The Archives and Research Center (ARC) at the Science, Technology and Advanced Research(STAR) Park Research campus in San Marcos is now open. The ARC is the third library facility operated by the University Libraries joining the prominent Albert B. Alkek Library, located in the heart of the San Marcos campus, and the growing Round Rock Campus Library
The ARC is a state-of-the art archive library that will preserve decades of university treasures and library resources, collections and research materials. Its climate-controlled environment with cold temperatures and low humidity will prolong the life of these unique assets keeping them available for exploration and discovery, while supporting the growth of the Alkek Library and Texas State. The new library facility will be open to the public and will include a reading room to allow students, faculty, staff and researchers to review and interact with materials on site. Daily transportation of materials checked out from the ARC to the Alkek Library will make accessing materials quick and easy so patrons on the San Marcos campus will not need to drive to STAR Park to retrieve desired items.
The 14,000 square-foot ARC features a high-density shelving model that rises 35 feet high, contains more than six miles of shelving space and is environmentally controlled at 50°F with 30 percent relative humidity for ideal preservation of most materials. The initially identified materials that will move to the ARC over the next two years will include more than 600,000 library items and 3,000 linear feet of archival and Wittliff Collections materials.
With the new ARC facility, Texas State joins other major research universities like Harvard, Stanford, Rice, The University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M and many others who have built similar high-density, climate-controlled storage facilities to house and preserve their valuable collections and research materials.
Unique to the Texas State facility, is a secondary climate-controlled environment that will preserve art and artifacts that need a slightly higher temperature and humidity level. Items that need cooler temperatures, but could become brittle in the extreme cold and dry environment like oil paintings and wooden artifacts will be stored in the Art and Artifacts room at 68°F and 40 percent relative humidity.
The opening of the ARC also advances planned improvements to the Alkek Library that will meet the needs of today’s digitally focused students. The migration of seldom-circulated, but valuable resources from the Alkek to the ARC will free up space for the addition of modern, technology-rich learning commons features that will make the Alkek a showcase information and research facility.
Planned additions to the Alkek support research, innovation and student success and include: a virtual reality and makerspace center, 3D technologies, video presentation studios and practice labs, a digital media center, a GIS/data research hub, technology-centric group study and collaboration spaces, flexible model classrooms with robust technology, and a café.
Even as the ARC makes way for the Alkek to evolve into a more modern library facility, generous space will continue to be dedicated to new and in-demand book stacks, resource materials and quiet independent study spaces so that students and faculty across all disciplines can find what they need and the space to suit their individual preferences within the walls of the Alkek Library.
Additional space on the seventh floor of the Alkek Library will also make way for the expansion of the prestigious Wittliff Collections with growing assets that now include the Southwestern Writers Collection, the Southwestern & Mexican Photography Collection, the Lonesome Dove Collection and major papers of such notable authors as Cormac McCarthy, Sam Shepard and Sandra Cisneros. The collection also boasts the largest repository of modern and contemporary Mexican photography in the U.S. and is one of the university’s most valuable research resources.
Submitted by Debbie Pitts, University Libraries Marketing and Promotions Coordinator