If an active shooter (person carrying a weapon and/or actively engaged in shooting) is in the building, evacuate if possible. If unable to evacuate or if unsure where the shooter is, hide in a safe place where the shooter is less likely to find you.  Staff offices and most classrooms are best because they can be locked from inside.  Once in a safe place, call UT Police and explain the situation. Silence all cell phones and pagers.

If a suspect is in the vicinity, the university will notify the campus through HSC Alerts. Follow directions on how to react. If directed to evacuate the building and/or campus, grab your wallet/purse, lock your office door and evacuate immediately through the nearest exit and help others to escape, if possible.

More information can be found in this Active Shooter Pocket Card.

Biological Agents

Biological agents are organisms or toxins that have illness-producing effects on people, livestock and crops.  Because biological agents cannot necessarily be detected and may take time to grow and cause a disease, it is almost impossible to know that a biological attack has occurred.  If government officials become aware of a biological attack through an informant or warning by terrorists, they would most likely instruct citizens to either seek shelter where they are and seal the premises or evacuate immediately.  A person affected by a biological agent requires the immediate attention of professional medical personnel.  Some agents are contagious, and victims may need to be quarantined.  Also, some medical facilities may not receive victims for fear of contaminating the hospital population.  Contact UT Police, or Environmental Health & Safety officers and Library Administration.  Library Administration will determine whether to activate the Library Disaster Team.

Bomb Explosion

Evacuate the building.  If items are falling off bookshelves or from the ceiling, get under a sturdy table or desk until it is safe to leave the building.  Call University Police at 911. Contact Library Administration.  They will determine whether to activate the Library Disaster Team.

Bomb Threat

When responding to a phone-in bomb threat, remain calm and take the below-listed steps. Get as much information from the caller as possible. Keep the caller on the line and take notes on everything that is said.  If you have caller ID, note the phone number of caller. The following specific questions should be asked of the caller, even though it is unlikely the caller will provide personal information:

  • When is the bomb going to explode?
  • Where is the bomb right now?
  • What does the bomb look like?
  • What kind of bomb is it?
  • What will cause it to explode?
  • Did you place the bomb?
  • Why did you place the bomb?
  • Where are you calling from?
  • What is your address?
  • What is your name?
  • What is your phone number?

Write down the exact words of the call. Include any slang, jargon, or other distinctive words used.  Record the time that the call was received, the time the bomb is supposed to explode, and the time the call ends. Be alert to the characteristics of the caller’s voice and the background noises of the call.   Record the following information:

  • Male or female
  • Estimated age
  • Tone of voice
  • Accent
  • Background noises
  • Is the voice familiar?

If the caller allows conversation to continue, try to get to another telephone to alert the telephone operator.  Do not hang up because the operator may be able to assist in tracing the call.

After you have notified UT Police of a bomb threat, do not touch any suspicious packages.  Evacuate the building.

Chemical Agents

Chemical agents are poisonous gases, liquids or solids that have toxic effects on people, animals or plants.  Most chemical agents cause serious injuries or death.  Severity of injuries depends on the type and amount of the chemical agent used, and the duration of exposure.

In the event of a chemical agent attack, seek shelter immediately.  Do not leave the shelter to assist others as you could be fatally harmed.  Contact UT Police, or Environmental Health & Safety officers and Library Administration.  Library Administration will determine whether to activate the Library Disaster Team.


If you notice or detect smoke or fire:

  • Activate the alarm, if it has not already been activated
  • Call the University Police (911)—they will call the fire department
  • Evacuate the building

If the alarm sounds, it is the responsibility of University Police to investigate its source.  If the alarm is not silenced within one minute execute evacuation procedures.

Flooding (Broken Pipes, etc.)

If you detect leaks or water damage to library materials, or if you enter a flooded area of the library, contact the Library Administration, who will determine whether to activate the Library Disaster Team. Also contact Facilities Management immediately.


  • Do not touch or step into standing water—it could be electrified
  • Do not touch a person who has been electrocuted.  Dial 911 for help.
  • Do not touch or move wet books or other materials unless directed.
  • Locate the water source.  If water is coming from above, cover the ranges with plastic sheeting. Get the emergency plastic from the disaster materials storage area (5th floor – storage room by kitchen or emergency supply cabinet near staff elevators on the 3rd floor) and cover any materials, equipment, etc. that might get damaged.
  • Place plastic buckets or waste baskets under leaks.  Trash cans may be used to collect water.
  • Coordinate with Facilities Management to reduce temperature and relative humidity and increase air circulation to reduce the chance of mold.  Use portable fans to increase air circulations.  Monitor temperature and humidity throughout the recovery process.  Conditions are normal when temperature is 72 degrees F and relative humidity is 40-50%.  Higher levels may cause mold.
  • Contact specially trained recovery experts at BMS Catastrophe (1-800-433-2940, or 210-542-4180-cell).
  • If the recovery experts cannot help due to widespread disaster, follow the directions for recovering wet books and records in Appendix 4 and Appendix 5.

Hazardous Materials Spills/Incidents
UT Health Science Center has a pre-arranged contract with Eagle Environmental, 1-800-336-0909. Contact the Library Administration Chain of Command, who will determine whether to activate the Library Disaster Team. Also contact Facilities Management immediately.

Hurricanes, Tropical Storms and Tornadoes

Hurricane season for the Gulf Coast is generally from June through November, although hurricanes may develop at any time. During a violent storm, UT Health Science Center will be responsible for protecting any building, structure or equipment owned by the Health Science Center.  UT Health Science Center will maintain parking operations until weather conditions indicate the need to temporarily close the parking garages and lots.  Parking operations and campus streets will be opened as soon as weather conditions allow for the inspection of structures and the clearing of debris from the streets.

In the event of an imminent hurricane threat, notification will be provided through HSC Alerts, on the UT Health Science Center website at http://www.uthscsa.edu/status.asp,or by calling 210-567-SNOW. Local news and radio stations will provide current status updates.

The Texas Division of Emergency Preparedness website at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem for information on evacuations, road conditions, and shelters.  Click the Emergency Operations link on the left then select State Operations Center (SOC) Situation Reports and look for the link to the hurricane.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Tornado Warning (San Antonio):

  • Look out for HSC Alerts and stay tuned to WOAI (1200 AM) for information
  • Only UT Police, the Fire Chief, or Environmental Health & Safety officers are authorized to advise when it is safe to evacuate the campus
  • Turn off all electronic equipment, especially computers
  • Follow departmental evacuation procedures in Appendix 6. If a tornado is imminent, instruct building occupants to evacuate to the 2nd floor classrooms of the Briscoe Library or other windowless rooms, crouch down and place arms over heads for protection.
  • Try to secure the items on the List of Most Rare and Valuable Books (not available to the public) if not already on hand.
  • Do not use the elevators
  • Stay away from windows and doors
  • Use flashlights, not candles or kerosene lamps, as a source of light

Staff should:

  • Lock the Library and leave
  • Tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going
  • Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges.

After a Hurricane, Tropical Storm or Tornado has passed:

  • Return to the Library only after UT Health Science Center authorities (HSC Alert or 210-567-SNOW) or Library Administration advise that it is safe to do so
  • If power, telephones and/or water are shut off, the Library will follow the Policies for Emergency Closure. Facilities Management will be responsible for restoring electricity and water services. Systems and Network Operations (SNO) will be responsible for restoring phone and network connections
  • Staff from Library Technology, working with Computing Resources and SNO, will be responsible for restoring computer servers and networks
  • Take pictures of the damage for insurance claims and the Library’s archives
  • Use telephones only for emergency calls

Library Administration will determine whether to activate the Library Disaster Team

Mail Handling

Identifying Suspicious Packages and Envelopes

Some characteristics of suspicious packages and envelopes include the following:

  • Inappropriate or unusual labeling
  • Excessive postage
  • Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
  • Misspellings of common words
  • Strange return address or no return address
  • Incorrect titles or title without a name
  • Not addressed to a specific person
  • Marked with restrictions, such as “Personal,” “Confidential,” or “Do not x-ray”
  • Marked with any threatening language
  • Postmarked from a city or state that does not match the return address
  • Appearance
  • Powdery substance felt through or appearing on the package or envelope
  • Oily stains, discolorations, or odor
  • Lopsided or uneven envelope
  • Excessive packaging material such as masking tape, string, etc.

Other suspicious signs

  • Excessive weight
  • Ticking sound
  • Protruding wires or aluminum foil

If a package or envelope appears suspicious, DO NOT OPEN.  Contact Library Administration before proceeding to do anything.

Handling of Suspicious Packages or Envelopes

  • Do not shake or empty the contents of any suspicious package or envelope
  • Do not carry the package or envelope, show it to others or allow others to examine it
  • Notify a supervisor who will then decide whether to contact the Library Administration and UT Police.
  • Alert others in the area about the suspicious package or envelope
  • Leave the area, close any doors, and take actions to prevent others from entering the area
  • WASH hands with soap and water to prevent spreading potentially infectious material to face or skin



In the event of a pandemic, as determined by either government or university officials, notification will be provided through HSC Alerts, on the UT Health Science Center website at http://www.uthscsa.edu/status.asp,or by calling 210-567-SNOW.

For lesser pandemic levels, the library should institute the following measures to decrease the likelihood of the spread of disease:

  • Look out for HSC Alerts or call 210-567-SNOW to find out existing conditions at UT Health Science Center. Local news stations will also provide current status information.
  • Library staff will notify the public of any closures and status of the library through Web site updates, phone messages, social media and signs.  The library will consult with university administration regarding campus status throughout the pandemic.
  • CDC travel restrictions and recommendations will be followed by all staff
  • Staff who are sick will stay home in voluntary isolation. Library staff will follow university guidelines for use of sick leave.
  • Staff with sick family members will also stay home in voluntary quarantine.  Library staff will follow university guidelines for use of sick leave.
  • Staff should wear masks and gloves to prevent the spread of germs if recommended by the CDC.  Hand shaking should be discouraged and cough etiquette encouraged.
  • Hand sanitation supplies will be provided to public users of keyboards and discarded afterwards
  • Staff will stay isolated from each other as much as possible.  Staggered shifts and/or telecommuting will be encouraged.
  • If pandemic worsens, only designated essential employees will come to work.  Generally, library personnel are not considered essential employees, however, depending on the severity of the pandemic and directions from campus administration, some library personnel may be asked to report to work.

Power Failure

Call University Police at 911 or 210-567-2800

Library Evacuation Team members should check the building for people stuck in an elevator or in an un-lit area, in case the emergency lighting system fails.  At least one staff member should be positioned near the Library entrance to ensure security of library materials.

If after business hours, the Executive Director of Libraries or the Director of Briscoe Library and Outreach Services should be contacted.

Follow Policies for Emergency Closure.

Restraining Orders

UT Police should be notified of any restraining orders, at the discretion of the staff member involved.  Library Administration and Circulation staff should also be notified.

Stalking or obscene or sexually harassing emails should be forwarded to UT Police.  If the offense involves UT Health Science Center staff, Bonnie Blankmeyer, Institutional Employees Adviser should also be notified.

Telephone Service Disruption

  • An email should be sent to Systems and Network Operations (SNO): tn-customerservice@uthscsa.edu
  • If after business hours, use a cell phone to call University Police at 567-2800
  • The library will not close as long as there is access to a mobile phone to call UT Police

Terrorism and Bioterrorism

Terrorists look for visible targets where they can avoid detection before or after an attack such as international airports, large cities, major international events, resorts, and high-profile landmarks.  In the case of terrorist activity, staff should do the following:

  • Be familiar with Emergency Evacuation Procedures
  • Know where fire exits are located
  • Know where fire extinguishers are located, and how to use them
  • Keep the disaster and first aid supplies in a designated place in the library.



Report any theft of materials or equipment to the University Police at 567-2800 and notify library administration.

What to do if you are a victim of a crime on campus:

  • Contact University Police immediately. Inform the Police Communications Officer (PCO) of the description and direction of travel taken by the criminal, if known.
  • Remember all you can about the criminal and relay that information to the PCO, such as: race/sex, clothing description, height/weight, color of hair/eyes, any unusual features or jewelry and description of the vehicle.
  • Do not confer with other individuals who may have been involved in the incident or allow anyone in or near the area where the incident took place.
  • Reporting in some incidents may be confidential.
  • Notify Library Administration of any incidents.


If a report of vandalism is received, go to the scene of the incident and assess the situation.  Contact UT Police, Library Administration and the Disaster Team Leader and describe the damage.  Also contact Environmental Health & Safety officers if there is a perceived danger or health risk. Close off the area.  If the incident is reported by a witness, be sure the witness(es) remain to provide a statement.

As soon as possible after the incident, the Disaster Team Leader will work with Library Administration on the following:

  • If there is damage to walls, floors, electrical or data connections, or other parts of the building, send a work request to Facilities Management for a cost estimate to repair damages or clean up the area.  Include in the description, that the estimate is needed for a police investigation.
  • If there is damage or destruction to property, including furniture or equipment, work with Library Administration to determine the purchase price or request a vendor estimate for the replacement cost.
  • Forward cost estimates to UT Police.  This information will be used in investigation and/or prosecution of the case.
  • If the vandalism was caused by a UT Health Science Center student, the Vice President for Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs, the Director of Student Services, and the Associate Dean for Students of the appropriate school will be notified.
  • Follow up with UT Police to determine when we can proceed with repairs and when the area can be opened up for use, if it was sealed.

Water shut down

If a planned water shut down is to occur, Facilities Management will notify the Library Administration.  Library staff will be notified and Access Services staff will post “Closed” signs at restrooms on all floors of the building.  If the shut down is for more than 6 hours, the Senior Library Director will determine whether the library should be closed. The determination will be based upon the location of the nearest working restrooms.

Back to Disaster Plan

Procedures for Non-Emergency Safety or Security Situations


Security and safety concerns should be reported immediately to the Access Services Supervisor on duty.  Depending on the circumstances, Access Services staff may call the Head of User Services or the Director of Briscoe Library and Outreach Services. If the situation warrants it, University Police should be called at 911 or 210-567-2800. If UT Police are called, the Senior Library Director should be notified.

If a problem occurs on weekends or after 5 p.m., contact the Library Administration Chain of Command.  Staff Emergency Contact Information is on the Staff Intranet (not publicly available).


Unattended children

Children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by a supervising adult at all times. Unattended children under the age of 15 should be reported to the Access Services Supervisor on duty.  The child should be asked to contact his/her parent or guardian.  If the supervising adult is not in the Library, University Police should be contacted.  This policy protects the child from possible harm.


Back to Disaster Plan