Good news from the Sunset Commission staff

Last week TSLAC got some very good news in the form of the Sunset Commission Staff Report. Among other recommendations, the Report stated that “The State has a continuing need for the Texas State Library and Archives Commission” and that the agency should be continued for another 12 years.

Every dozen years, all state agencies must be reviewed and specifically reauthorized or they will cease to exist. Our turn is up in 2019. Preparatory to that, the Sunset Commission conducts a months-long review and study of the agency. In connection with that process, Sunset staff spoke to many TSLAC stakeholders across the state in libraries, archives, and local government. They conducted surveys, they met with staff, they attended our conferences and meetings, and they paid attention to what they do.

Apparently, and for the most part, they liked what they saw. The Staff Report starts with this statement: “The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) zealously performs its mission to provide Texans with the information needed to lead informed, productive lives. The agency’s professional and dedicated staff support libraries throughout the state, manage the state archives, help government agencies properly manage records, and directly circulate audiobooks to thousands of Texans with disabilities.”

The report is not without constructive criticism. In particular, the report focuses on several aspects of archival management, in particular, the large backlog of archives, as needing strategic direction and planning. The report also makes recommendations about the management of legislator records, public information requests, and competitive grants. We gratefully accept the suggestions and will take the opportunity to strengthen our operation in those key areas.

In late August, we will appear before the Sunset Commission to answer questions about our agency and to speak to the report. We expect that in the opening days of the session, legislation will be introduced to reauthorize the agency. We are very grateful to the many people across Texas who took the time to express their thoughts about TSLAC to the Sunset Commission. We were proud and humbled by the many statements of support that came from librarians and library supporters, the historical and research community, from state and local records managers, and from the general public. We look forward to being reauthorized and continuing to providing access to information to Texans in all parts of the state.

Thank you for your support and we look forward to talking to all of you about how we can continue to improve our services.

Thank you, Texas Library Association

This week our staff joined librarians from across Texas at the Texas Library Association Annual Assembly meeting here in Austin. This annual meeting is an opportunity for library leaders from all parts of the state to come together to plan association activities that will advance outstanding service and resources for libraries of all types. We very much enjoy meeting our colleagues from across the state and participating in discussions about how we can strategically advance great library service for all Texans.

While at this meeting, Assistant State Librarian Gloria Meraz and I were able to present a “Hot Topic” session regarding the TSLAC Sunset Review. In that gathering, we heard many positive and helpful ideas about how we can improve our services to libraries.

Also at this Assembly, TLA adopted two resolutions of key importance to TSLAC: to support our agency’s reauthorization in the Sunset Review and the other to support the TSLAC Legislative Appropriations Request for 2020-2021 which will be submitted on August 3. The resolution supporting our sunset review specifically speaks to the cooperative relationship between TLA and TSLAC. I appreciate this note and will say that strengthening the relationship between our organizations has been a priority of mine while at TSLAC.

We appreciate and applaud the great work that TLA does for Texas libraries and commend TLA President Jennifer LaBoon and TLA Executive Director Dana Braccia and the wonderful TLA members and staff on a very successful 2018 Annual Assembly.