Texas Libraries Prepare for the 2020 Census

Today’s post is primarily for Texas’ public librarians. Have you thought about how you, your library, its staff and your community can prepare for the 2020 Census?

The United States Constitution requires that a census of America’s population be taken every 10 years as mandated by Article I, Section 2. The first Census was in 1790. The goal of the 2020 Census is to ensure that every resident in the United States is counted. Census results are used to reapportion the United States House of Representatives, redraw congressional and state legislative district boundaries, draw school district boundaries, and determine eligibility for public assistance, including the distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds to local communities.

Now is the time for libraries to begin preparing to help patrons respond to the Census—not only using the new online response option on your library’s computers, but via phone or email, as well. You may be interested in the American Library Association’s February webinar recording, “Libraries and the 2020 Census.” ALA has also just released a downloadable PDF, Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census. These resources can help you and your library formulate a Census preparation plan.

There will also be a presentation from the U.S. Census Bureau on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, at the Texas Library Association’s Annual Assembly in Austin. Scheduled for 4-5:00 p.m., it is called “Census 2020: What libraries can do now.”
TSLAC is interested in hearing about the ways your library is preparing for the Census. Feel free to comment below, and/or contact our Library Development and Networking Continuing Education and Consulting staff.

If you, your librarians, or your staff have any questions regarding what the Census is doing locally in your community, please direct them to the U.S. Census Bureau Partnership Specialist Macy Hurwitz at macy.d.hurwitz@2020census.gov or 737-247-9119.

We would be interested to hear about the ways your library is preparing for the Census. Please e-mail Naomi DiTullio at ld@tsl.texas.gov to let us know.

Here are other resource materials for your use as you prepare for the 2020 Census:

50 ways Census Data Are Used


Counting Young Children in the 2020 Census


Four Ways to Respond


TSLAC Reauthorized

This week the Texas Senate passed HB 1962, the Sunset bill of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. This victory represented the culmination of about 18 months of work by the staff and supporters of our agency.

All state agencies in Texas are subject to Sunset review and possible abolishment every 12 years. The review process starts with an agency self-evaluation that was completed by TSLAC staff in September 2017. Following the self-evaluation, there is a lengthy review by Sunset Commission staff that culminates with a Sunset Commission Report. In August of 2018, TSLAC had a hearing before the Sunset Commission, which is comprised of five representatives, five senators and two public members. Early in the legislative session, bills to reauthorize TSLAC were introduced in the House by Rep. Stan Lambert, and in the Senate by Sen. Bob Hall.

The bill as it was introduced matched the recommendations contained in the Sunset Commission recommendation. During the process of the session, the bill did change to take on other issues that were not contained in the Sunset Commission. One of those would transfer authority to manage legislative records from TSLAC to the Legislative Reference Library. I will write more about the impact of that change in a future post. Another provision adds a requirement to grant an easement at TSLAC’s State Records Center from the State to the City of Austin for the purpose of allowing access to a pedestrian and bike bridge over Shoal Creek to the new Grove development.

But despite these changes, passage of the Sunset bill is a milestone that recognizes the important work that the Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides to the people of Texas. Through our library, archives, and records programs, and our reading services for the disabled, our staff works very hard every day to achieve our agency mission “to provide Texans access to information needed to be informed, productive citizens.” We look forward to providing those life-changing and transformative resources to Texans for another 12 years.

And finally, we so much appreciate the many people who supported our agency throughout this process, including the Texas Library Association, the Texas State Historical Association, the many people who came to testify at hearings during the session such as Gretchen Pruett (who came twice!), Edward Smith, Susan Mann, Eric Lashley, Martha Freeman, and many others. You guys were great and we really appreciate the vote of confidence.

Thank you!


Nearing the end

Of the legislative session, that is! The 86th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature will come to a close in just 10 days, on Monday, May 27. Much has moved forward since my last post.

Starting with our Sunset bill, HB 1962, which this week was heard in the Senate Business & Commerce Committee. The Senate sponsor, Sen. Hall, filed a committee substitute that modified the recommendations regarding Legislative records that I wrote about in my last post. Whereas the House amendment to HB 1962 would have completely removed TSLAC’s ability to manage any record of the legislative branch regardless of age, the new version is more closely focused and pertains to records of members of the legislature and the lieutenant governor. The bill also provides the authority to advertise services and to sell reproductions of archival treasures with the proceeds benefiting preservation efforts.

On the budget side, we seem to have been unsuccessful in persuading the legislature of the need for long-term storage capacity for state agency records and archives. We will be completely out of storage space to store state records this year. While there is still a chance we may receive funds to implement a temporary solution, we now know we will not receive requested funds for the long-term solution to expand the current State Records Center on Shoal Creek Boulevard in Austin. We will be directed to conduct a study of records storage needs due to the Legislature December 1, 2019.

On other fronts, several bills have passed or seem likely to pass that will benefit libraries statewide. HB 1960 by Price, which would create a broadband council in the Governor’s Office and include a representative of a library organization, has passed and been sent to the Governor for signature. HB 402 by Thompson that would implement the Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act, or UELMA, in Texas and put TSLAC in a position of implementing that plan, has been sent to the Governor. SB 1109 by Lucio that would direct the Health and Human Services Commission and TSLAC to work together to conduct an outreach program to elderly Texans with visual impairments has passed the Senate and is waiting for a House vote.

TSLAC thanks everyone who came to testify on behalf of our budget and our Sunset bill, most recently Gretchen Pruett, Eric Lashley, and Martha Doty Freeman, who appeared at the Senate Business & Commerce Committee meeting to speak in favor of the TSLAC Sunset bill.