Perry–Castañeda Library

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Perry–Castañeda Library
The Perry–Castañeda Library's front entrance.
TypeAcademic library
ArchitectBartlett Cocke Edit this on Wikidata
LocationAustin, Texas
Coordinates30°16′58″N 97°44′14″W / 30.282814984326087°N 97.73729595092315°W / 30.282814984326087; -97.73729595092315
Other information
AffiliationUniversity of Texas at Austin

The Perry–Castañeda Library (PCL) is the main central library of the University of Texas at Austin library system in Austin, Texas. PCL is located at 21st Street and Speedway in Austin, TX.

The UT Austin campus library system holds nearly eight million volumes, ranking it as the fifth largest library among academic institutions in the United States, and the eleventh largest overall in the country.[1]

It has long been claimed that the Perry–Castañeda Library was designed to appear, when seen from above, in the shape of Texas. This is officially denied by the University, which stated: "If you look at a campus map the right way and use your imagination, it's possible to think of the outline of the library as similar to the shape of Texas. But this wasn't intentional. Officially it's called a "rhomboid shape," and it complements the similarly designed Graduate School of Business building across the street, which was completed the same year."[2]

The PCL is an example of brutalist architecture and has been recognized as Austin's best example of this architectural style.[3]


Planning and funding for the PCL were approved in 1972, a construction contract was awarded in early 1974 to Stokes Construction Company, and the facility was opened to the public in 1977.[4][5] The Perry–Castañeda Library is named for two former University professors, Ervin S. Perry and Carlos E. Castañeda.[6][5] Professor Perry was the first African American to be appointed to the academic rank of professor and Professor Castañeda played a central role in the early development of the Benson Latin American Collection.[5]


PCL was the site of a shooting on Tuesday, September 28, 2010. Police reports state that student Colton Tooley fired shots on his walk from Guadalupe Street to the library's front entrance. He ascended to the sixth floor where he took his own life in the northeast corner of the topmost floor of the library and thirty feet (9.1 m) from the children's book section. No one else was injured, except for one sprained ankle suffered by a female student fleeing the scene. There were reports of a second gunman and authorities locked down the entire campus for several hours until they were able to determine the reports were false.[7][8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nation's Largest Libraries by Volumes Held". Nation's Largest Libraries. LibrarySpot. 2006. Retrieved 2006-04-24.
  2. ^ "UT Myths and Legends, Debunked". The Alcalde. Ex-Students' Association of The University of Texas. 25 January 2012.
  3. ^ "Best Brutalist Architecture: Perry-Castañeda Library". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
  4. ^ "History – Perry–Castañeda Library (PCL)". University of Texas Libraries. Archived from the original on 25 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  5. ^ a b c "Perry-Castañeda Library Nears Completion". ACRL College & Research Libraries News. 38 (4). 1977. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
  6. ^ "PCL Turns 40" (PDF). TEX Libris – the Magazine of the University of Texas Libraries: 3–4. Fall 2017. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  7. ^ "Student Opens Fire at UT Austin, Kills Self". CBS. September 28, 2010. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
  8. ^ "UT shooter confirmed as 19-year-old math major". The Blotter. September 28, 2010. Archived from the original on October 1, 2010. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
  9. ^ "Shooter at University of Texas was a Student". CNN. September 28, 2010. Retrieved April 3, 2022.

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