Libraries Past, Present and Future, and the Upcoming TLA

A few days ago, because it is National Library Week, I did an interview for the public radio show The Texas Standard. They were nice and the piece came out well. The topic was what was the oldest library in Texas. (There were three contenders and all three have a claim to being the oldest in a category, but you’ll have to listen to the segment to find out.)

While we always appreciate the coverage, and as much as I like to talk about the history of libraries, what I would much rather talk about is the future of libraries. As we move toward the end of the second decade of this century, we have demonstrated that far from obsolete, libraries have re-invented themselves as vibrant hubs of learning, technology, and community engagement. A recent article in the Dallas Morning News and Austin American Statesman by Texas Library Association President-Elect Ling Hwey Jeng nicely describes by investments in libraries pay off huge dividends for communities. The recently published study on the economic value of libraries by the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Texas quantifies that every dollar invested in public libraries returns $4.64 in value to Texas communities.

Next week, the Texas Library Association annual conference will be held in San Antonio. TSLAC is looking forward to participating both as we attend exciting programs by library experts from across the country, but also as presenters. TSLAC is presenting or sponsoring 33 programs at the conference. TSLAC is proud to be a sponsor of the program, “Big Idea: Artificial Intelligence–Out of Science Fiction and into Daily Life” presented by Anita Brede, CEO and co-founder of Iris AI.

TSLAC staff are presenting sessions that range over a wide variety of topics, including Power Up TexQuest! Hands On Lab by Liz Philippi (April 19, 2:45-3:45 p.m.), Top Tech Trends presented by Kyla Hunt (April 20, 4:15-5:15 p.m.), and Edge Initiative and Enhanced Public Services by Jennifer Peters (April 21, 8:30 – 9:30 a.m.).

We also urge librarians to attend two sessions where we are soliciting feedback on two very important processes related to TSLAC continuing to plan for the future development of Texas libraries. On Thursday, April 20 from 11:15 to 12:15 a.m. Assistant State Librarian Gloria Meraz and I will be leading a discussion of the agency sunset review. And later that day, April 20, from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m., Library Development and Networking Director Deborah Littrell will be leading a discussion of priorities for the next five-year plan for federally-funded LSTA projects in Texas. We urge you to attend both of these programs to let us know your thoughts on how TSLAC can assist in creating strong future libraries in Texas.

And also please come visit us in the exhibit hall at the TSLAC booth #2409.

We look forward to meeting and conferring with all our colleagues to discuss the exciting world of libraries today and into the future.

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