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Books - Library
The largest element of the Library Division consists of books, monographs, and similar publications that impart knowledge about Texas. Information about virtually all titles can be found on BearCat, the on-line catalog of the Baylor University Libraries. Most books must be used within the Collection's reading room, though publications which the staff feels reasonably confident of replacing in the event of loss or damage may be eligible for out-of-building circulation. A staff member can help to identify those items.
Selection may be on the basis of:
- subject matter (is the book entirely or substantially about a Texas subject);
- author (is the author a product of Texas and/or does he or she write in a way that reflects an identifiably regional approach to the subject);
- publisher (is the press so closely identified with the state that any volume it produces would be of interest simply as an instance of its total product); or
- association (does the book, though it may not be primarily about Texas, provide useful knowledge about the state--for instance, a book about Dodge City at the other end of the cattle trails; or about New Orleans in the early 1800s, when that port city was a final gathering point for immigration to Texas).
In special cases, other selection criteria may apply.
The Library Division attempts to gather both current publications and out-of-print titles that meet one or more of the criteria listed above. In addition to its more general holdings, the collection of books also contains numerous subcollections.
Among these subcollections are:
- city directories for a wide array of Texas cities;
- minutes of the annual meetings of many Texas Baptist associations;
- the archival copies of all theses and dissertations for which Baylor University graduate degrees have been awarded;
- items purchased by Baylor University through the McGregor Fund during the 1930s and 1940s, all of which are required to be held within the same repository;
- books considered rare by virtue of their age, scarcity, physical attributes, or associational value;
- publications by recognized and amateur poets of the state;
- Baylor University catalogues and publications;
- dust jackets from books, which often contain hard-to-find photographs and biographical information about less well known authors; and
- some two thousand popular-culture publications, consisting of dime novels (1860s-1930s), pulp magazines (1930s-1960s), paperback novels (1940s-1960s), and comic books (1940s-1970s) whose action is set in Texas.