A Year of Accomplishments at TSLAC

Thanks to our staff, Commission, and support from the Texas Legislature and our many partner organizations and friends statewide, it has been a great year of progress at TSLAC. I would like to end this year’s blog by mentioning a top 10 list of accomplishments.

  1. Legislative Support – We thank the budget leaders of the Legislature for adding $7.6M to our budget, including $6M for TexShare and TexQuest resources; over $700,000 to launch the Texas Digital Archive; $500,000 for CAPPS; and $400,000 for agency salary adjustments.
  2. The Texas Digital Archive – Thanks to a legislative appropriation, TSLAC has the resources to finally launch the Texas Digital Archive, a resource that will ultimately contain the archival materials in electronic format of most of state government. The TDA will go live in early 2016.
  3. The Harwood Institute – Hosting three three-day sessions in May for approximately 300 Texas public and academic librarians to learn the nationally recognized Harwood Institute model for turning outward to align organizational goals with community aspirations.
  4. The Texas Center for the Book – After being hosted for 28 years at the Dallas Public Library, the Texas Center for the Book, an affiliate of the National Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, moved to TSLAC in October. The Center promotes books, reading, literacy and libraries through a variety of special programs and activities for adults and children.
  5. Perry Records – Just prior to leaving office in January, Governor Rick Perry transferred his records to the Archives. The longest serving governor in Texas history, Gov. Perry was also the first to transfer significant electronic archives—over 6 terabytes of data, to be exact—as well as extensive paper files. The Perry archives will be partially searchable directly by the public as part of the new Texas Digital Archive in early 2016.
  6. New Web Page – A newly redesigned TSLAC website allows the huge riches of the agency’s online services to be more easily searchable and in a updated contemporary design.
  7. Revising the K-12 Library Standards – A cooperative project of TSLAC and the Texas Education Agency, the last time these standards were updated was over 10 years ago. Much has changed since then and a committee of Texas school library and education leaders has been assembled to work on the reboot.
  8. E-Records Conference – A record attendance of over 400 persons assembled on November 17 to consider state-of-the-art practices in the management of electronic records by city, county, and state agencies with presenters from the public and private sectors.
  9. Enterprise Solutions – The agency completed or embarked on several crucial software upgrades to improve service in mission-critical areas including the launch of the new TexLinx system that will control all aspects of our records program, design of a new integrated library system for the Talking Book Program, a new grants management system, and implementation of the Comptroller’s CAPPS Accounting and HR control system.
  10. Quality Improvement – This year we launched an internal quality-improvement process with the first of a series of quality teams, this one focused on the topic of communications. This staff team returned a series of recommendations to the Administrative Team and we are now in the implementation phase. The next quality team will start in January to review customer feedback.

Honorable mentions—other accomplishments and fun stuff this year:

  • Sam Houston Center upgrades – Beautiful new furnishings in our Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty, part of a million-dollar refurbish of that facility.
  • Legislative reception in our lobby on January 27 sponsored by the Friends of Libraries and Archives of Texas to welcome back our elected officials for the 84th Session.
  • Phil Collins visit – In March the recording artist stopped by to visit and take a look at the Travis letters from the Alamo.
  • TLA and the AGLHRT Reception – The massive TLA conference rolled through Austin in April with great participation by TSLAC staff and a great reception at the agency for members of the Archives, Genealogy and Local History Round Table.
  • TBP staff reading To Kill a Mockingbird – TSLAC/TBP staffer Victor Hunter fascinated the crowd by reading from a Braille version of the book at an event at Barnes & Noble in July.
  • The NAGARA/COSA Conference – Hosted in Austin in July and heavily planned, presented, and attended by TSLAC staff.
  • Driving to the ARSL Conference – Sept 30 to Oct 3 – TSLAC led a road trip of three staff and nine librarians from Austin to Little Rock for the Association of Rural and Small Libraries 2015 annual conference.
  • Archives in ATXION – The Texas Picture Show film showing and western swing music by Jason Roberts on the grounds of the Capitol in October pushed the boundaries of our programming.
  • Strategic Planning for Resource Sharing – Dozens of library leaders from across the state convened in early December to discuss the future of resource sharing in Texas.

Thank you to our dedicated Commissioners, our hardworking staff, and our many friends, partners, and supporters across the state that made this year so successful. And especially, we thank our customers and the millions users of library, archives, and records services across the state.

See you all in 2016!


Learning, Technology and Resource Sharing


Blanco Mayor Bruce Peele, left, Library Director Crystal Spybuck, right (in red) along with other Blanco Library supporters, staff, and board members.

Today I travelled with Communications Officer Steve Siwinski to the Blanco County Library to present a ceremonial grant check for $33,970. The library will use the funds to expand and continue its English Language Through Library Services and Technology program. The purpose of the grant is to provide English language learners the tools they need to advance their language and technology skills.

We were happy to meet not only the library director, staff, board members, tutors, and the mayor, but also Lupe, a student from the project who explained to us how important the program has been for her. She commented on the confidence that she has gained from the skills she has adopted. The others commented on efforts to help the adult students in this program get the skills they need to get into and succeed in college classes and to mainstream into the community.

Another example of the power of libraries to be the link to learning, technology, literacy, job skills, and education through one well-considered and professionally applied program. Kudos to Library Director Crystal Spybuck and Business Assistant Bonnie Holmes for their vision of innovative service at the Blanco County South District Library.

I am excited that tomorrow and Friday we will be holding the Texas Statewide Resource Sharing Summit with several dozen library leaders from academic, public and school libraries. The goal of the meeting will be to set a strategic direction for resource sharing for Texas for the next several years. The stakes are high for our agency, for libraries statewide, and for library users who depend on the information. I look forward to working with these strategic library thinkers to try to define ways to use resource sharing to expand our reach, tie our programs together, demonstrate our value, and ensure that libraries will continue to thrive as a resource for generations of Texans to come. That’s not too much to ask, is it?