TSLAC Rises to the Occasion

The dedicated staff of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission have continued to serve the public throughout the coronavirus emergency period.

A researcher accessing TSLAC archival holdings online on May 12.

The archives reading room is the only library facility in state government currently welcoming the public to conduct research on site. Since May 4, researchers seeking to access TSLAC’s rich archival holdings on Texas history and government have been able to make an appointment for a personal visit. The public services staff have been available to welcome researchers and offer professional assistance in use of the collection.

TSLAC Digital Asset Coordinator Steve Kantner prepares archival records for digitization and remote access.

Throughout the pandemic, far more inquiries for information have been handled via e-mail and by phone, with most requests satisfied with resources provided electronically, many from the over 50 terabytes of information contained in the Texas Digital Archive, or via the TSLAC website.

The staff of the State Records Center have been on hand throughout the period when most other Texas government functions have been closed, meeting the need of agencies to deliver documents to offices, or to receive transfers of records from state agencies.

Talking Book Program Service Clerk Bo Cao pulls materials to send to TBP customers throughout Texas.

The Talking Book Program (TBP) serves persons with visual and physical disabilities who are particularly disadvantaged and isolated by the current crisis. The TBP circulation staff are working on-site to mail out materials that meet the reading and information needs of residents in all parts of the state. TBP staff are also available by phone to help readers find the materials they need.

Since mid-March, libraries across Texas have been grappling with how to fulfill their essential role of information providers to their communities while many have been closed. The staff of the TSLAC Library Development and Networking (LDN) division have been on hand to provide a steady flow of supporting materials to libraries of all types and sizes in all parts of the state. A resources page established at the beginning of the crisis has continued to grow with materials on communications strategies for libraries and how to safely reopen services to the public. The LDN team is also currently receiving applications for TSLAC CARES grants to assist libraries in addressing community needs for digital inclusion and COVID-19 prevention, response, and recovery. Libraries have also been able to offer their customers remote access to a huge range of online information via the TexShare and TexQuest shared online infomration programs and the E-Read Texas statewide e-book project. And thanks to TSLAC’s efforts to bring broadband services to Texas libraries — which have increased internet speeds by over 1,000 percent in over 150 locations across the state — library customers can access those resouces more quickly and efficiently.

TSLAC takes seriously its mission to “provide Texans with the information they need to lead informed and productive lives.” That need does not stop in times of crisis (in fact, it only increases) and neither does the work of the TSLAC team to meet that need.

Links to TSLAC resources mentioned in this post:

For more information on how to access TSLAC services during the emergency period, see this link: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/services

To contact the TSLAC archives staff, please e-mail archinfo@tsl.texas.gov. 

For more information or to apply for a TSLAC CARES grant, visit https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ldn/cares

Explore the vast historical resouces contained in the Texas Digital Archive at https://tsl.access.preservica.com/

To find out more about the Talking Book Program, visit https://www.tsl.texas.gov/tbp/index.html

COVID-19 Information and Resources for Library Workers – https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ldn/covid-19

For information on the TexShare program serving public and academic librareis, see https://www.tsl.texas.gov/texshare/index.html

Information regarding TexQuest e-resources for K-12 students can be found at https://www.tsl.texas.gov/landing/educators.html

For more on the E-Read Texas e-book program, see https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ldn/ebooks