The Texana/Genealogy Department of the San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) currently occupies 10,000 square feet on the 6th floor of the city’s Downtown Library, and holds approximately 75,000 books, 60,000 microforms, 110 drawers of archival files, 11 map cabinets and over 300 cubic feet of archival collections. Some invaluable, rare items in the collection include: a historic and extensive WWI poster collection, Gloria Cadena Archival Collection, a page from the Gutenberg Bible, Mission paintings by Hermann Lungkwitz, the Hertzberg Collection, African American Funeral Programs Collection, San Antonio photograph collection, programs from the Symphony Archives, and a King James Bible.
The Need and Future of Texana/Genealogy
The Library has already made the most critical investments in Texana/ Genealogy (established in 1916) — through decades of collection development, targeted staff training, and building excellent community and patron relationships. In 2015, SAPLF commissioned a professional appraiser to deliver strategic recommendations to reveal the value of these hidden collections, to revitalize public engagement, and to showcase the Library’s most important cultural heritage resources, making them a foundation of civic pride.
In May of 2017, City of San Antonio voters approved a bond proposition to fund a $700,000 partial renovation of the Texana/Genealogy area. These funds will be used to renovate the existing vault with a new climate control system and higher capacity shelving; implement best professional practices through other fixtures and equipment that allow proper archiving and preservation of rare and valuable materials; and activate efforts to facilitate better public access to these materials. Private resources will enhance this project and refresh the existing space to improve the functionality for researchers, consultation with professional staff and access to the collection. Innovative space reallocation will improve line of sight, safety, and staff engagement with visitors. A full scope for a complete transformation of space and the creation of a world class Texana / Genealogy Resource Center is estimated to require just over $2 million.
For more information on the future transformation of the Texana /Genealogy Department, please email our Executive Director, Amy Hone, at Amy.firstname.lastname@example.org