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National Archives

Frequently Asked Questions

Overview

The George Bush Presidential Library, the nation's tenth presidential library, is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and is located on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. The Bush Library holds approximately thirty-eight million pages of official records and personal papers, that document the life of the nation's forty-first president.

The presidential records of George Bush (1989-1993) comprise the core holdings of the Bush Presidential Library. The library also contains the vice presidential records of both George Bush (1981-1989) and Dan Quayle (1989-1993) as well as donated historical materials that document George Bush's private and public career. In addition to these textual records, the Bush Library has an extensive audiovisual collection containing more than one million photographs and 10,000 videotapes.

The following information provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions concerning research at the George Bush Presidential Library. If more detailed information is needed, please feel free to contact the library.

Quick Jump to:

General Library information

Researching the Library's Collection

How do I get to the library?

From Houston:

Take I-45 north to Conroe. In Conroe, take Hwy 105 west to Navasota. From Navasota, Hwy 6 north will go to Bryan / College Station. Take the Business 6 / Texas Avenue exit (LEFT exit). At the second light, make a left onto FM 2818 and go approximately four miles to George Bush Drive. Make a right onto George Bush Drive. The entrance to the George Bush Library is approximately 1/4 mile on the left. Travel time: approximately two hours.

From Dallas:
Take I-45 south to Madisonville. Take Hwy 21 west to Bryan / College Station. At the junction of Hwy 21 and FM 2818, make a left onto FM 2818 and continue for approximately six miles to George Bush Drive. Turn left onto George Bush Drive. The entrance to the George Bush Library is approximately 1/4 mile on the left. Travel time: approximately two and one half hours.

From Fort Worth:
Take I-35 south to Waco. From Waco, travel south to Bryan / College Station on Hwy 6. Exit onto FM 2818 before arriving in Bryan and follow the signs to George Bush Drive. Make a left onto George Bush Drive. The entrance to the George Bush Library is approximately 1/4 mile on the left. Travel time: approximately three hours.

From Austin:
Take Hwy 290 east to the intersection with Hwy 21 north. Take Hwy 21 north to Bryan / College Station. At the junction with FM 2818, make a right turn on to FM 2818 and go approximately six miles to George Bush Drive. The entrance to the George Bush Library is approximately 1/4 mile on the left. Travel time: approximately one and one half hours.

From San Antonio:
Take I-35 north to San Marcos. From San Marcos, travel north on Hwy 21 to Bryan / College Station. At the junction with FM 2818, make a right turn on to FM 2818 and go approximately six miles to George Bush Drive. The entrance to the George Bush Library is approximately 1/4 mile on the left. Travel time: approximately three hours.

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Is commercial transportation available to the Bryan / College Station area?

Yes. There is commercial bus service to the Bryan / College Station area on a daily basis. In addition, American Eagle and Continental Express schedule several flights per day into the College Station (Easterwood) airport. American Eagle flies from their hub in Dallas / Ft. Worth and Continental Express flies from their hub in Houston. If you do not have ground transportation, there are taxis available at Easterwood Airport. There are also hotel shuttles available. Please contact your hotel in advance to arrange for pick-up and drop-off at the airport. There is little in the way of public transportation available in Bryan / College Station so researchers should consider renting a car. There are several car rental companies at the airport with a wide assortment of vehicles available.

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How can I find accommodations in the Bryan / College Station area?

Please contact the Bryan / College Convention and Visitors Bureau toll free at 1-800-777-8292 or locally at 979-260-9898 for information concerning accommodations and restaurants. Or visit the Convention and Visitors Bureau's web page at http://www.visitaggieland.com/.

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Who may use the library's collection?

The George Bush Presidential Library is open to all researchers. They can contact the library with research questions by mail, telephone, or electronic-mail, or they can conduct research onsite in the research reading room. Onsite researchers under the age of fourteen must be accompanied by an adult researcher.

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When is the library open for research?

The Bush Library research reading room is open year-round, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the exception of U.S. federal holidays. Library archivists will not pull new materials for researchers after 3:45 p.m., except in extraordinary circumstances.

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How do I plan to do research at the library?

We strongly encourage prospective researchers to write, call, or email the Bush Library staff in advance of any visit to determine whether the library contains material relevant to their topic. We will check our holdings and provide an assessment of the quantity and composition of any applicable documents and whether these documents have been processed and are available for research.

Once researchers arrive, they will be asked to furnish photo identification (for example a drivers license, passport, or student identification) and complete a simple research application form. An archivist will meet with the researcher and offer guidance about which processed records and collections are most likely to contain useful material. (Read more about processed records here). The archivist also will explain our regulations, finding aids, research room procedures and services, provide information on obtaining access to unprocessed presidential records through submission of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, and answer any additional questions. The library staff will provide copies of documents for a set fee of $.80 per page. On site researchers may use a self-service copier in the research room for a fee of $.25 per page. The Bush Library accepts most major credit cards, cash, or personal checks as payment for copies.

Please note that the Bush Library maintains a clean research room. Researchers are not permitted to bring paper, pencils, pens or other materials into the research room. All writing materials and paper are provided by the Bush Library. Laptop computers are allowed but optical scanning is not permitted. Power outlets are provided at every desk. Researchers may also bring a limited amount of research notes into the research room provided they are examined and stamped "Approved by Bush Library" before research begins. Lockers with keys are available to store personal belongings while conducting research.

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How do I find the documents I need?

Researchers should consult the finding aids of the Bush Library to determine which material is processed and available for research. These finding aids provide researchers with an overview of the content of processed materials and serve as a guide to collections which might contain information relevant to a specific topic. These finding aids are located in the research reading room of the Bush Library or are available on the library's web page (http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/) under the "Research" button in the top tool bar. Bush Library staff can also provide a list of all White House staff members and the office to which they were assigned as well as an estimate as to the amount of records they created. This information can be utilized in identifying potentially useful records in both processed and unprocessed collections.

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Can I access information on the Internet?

The George Bush Presidential Library strives to continually update the material on its web page and to provide access to as much information as possible. At present, the Bush Library web page contains the entire public papers of the forty-first president in a searchable format, the finding aids of all processed records, and photographs of the former president and of many museum gifts.

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How do I proceed once at the Bush Library?

Researchers can park for free in the lots at the Bush Library. They should enter through the main museum entrance that is located at the museum rotunda. Please inform the security screeners that you would like to conduct research and they will direct you to the receptionists desk. The receptionist will call an archivist to escort researchers to the appropriate location in the building.

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Are research or travel grants available?

Yes. There are currently two grants available. The O'Donnell Grant provides up to $2,500 of funding for scholars conducting research at the George Bush Library. The Korea Foundation Grant provides up to $2,500 of funding for scholars conducting research on East Asia including Korea. For further information, please contact the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at:

O'DONNELL GRANT PROGRAM / KOREAN GRANT PROGRAM
Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs
George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service
Texas A&M University
4220 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-4220
Phone: (979) 845-1540
Fax: (979) 845-4155
Email: siia@bushschool.tamu.edu

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What records are open to research?

The archivists at the George Bush Presidential Library have been working since 1993 to process the records in our collection. At present, more than three million pages of documents have been processed systematically and are available for use by researchers. (Read more about systematic processing here). Finding aids for all processed records are available in our research reading room or on the Bush Presidential Library web page. Before records in our collection can be made available for research, they must be processed. Most open or processed records will have some information that is temporarily withheld from public disclosure. (Read more about temporarily withheld records here). When materials are removed, the original location of all withdrawn material is cited, and a withdrawal sheet with a brief description of these documents and why they are closed is provided to the researcher.

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What records are closed?

All Bush presidential records as well as the vice-presidential records of Dan Quayle are administered in accordance with the requirements of the 1978 Presidential Records Act (PRA)(44 U.S.C. Chapter 22) and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)(5 U.S.C., as amended). Records closed under statutes of the PRA will remain closed for a period of twelve years from the end of the respective administration, while records closed under FOIA exemptions will remain closed for longer, variable periods. Most information closed by the Bush Library in accordance with the statutes of one or both of these laws relates to national security information, information that reflects the advice given in confidence between the president and his advisors or among those advisors, or information which would be a clearly unwarranted invasion of a person's privacy if released. The appropriate restrictions are cited for all closed information so researchers are fully informed about all materials being withheld.

Donated historical materials (personal papers) held by the Bush Library are processed in accordance with the deed of gift agreement signed by the donor. Donated historical materials will not be accessible to researchers until processing has been completed. These materials are also not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

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Can I request access to closed or unprocessed records?

Yes. Any individual may request access to unprocessed presidential and vice-presidential records by submitting a written and signed FOIA request. The researcher should describe the requested records with sufficient specificity to allow the staff to locate responsive records based upon a reasonable search of the Bush Library's finding aids.

Depending upon the volume and complexity of responsive records, the Bush Library will place the request in one of the Library's FOIA processing queue. All FOIA requests received in this office will be filed by date of receipt of a reasonable request and will be processed in that order. When the request comes up in the queue, the staff will process the responsive records according to provisions of the PRA and FOIA. Executive Order 13233 on Presidential records requires a notification to the representatives of the former President and the incumbent President prior to the release of any documents. When processing is completed and the notification period has passed, the Bush Library will notify the requestor of the availability of the records.

Researchers may file an appeal challenging the status of processed presidential and vice-presidential records closed by library archivists under provisions of the PRA / FOIA. Procedures for filing such an appeal are available in the research reading room or upon request.

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How do I submit a FOIA request?

PRA / FOIA requests must be submitted in writing and signed by the requestor. This letter also should cite the Freedom of Information Act within the request. Requests should be as specific as possible regarding the information needed. If the request is so broad that the library staff can not locate the records with a reasonable effort, the FOIA request will not be considered valid.

Please do not hesitate to contact an archivist at the Bush Library for guidance in submitting a reasonable FOIA request.

All FOIA requests should be sent to the following address:

Robert Holzweiss (FOIA)
Supervisory Archivist
George Bush Presidential Library
1000 George Bush Drive West
College Station, TX 77845

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Can I request declassification of national security information?

Yes. Researchers may request national security information within unprocessed presidential records by submitting a written FOIA request. All national security documents responsive to a particular FOIA request will be reviewed during processing. Researchers may file a PRA / Mandatory Review request for records that are closed only for national security reasons (P-1 on the withdrawal sheet).

Who do I contact about audiovisual research?

The audiovisual archivist is Mary Finch, who can be reached by phone at (979) 691-4025 or by facsimile at (979) 691-4020.

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Can I order reproductions by mail?

Yes. Bush Library staff will provide reproductions of specified records and historical material at the reproduction fee set by NARA (currently $.80 per page). Advance payment is required for large orders. We send mail order copies by regular mail. Alternate shipping arrangements can be made at the researcher's expense. A request for reproduction of available records must include reasonable specificity. The Bush Library staff cannot undertake extensive searches or make subjective judgments on the "best" material related to a topic. The library will photocopy the entire contents of any folder a requestor can cite from a finding aid and will photocopy specific material cited in the library's list of processed presidential records and donated historical materials, or any specific item available for research, provided the staff can easily locate it.

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How does copyright law affect research?

The United States copyright law (P.L. 94-553, effective 1 January 1978) extends statutory rights of authorship to unpublished works, which were previously protected by literary property rights under common law. Such works do not have to be registered with the Copyright Office to receive protection under the law.

In general, the law provides copyright protection for a term of life of the author plus fifty years. Works in the public domain and works prepared by U.S. government officials and employees as part of their official duties are not protected by copyright.

Researchers are advised that copyright gives to the author and his or her heirs the sole right of publication for the term of the copyright, regardless of the ownership of the physical embodiment of the work. Persons wishing to publish any unpublished writings, including the holdings of the Bush Library, should obtain permission from the holder of the copyright. When using donated collections, permission to reproduce copyrighted materials in the library's still photograph, videotape, motion picture, and oral history collections also must be obtained from the copyright holder.

The copyright law, however, provides for "fair use" of copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder. Fair use encompasses scholarship and research, although the extent of such use is bounded by limitations on quotation and reproduction.

Researchers with specific copyright questions should seek legal guidance. Please note that federal employees are not authorized to provide such guidance.

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How do I cite material found at the library?

Citations should identify items clearly, specify their file locations, and end with reference to the George Bush Presidential Library. There is no one universal way to cite material from this archival repository nor is there a way to provide an example of each type of document one might need to cite. However, we have provided some basic guidance and a few examples below.

It is extremely important that researchers employ an adequate form of footnote citation. A clear, consistent form of citation will assist the Bush Library staff in finding the document for a researcher who wishes to re-examine it or for other researchers who wish to see it. Regardless of footnote style, each citation should contain the following elements:

Type of document, names of sender and recipient or title of document if applicable; date; case number or folder title (whichever is applicable); OA/ID number, series, collection, George Bush Presidential Library.

It should be stressed that researchers should always identify in their citation whether the material is located in the Bush Presidential Records, Bush Vice-Presidential Records or Quayle Vice-Presidential Records.

The first element of any citation should be the identification of the item. This should include the structure of the information, any identification of who created it and to whom it was sent, and the date on the item.

Letter, George Bush to John Sununu, October 5, 1989, ID# 123456, FG001-06, WHORM: Subject File, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

Telegram, John Doe to George Bush, December 8, 1992, "Doe, Jane to Doe, William," OA/ID 12574, WHORM: Alpha File, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

This should be followed by an identification of where the material was located. The form of such information varies depending on what type of files are being viewed. For example, the citation of a document located in the WHORM Subject File should contain the six digit case number, the category and/or subcategory in which the document is located, followed by WHORM: Subject File. The case number and category are usually located in the upper right-hand corner of any document. It is not necessary to identify the folder in which a WHORM subject file is located since each document is individually identified.

Letter, George Bush to John Sununu, 10/5/89, Case No. 123456, FG001-06, WHORM: Subject File, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

If, however, you are not citing information in the subject file, it is necessary to identify a document by the folder in which it is located. This should be followed by the OA/ID number, the series and the collection. All this information can be retrieved from the folder in which the processed document is located. The title of the folder and the OA/ID number are located in the upper right-hand corner of the folder. The series and sub-series are most often located in the middle of the folder, and the collection/office of origin are located on the left-hand side.

Letter, Tip O'Neill to George Bush, August 12, 1981, folder "O'Neill, Thomas P.," OA/ID 22418, Name File, Office of Vice President George Bush, George Bush Presidential Library.

Memorandum, Dan Quayle to Allan B. Hubbard, April 12, 1991, folder "Memos Received, April 1991," OA/ID 17826, Allan B. Hubbard, Subject File, Office of Speechwriting, Office of Vice President Dan Quayle, George Bush Presidential Library.

Speech with draft notes, 1991 State of the Union Address, December 10, 1990, folder "State of the Union, 1991," OA/ID 12879, Tony Snow, Subject File, White House Office of Speechwriting, Bush Presidential Records, George Bush Presidential Library.

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How do I contact the Bush Library?

Researchers can contact the library via mail, phone, fax, or electronic mail. FOIA requests should be mailed to the attention of Warren Finch (FOIA) at the address below. All other requests can be sent to the general address.

George Bush Presidential Library
1000 George Bush Drive West
College Station, TX 77845
General Phone: (979) 691-4000
Archival Reference: (979) 691-4041
Archives Facsimile: (979) 691-4030
Audio/Visual Reference: (979) 691-4025
Audio/Visual Facsimile: (979) 691-4020
email: Library.Bush@nara.gov

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George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
1000 George Bush Drive West, College Station, Texas 77845
Telephone: (979) 691-4000 | Facsimile: (979) 691-4050 | TTY: (979) 691-4091