Texas Book Festival and the Texas Authors Summit

Last weekend, TSLAC participated in the 21st annual Texas Book Festival. Once again this year the agency had a booth in the festival exhibit tents, showcasing the many services and resources provided by TSLAC to individuals, state government, libraries, and local governments across the state. We are grateful to both staff and members of

TSLAC staffers (from left) Steve Siwinski, Jennifer Peters, Rebekah Manley, and Mark Smith at the TSLAC booth at the Texas Book Festival.

TSLAC staffers (from left) Steve Siwinski, Jennifer Peters, Rebekah Manley, and Mark Smith at the TSLAC booth at the Texas Book Festival.

the Friends of Libraries and Archives of Texas for working the booth.

On the Thursday evening before the start of the Festival, TSLAC and the TBF collaborated on an exciting new program called the Texas Authors Summit. This event invited Texas authors to come together for an evening in Zavala building and to learn about the resources that TSLAC offers to authors in researching their books. Several dozen authors attended the event, mingled, networked, met staff, and toured the stacks.

Authors Caroline Gnagy (left) and Nikki Loftin speak about their work at the Texas Authors Summit.

Authors Caroline Gnagy (left) and Nikki Loftin speak about their work at the Texas Authors Summit.

I was honored to moderate a panel at the Summit with two authors, Nikki Loftin, author of Wish Girl, a novel for young adults set in the Texas hill country, and our Texas Great Read for the National Book Festival, and Caroline Gnagy, author of Texas Jailhouse Music: A Prison Band History. Both authors shared information about their research and the background for their books.

The event was organized by the Texas Center for the Book and coordinator Rebekah Manley, who also presented the first annual Center for the Book Literacy Award of $1,000 to Midland Need to Read at the event.

TSLAC and the Texas Center for the Book appreciates the close partnership with the Texas Book Festival. The TBF staff under the leadership of Executive Director Lois Kim, are responsible for one of the most successful and vibrant book festivals in the U.S. Those of us in Texas and in Austin, are fortunate to be able to participate in this event each year the proceeds from which have benefitted hundreds of Texas public libraries as well as the TBF signature program, Reading Rock Stars.

TSLAC participation in the Texas Book Festival extended to a Lit Crawl event called “Band Books: Libraries Rock” held Saturday evening at the Terrazas Branch of the Austin Public Library, in partnership with APL and the Texas Library Association. The event featured Echo and the Bats, a great band comprised of APL youth services staff, and appearances by two notable authors, Yuyi Morales, who provided a spirited reading of her book, Niño Wrestles the World, and R.L. Stine of Goosebumps fame who read a very spooky—and funny—story to the adoring crowd.

These types of fun events spread information about the services offered at TSLAC, as well as generating excitement for the wonderful work that libraries across Texas do to promote literacy and a love of books and reading. We can’t wait to return to next year’s Texas Book Festival.

 

 

 

 

Libraries Saving America: The TSLAC Road Trip to San Angelo

This week the Texas State Library and Archives Commission will hold its regularly scheduled meeting at the beautiful new Stephens (Tom Green County) Central Library in San Angelo. Each fall, the commission meets in a different location around the state. Last year, the commission met at the Lamar University Library in Beaumont, and two years ago in Rio Grande City, home of the Starr County Library.

Our commission—a seven member governing board comprised of citizens from across the state appointed by the Governor—likes to meet in different locations so that members can observe library operations first hand, and meet and be accessible to local and state officials, the public, librarians and library supporters.

By meeting in San Angelo, the Commission will have the opportunity to visit not only the Stephens library, but the Porter Henderson Library at Angelo State library, the West Texas Collection archives, and the San Angelo Data Center.

While in San Angelo, the commission will present a ceremonial grant check to the Tom Green County Library for $80,000 for two creative projects. Of this amount, $75,000 will fund STEAM Central, an innovative technology program that will create a new makerspace area in the library where young people can come to explore, experiment, and learn vital science, technology, engineering, arts and math skills that will help them be competitive in our high-tech economy.

In conjunction with our meeting in San Angelo, Jaclyn Owusu, Public Awareness Coordinator in our Talking Book Program, will be meeting with various individuals and organizations to spread the word about the books and information that make available free of charge to Texans who cannot read standard print due to a visual or physical disability.

In advance of our visit, the San Angelo Standard-Times ran an article last week that I wrote to call attention to the important role that libraries play in our society. I made the case that in our deeply divided country where there is little agreement anything, Americans are in agreement that libraries are a key resource for early learning, workforce, technology, and much more. While Americans are mistrustful of government, they trust the information they receive from libraries. And at a time when Americans are tribal and wary of one another, they are comfortable coming together to interact with one another in the safe environment of the library.

In this way, I have argued, that libraries may be in a unique position to help heal the deep divisions in our society and help connect people with each other and the resources they need for their individual goals, and to develop strong, vibrant, resilient communities.

Can libraries save America? The answer is yes and the effort is already afoot in San Angelo and hundreds of other communities across Texas and the nation. We need to acknowledge it and get to work. Our country needs us.

“Find Country’s Answers in the Library,” San Angelo Standard-Times.

October is Archives Month–Let’s Celebrate!

October is Archives Month and there is a lot going on.

Last week the Austin City Council held a ceremony to proclaim that October is Archives Month, celebrating the value of archival collections to preserving and making available the records of our shared heritage. We were glad to have members of our Texas Historical Resources Advisory Board on hand to attend the event. The THRAB is comprised with experts from across Texas who advise the State Archivist, Jelain Chubb, on matters relating the archival collections of TSLAC and in other archives across the state.

2016-aris-archives-month-poster-proof-08-08Each year, TSLAC produces an Archives Month poster to share with other libraries and archives across Texas and the nation. This year’s poster (pictured at left)—“Archives Have the Answers! You Provide the Questions”—celebrates the important role that archives and libraries play in making historical records available to researchers and the general public. These collections are a source of information that Texans use every day to “unlock stories of the past,” including genealogies, social narratives, and community history.

On Sunday, October 16, TSLAC will again be attending the Austin Archives Bazaar to be held from 2 to 6:00 p.m. at Saengerrunde Hall, 1607 San Jacinto Boulevard in Austin. The event provides an opportunity for attendees to learn about the many resources and services to be found at Austin-area archives. Similar events are held in other cities in Texas and across the country during Texas and American Archives Month.

And at TSLAC, we continue to seek ways to extend the value of our collections and make them more accessible to the public. Our project, the Texas Digital Archive, launched early this year, continues to grow and expand, with ever increasing collections of digital archival materials added every week. Over the coming months and years, the Texas Digital Archive will continue to grow and become an ever-more useful repository of the digital archives of Texas state government. We hope you will visit the TDA today to see what is new and continue to return to see what is added.

We urge you to celebrate Texas Archives Month by visiting our agency to start your genealogy research, carry on your research, or even just visit our fascinating lobby exhibit on the history of Texas parks and their creation by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Or visit an archive near you to discover the wonderful range of information and services available in Texas archives.

For more events during Texas Archives Month and ways you can celebrate, visit https://www.tsl.texas.gov/arc/thrab/archivesmonth.html

Please visit the Texas Digital Archive at: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/texasdigitalarchive

For more on American Archives Month, visit https://prologue.blogs.archives.gov/2016/10/01/the-national-archives-celebrates-american-archives-month/

Power Up at Your Library

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Today is Power Up at Your Library Day all across Texas. Libraries are celebrating and demonstrating the many ways in which they have become vibrant learning and technology hubs. The Powered Libraries Facebook Page has been busy all day documenting dozens of exciting projects in which libraries are platforms for learning. Using library resources in maker spaces and through other projects, kids and adults are acquiring new skills, experimenting with technology, learning to write programs, building robots, designing prototypes for entrepreneurial projects, printing designs on 3-D printers, learning about science and math through creative games, tech back-packs, and other fun devices.

For our part, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission has provided many grants to libraries to experiment with maker spaces and other technology projects for all ages. Assistant State Librarian Gloria Meraz is observing Power Up at Your Library Day by presenting a TSLAC grant in the amount of $10,259 to the Flower Mound Public Library in North Texas. These funds will be used to purchase a minimum of 60 STEM kits for circulation to its patrons under the age of 18. The Library hopes to foster interest in STEM topics as early as preschool and continuing through high school.

We wish all our libraries statewide the utmost success in supporting technology education and exploration in their communities.

Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress.

Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress.

We were also very excited yesterday to watch the confirmation of Dr. Carla Hayden as the 14th Librarian of Congress. Dr. Hayden was formerly the Executive Director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library of Baltimore, a former president of the American Library Association, and one of the most respected librarians in the country. She is the first woman to occupy the post and the first African American. She was introduced by House Speaker, Rep. Paul Ryan, and sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts. Dr. Hayden’s appointment is so exciting because she understands the valuable role that libraries of all types can play in creating sustainable communities, safeguarding cultural heritage, and promoting educational and technological growth in our society. We will be cheering her on in her role as the nation’s most prominent librarian. For more background on this important story, see the excellent front-page article on Dr. Hayden in today’s New York Times.

Progress Report: Texas Center for the Book

12809534_964059276998266_8426480073537870446_n[1]Last October, we celebrated the arrival of the Texas Center for the Book at the Texas State Library and Archives with an event on the front portico of our building. It was a nice event during the Texas Book Festival and we were joined by writers Carmen Lomas Garza, Sarah Bird, and Pat Mora. The Texas Center for the Book, an affiliate of the National Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, had been operated by the Dallas Public Library since 1987, but by mutual agreement, we and DPL felt that it more rightly belonged with a state agency. We took on the work of the Center for the Book to support our broader agency interests of encouraging reading, literacy, and library use.

But to tell the truth, we were a bit unsure what we were getting into. We set modest goals and thought that during the first year, we might promote Letters about Literature, a statewide reading/writing contest for school students, and perhaps one or two other projects. We greatly underestimated two factors: the intense interest that the program would generate among librarians, teachers, authors, and the public, and also the creativity and determination of our Center for the Book Coordinator, Rebekah Manley, who joined our staff in December 2015. Over the last eight months,

Texas Center for the Book Coordinator Rebekah Manley (left) with author Pat Mora (in red) cast of the play "Tomás and the Library Lady" and members of the family of Tomás Rivera at the Zach Theater in February 2016.

Texas Center for the Book Coordinator Rebekah Manley (right) with author Pat Mora (in red) cast of the play “Tomás and the Library Lady” and members of the family of Tomás Rivera at the Zach Theater in February 2016.

fueled by Rebekah’s energy and supported by Communications Officer Stephen Siwinski and many other TSLAC staff, and encouraged by active librarians, community members, and others, the Texas Center for the Book has accomplished far more than we expected.

The Texas Center for the Book continued the Letters about Literature project, increasing participation by 10% over the previous year. In this project, school children in grades 4 to 12 write letters to their favorite authors—living or dead—about a book that has changed their lives. Our three winners read their essays at the Texas Library Association annual conference in April.

The Center also sponsored Lone Star Día, the Texas celebration of the 20th anniversary of Children’s Day, Book Day / El día de los niños, el día de los libros,lonestar_banner supporting programs in Austin and at the TLA conference, and distributing posters about the event to every public library and thousands of school libraries across the state. The Center partnered with Little Free Libraries to hold builds of the tiny libraries in four cities as a way to highlight the positive work of libraries and engage a new audience in the work. The Center held meet-ups in Austin and other cities to bring librarians and others together to network and share ideas. The Center has launched a $1,000 award to honor literacy organizations in the state with an emphasis on library partnerships.

The Center has networked with Texas writers groups to engage them with the work of the Center and TSLAC. Rebekah has opened dialogues and partnerships with a wide range of organizations such the Texas Book Festival, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, BookSpring, Society of Book Writers and Illustrators, Literacy Texas, and the Texas Veterans Commission.

For the next year, in addition to continuing these activities, Rebekah and the Center are planning to roll out a statewide reading program featuring books that explore the topic of veterans’ experiences. We will release information on that program this fall.

And in September, Rebekah and Stephen will represent Texas at the National Book Festival in Washington. For this event, each year, every state selects a “Great Reads” book that highlights their state. For Texas this year, the book is Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin. This magical book for young adults is set in the Central Texas hill country and Ms. Loftin has been very supportive of the Center, as the excellent video featured above indicates.

So it has been a successful first year and we very much appreciate the active participation in activities of our Center for the Book by so many librarians and educators and authors and community leaders statewide, and by our always-supportive Friends of Libraries and Archives of Texas.

It is more important than ever to develop strong reading and library habits, literacy skills, and a love of books. We think we are off to a great start in using the Texas Center for the Book to help Texans discover the joy and benefits of reading.

For more information, see the Texas Center for the Book page on the TSLAC website:

https://www.tsl.texas.gov/centerforthebook

And follow the Center on Facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/txcenterforthebook/?fref=ts

Leadership Library

I was privileged last week to be invited to participate in a panel discussion at the first annual Texas Library Association Executive Leadership Immersion. This week-long event was aimed at seasoned library professionals looking to further hone their leadership skills. At the helm for the presentations was Dr. Julie Todaro, Dean of Library Services at Austin Community College and President of the American Library Association.

Dr. Julie Todaro, left, presiding over the graduation ceremony for participants at the first annual 2016 Leadership Immersion.

Julie Todaro, left, presiding over the graduation ceremony for participants at the first annual 2016 TLA Leadership Immersion.

My panel mates were Sheila Henderson, Head Librarian at Austin Community College and longtime Texas library leader; and Darryl Tocker, Executive Director of the Tocker Foundation which provides much-needed philanthropic support to small community libraries across Texas. Our topic was to discuss the books and literature we turn to for our own personal inspiration and guidance on the topic of leadership and also how to draw from the huge amount of material published on leadership to create a toolkit for our organizations.

On the former question, I puzzled for days (Julie asked that we not confer with our colleagues so that our answers would be unique). I found as I puzzled that a truth emerged. While I find many books about leadership published to be useful and motivational, I seldom find them to be deeply inspirational. For inspiration I go to other books. I considered the qualities that I believe define leadership: Courage, Compassion, Honesty, Humility, and Vision. And I find that I draw true inspiration from reading about persons who deeply understand or exemplify those traits. As examples, for lessons in courage, I mentioned I am Malala, by Malala Yousefzai, who at the age of 12 and despite death threats spoke out about the importance of education for girls in Pakistan and who was subsequently shot by the Taliban, and at age 17 delivered a Nobel Peace Prize speech before the world’s leading political and intellectual figures. For compassion, I noted the book Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Compassion by Father Gregory Boyle whose organization Home Boy Industries works with L.A. gang members trying to escape from their cycle of violence.

And so on. It seems important to me to consider who we as leaders look to for our guidance and inspiration and consider who those that we admire as leaders look for theirs.

On the latter question of how we make sense of the huge array of materials available on the topic of leadership, or put another way, what is in our tool kit, I suggested a few areas that I felt were important to cover, as follows:

  • Organizational analysis and continuous quality improvement – I suggested Baldrige Excellence Framework: A Systems Approach to Improving Your Organization’s Performance (National Institute of Standards and Technology, US Department of Commerce, 2015). This is a resource we have used at TSLAC to investigate key quality process areas for improvement.
  • Ethics – Because of the importance of being ethical as a foundational quality, I suggested The Ethical Executive by Robert Hoyk and Paul Hersey (Stanford University Press, 2008).
  • Inspiration – Because leaders are expected to consider new ways of thinking and inspire others to follow, there are many to choose from, but I suggested Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek (Portfolio, 2011).
  • Motivation – Employees are an organization’s greatest asset and keeping them motivated is crucial to success. I suggested Drive by Daniel Pink (Riverhead Books, 2011), which reminds us that intrinsic rewards are often more important to motivation than extrinsic rewards.
  • Change management – Because change is a daily part of our work, especially in the information business, there are many sources, but I suggested a classic, Leading Change by John Kotter (Harvard Business Review, 2012).
  • Trending – Because understanding how trends can and cannot be predicted and influenced, I recommended The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Random House, 2010) and also The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown and Company, 2002).

I could go on. Like many others I have greatly relied on the wisdom contained in Good to Great by Jim Collins (Harper Collins, 2001), understood the importance of organizational humility from The Courageous Follower by Ira Chaleff (Barret-Koehler Publishers, 2003), and The Servant Leader by James Autry (Three Rivers Press, 2001), and learned to analyze how we process information from Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013).

And finally, I advised the Leadership Immersion attendees not to overlook the great online resources such as TED Talks, YouTube videos, blogs, and podcasts.

Thank you to Dr. Julie Todaro and TLA Executive Director Pat Smith for inviting me to participate in the event and for continuing to provide excellent models of library leadership.

Hard choices for 2018-2019

I have been absent from my blog for a few weeks because the TSLAC staff and I have been working hard on the preparation of our 2018-2019 Legislative Appropriation Request (LAR). The LAR is a massive undertaking that requires many long hours of number crunching, data entry, and soul searching. Most of this work is done by our division directors and our Chief Operations and Financial Officer, Donna Osborne.

Why do I say soul searching? Because this year’s budget instructions issued by the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) with a cover policy letter from the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and the Speaker of the House, instruct agencies to prepare their base budget requests at a 4% overall reduction. The instructions also require–as has been the practice in previous LARs–a contingency plan to reduce funding by a further 10% on top of the 4% reduction, or 14% overall. These instructions require our staff and Commission to make hard choices, not the least of which because TSLAC is still recovering from the 65% cut in state funding that our agency took in 2011. Despite generous appropriations by the Legislature in the 2013 and 2015 sessions, our state general revenue funding is still 22% below the agency’s funding in 2010-2011.

In considering the reduction, we will weigh whether to reduce our very popular and heavily used TexShare and TexQuest online information services, reduce the work on our new Texas Digital Archive, funded in the last session, to collect, protect, and make available, archival resources of the state in digital format, or to reduce funding for projects such as the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty, or the Talking Book Program, a lifeline to books and information for persons in all parts of the state who cannot read standard print due to visual impairments or physical disabilities.

Our reductions are being formulated now and Commission will meet on August 2 to consider and approve the LAR. We are committed to following the spirit of the instructions from our state leadership in making the most sound and sensible reductions that we can. It will not be our goal to impact popular programs in order to create controversy. To the contrary, our goal will be to make reductions that have the least impact possible on the information resources that Texans need to live informed and productive lives.

I look forward to reporting in the next blog in more detail on our LAR after it is finalized and submitted on August 5.

Welcoming Gloria Meraz

GM-5I am very pleased to announce that Gloria Meraz has been appointed Assistant State Librarian at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Gloria has served for the last 17 years as the Director of Communications for the Texas Library Association. Gloria enjoys a statewide reputation as a passionate and articulate advocate of the power of libraries and archives to change lives. She is well known both to librarians and archivists, but also to elected officials and decision-makers in Austin and across the state. Gloria is a trained librarian and archivist who understands the transformative value of our work and knows how speak “truth to power” in communicating that value.

Gloria will build on a tradition of excellence at the Texas State Library. She succeeds Ed Seidenberg who retired last year after serving the agency admirably in a variety of capacities for over 40 years. Prior to Ed, the Assistant State Librarian was Raymond Hitt, who was in turn preceded by William Gooch, who succeeded Dorman Winfrey as State Librarian in 1987. Mr. Gooch joined the staff of the State Library in the early 1970s.

That makes Gloria the first Assistant State Librarian in 45 years to join the staff from outside the agency. She will bring new insights and thinking to TSLAC and I look forward to collaborating with her to guide the agency through the coming legislative session and our subsequent agency sunset review. It is an absolutely vital moment in the history of TSLAC and for libraries and archives statewide. We are pivoting from questions about sustainability to a growing awareness that libraries, archives, and records programs are a vital source of information in an economy that thrives on information. Our ability to support efficient and cost-saving access to information in digital, print, and media formats is fundamentally important to the economic growth of Texas.

Gloria says, “I am thrilled and honored to join the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. The agency delivers an impressive array of resources and services to state and local government, researchers, communities, and people across the Texas. I look forward to working with the talented team at TSLAC and to support the efforts of the state’s libraries, archives, and records services organizations. The future holds unlimited potential for the agency, and I am excited about all the wonderful opportunities ahead.”

We will welcome Gloria on our team starting August 8 and will appreciate her assistance in achieving our agency mission “To provide Texans access to information needed to be informed, productive citizens.”

If you don’t ask. . .

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission met last week and among the several items they discussed was the agency’s funding request for the 2018-2019 biennium. By all accounts, the next session is going to be tough. Energy revenues are down and we have indications that funds will be tight. However, despite gains in the last two sessions, TSLAC’s state general revenue funding is still 23% below what it was five years ago (in 2010-2011) and meanwhile the needs of the agency and of library and archives users statewide have not decreased. During the spring, in a variety of forums, we heard those needs expressed loud and clear many times.

So for those reasons, the Commission prioritized a set of recommendations that support their own operational goals and respond to the needs of the public, state government, and the libraries and local governments we serve. The Commission approved the following items in this order (amounts are approximate pending further discussion by the Commission and are for the biennium):

  1. Strengthening agency computer and physical security – $1,621,714 – Because we must safeguard the tremendous online and physical assets of the agency, including the archival historical record of the state.
  2. Affordable e-resources for education, workforce, and lifelong learning – $8,000,000 – Because we can leverage statewide buying power to provide affordable, cost-effective access to e-book content for students, job-seekers, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and lifelong learners through thousands of public, academic, and school libraries across Texas.
  3. Recruiting and retaining an agency workforce to deliver mandated services – $500,000 – Because delivering the valued services of our agency depends upon hiring and keeping qualified and educated persons whose information skills are in high demand in our information economy.
  4. Greater transparency of state and local government – $241,800 – Because the public deserves transparency in the operations of state and local government and our agency cannot ensure that transparency without sufficient trained staff to provide records management guidance and training for 157 state agencies and over 10,000 units of local government.
  5. Broadband access for Texas communities – $1,000,000 – Because the economic and educational progress of Texas depends upon the availability of high-speed Internet and public libraries could provide that access through affordable, E-rate-supported broadband access.

We look forward to taking these items forward to our elected representatives beginning now and extending through the next session. We look forward to telling our leaders how TSLAC can help Texans have access to the information they need to be informed, productive citizens.

The Case for Broadband in Libraries

Education and community leaders at all levels of government are coming to a remarkably clear consensus on the importance of access to broadband for education and economic development. In March, Governor Abbott released a statement making Internet access for schools a priority of his administration. The Governor correctly sees the correlation between access to high-speed Internet and student achievement. Broadband is equally important as a tool for economic development for job seekers, small businesses, and professional firms. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce adopted a policy brief in 2015 that states that “The Chamber views broadband as a means to stimulate jobs and foster economic growth.” And for individuals, broadband for basic functions and to connect with resources for lifelong learning is a major quality of life issue.

Unfortunately, Texas lags woefully behind the rest of the country in citizen access to broadband. A recent assessment by Strategic Network Group in partnership with the Rural Telecommunications Conference assigned Texas the lowest overall ranking of any state in the status of providing broadband access. Texas has no statewide broadband office and no committed statewide funding to broadband deployment. Broadband Now ranks Texas as the 46th most connected state. And in 2014, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance determined that Texas has five of the 25 worst connected cities for poor households, including the top two worst: Brownsville and Laredo!

Libraries are in a position to help. Because for 62% of communities, the library is the only place in town that people can to access free Internet, because libraries are the go-to place for the public for and because public libraries can participate in E-Rate discounts that can bring Internet to communities at a fraction of the full market cost. And libraries are at the forefront of efforts to provide broadband access. Consider this article that ran on KUT Radio just this morning about attempts of libraries (featuring the Pflugerville Public Library) to provide access for Texans to broadband: http://kut.org/post/pflugerville-library-wants-bridge-digital-divide-lending-out-wi-fi-hotspots

But again, Texas libraries lag behind. In a speed test conducted by TSLAC this spring, we estimate that 93% of libraries fail to meet the FCC standard for library Internet connectivity.

For these reasons, our Commission has set as a goal to support efforts to ensure digital inclusion for Texas. On June 3, commission members will entertain a discussion of priorities for the next legislative session. Among these priorities will be a discussion of how TSLAC can support greater broadband connectivity for Texas libraries. We expect that our efforts will focus on encouraging and incentivizing libraries to seek E-rate discounts to make high-speed Internet more affordable to more communities.

At the very least we hope to be able to make a case to the Legislature on the important role that libraries can play in this endeavor that has such important consequences for Texas and Texans.

Further reading:
Strategic Networks Group, “The 50 States of Broadband,” April 4, 2016: http://sngroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/50-States-of-Broadband-final-report.pdf
U.S. Chamber of Commerce policy brief on broadband: https://www.uschamber.com/issue-brief/broadband
BroadbandNow: http://broadbandnow.com/Texas
Pell Center, “State-Level Broadband Policy,” September 2015, http://pellcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/State-Level-Broadband-Policy-FINAL.pdf