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John Peace Library Opens for Business

February 17, 2009

After toughing out the Koger Center’s Goliad building and then the Physical Education Building, Library staff finally found a home in the John Peace Library (JPL) on Wednesday, June 2, 1976.

Circulation clerk Jesse Longoria checks out the first book at JPL to student John Schultz, June 2, 1976. From the Gil Barrera Photographs of UTSA, Archives and Special Collections, UTSA Library.

With JPL’s opening came the introduction of open stacks — while at the Koger Center and in the gym, books were available only on request. The opening date coincided with the first day of summer classes, and the Arts Building also opened on this date.

According to first UTSA President Arleigh Templeton, the design of JPL was intended to be especially user-friendly. Templeton, who had overseen the design of the library at Sam Houston State University before coming to UTSA, envisioned a library very similar to SHSU’s. In an oral history interview from 2003, Templeton explains, “I said that what I wanted to do was take four football fields and stack them on top of each other. In the middle I want the little librarians… And this one over here (UTSA) was a prize jewel” (p. 38). The John Peace Library was designed by premier San Antonio architect O’Neil Ford, whose work also included the Trinity University campus and the Tower of the Americas.

The John Peace Library was the largest building on the UTSA campus and was one of the first buildings to open. It housed 350,000 volumes (200,000 of them on microfilm). Study space was available for about 1,300 students.

Sources (all available in Archives and Special Collections):

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