Reference Services

The Austin History Center strives to make information about Austin and Travis County readily available to the public. Our books, periodicals, and much of our media collection are listed on the Austin Public Library's online catalog. Our other materials may be accessed using a variety of in-house indexes, catalogs, databases, and research guides. Our Reading Room staff is available to assist people in the use of these items.

AHCLink Service
If you have a question about our collections or a ready reference question which requires only a short, factual answer, you may submit your question using the AHCLink Service. This service links customers with Austin History Center reference archivists, who will respond by e-mail. Requests for photocopies of newspaper articles, obituaries or more detailed research questions require a fee and are discussed below.

Obituary and Research Requests
The Austin History Center (AHC) offers limited research assistance through the mail, including photocopies of newspaper articles and obituary requests. The AHC charges a $15.00 non-refundable fee that entitles you to one obituary or up to 30 minutes of staff time and up to 5 pages of photocopies ($16.24 for Texas residents due to sales tax). To initiate a research request, send a written request, a check or money order payable to the Austin Public Library, and a completed Patron Copy Order Form and Agreement, to Austin History Center, P.O. Box 2287, Austin, TX 78768-2287. Customers are limited to two obituaries or one hour of research per month (which includes up to 10 pages of photocopies). Requests that do not include full payment or exceed a users allotment for the month will be returned unanswered.

Please use the Patron Copy Order Form and Agreement for all research requests. Since the form requires your signature, and the Austin History Center requires prepayment, it must be mailed to the Austin History Center. Please note that the Austin History Center reserves the right to refuse to fill any copy request because of potential damage to a fragile original or other concerns. We will make every effort to quickly inform customers if we cannot fill an order.

If you cannot come to the History Center and your project is one that requires in-depth research, you may wish to consider hiring a researcher from the Texas State Library's Private Researchers List or the Center for American History's Proxy researcher list.

Our Collections
Since our collection is so extensive and multifarious, you might want to read about the many components of our collection. Also, the research guides listed in the box on this page may help you find appropriate resources for your topic of interest.

Frequently Used Research Links
A short list of links that are often used by patrons.

Telephone Reference
Short questions about Austin and Travis County can also be answered by calling the Austin Public Library's Telephone Reference at (512) 974-7400.

Austin History Quiz
For fun, try to answer fifteen of the most Frequently Asked Questions about Austin.