By Mark Smith
Today I informed our commissioners and my TSLAC colleagues that I will be retiring as TSLAC Director and State Librarian on August 31 of this year.
Serving as the Texas State Librarian and leading TSLAC since November 2013 has been the honor of my life. When I began my library career as a page at the Austin Public Library in 1979, I could never have imagined I would work for 42 years in libraries, much less serve as the State Librarian of Texas. But it has been a wonderful career and this position has been an amazing experience. Working with this highly talented and hard-working staff, serving a dedicated group of commissioners, and seeing the outstanding work by librarians, archivists, and records professionals across the state, has made this job incredibly rewarding.
I don’t mind acknowledging that the last 14 months have been challenging for TSLAC leadership as they have for anyone who is responsible for managing teams whether in the public, private, or non-profit sector. They have been equally trying months for everyone in our society and for some they have been tragic months. But I am guardedly optimistic that we are emerging slowly from the pandemic and by the end of August I expect the worst will be well behind us.
Overall, the last seven and a half years have been productive. The TSLAC budget has grown overall by over 32 percent and we have added important new projects like the Texas Digital Archive, E-Read Texas, broadband improvements for over 180 libraries, digitization of our Talking Book Program, and a new records storage facility at Promontory Point. I had a role in these and many other projects, some more than others. But the heavy lifting was done–as it always is–by the team and I commend all my colleagues at TSLAC for their outstanding work providing a rich array of information services to Texans of all backgrounds and all parts of the state.
Closer to my last day, I will provide an informal final report. But for now, there is still work to be done and I am looking forward to another three and a half months of work. Many thanks to you all for your outstanding work and for your support for TSLAC.
TSLAC Press Release, https://www.tsl.texas.gov/node/68029