For the last few days, along with the rest of society, TSLAC has been running to keep up with the rapidly changing conditions during the developing response to the coronavirus epidemic.
Last week, TSLAC closed all facilities to the public and most staff began working from home, though we maintained some staff working in the De Zavala headquarters building in the Capitol complex in Austin. Today, the City of Austin ordered all residents to stay at home unless travel was absolutely essential. Consequently, beginning tomorrow, March 25, we are further reducing staff in our two Austin facilities to the minimum needed to maintain services online and by e-mail. Our State Records Center is a designated essential service so a minimal number of staff will rotate on site to meet requests for records deliveries to state agencies. All other services will be delivered online or by phone.
For an up-to-date report of services available during this emergency period, as well as resources for libraries and archives, please refer to the excellent Plan for Services During COVID-19 maintained by Assistant State Librarian Gloria Meraz and the TSLAC Communications Team with input from all divisions of the agency.
As you may have heard, many libraries across the state of Texas have closed during the current crisis. In some states, the Governor or the State Library have issued statements urging libraries to close. This has not been the case in Texas. The Governor has not ordered statewide closures and TSLAC does not take a position on whether a library should cease services to the public. The Texas Library Association, however, has issued a statement urging libraries to close for the health of employees and the public.
Even closed, libraries provide a huge wealth of materials to the public that can be accessed 24-7. These online resources are of key importance in finding information or even just relieving the stress of long hours spent at home. We urge you to visit your library’s website to discover the fun, interesting, and informative materials they offer online such as e-books, movies, audiobooks, and e-resources available from the library, many of which are provided via our TexShare program. And for those of you interested in Texas history, we urge you to explore online TSLAC archival resources and the vast collection in the Texas Digital Archive.
To all our patrons, clients, and partners, we wish you health and safety. We look forward to continuing to serve you as we can during this emergency period and to seeing you in person in a few weeks.
Links in this article:
TSLAC Plan of Service during COVID-19: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/services
TLA Statement regarding closure of libraries: https://txla.org/news/tla-recommends-closure-of-texas-libraries/
TSLAC Archives & Manuscripts page: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/arc/index.html
Texas Digital Archive: https://tsl.access.preservica.com/