After months of study of our agency, the Sunset Advisory Commission yesterday made final decisions on the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. The panel—which is comprised of five state senators, five representatives, and two public members—made several recommendations, the most important of which is that TSLAC continue to operate for another 12 years. There is no recommendation for any loss of authority or any combination with another agency.
In addition, the Sunset Commission also recommended that we:
- Have specific permission to advertise services and to sell reproductions of archival materials the proceeds of which will benefit preservation and digitization efforts as well as educational operations
- Work with other agencies to explore options for sharing space for curatorial operations as part of our requested expansion of the State Records Center on Shoal Creek
- Develop a strategic plan for managing the state archives with particular emphasis on the processing backlog
- Clarify processes for how we handle the transfer and confidentiality of legislator records
- Discontinue the requirement that TSLAC approve local government retention schedules
- Make changes to our grants management procedures to remove perceived conflicts of interest and to ensure broader participation
The Sunset recommendations represent a welcome vote of confidence by the state in the work TSLAC performs for the state. The Sunset Commission staff report spoke about the value of the agency to the state and the commission’s recommendations today underscore their appreciation of the importance of TSLAC’s work and the integrity of our staff and our processes in delivering that work.
I want to thank Assistant State Librarian Gloria Meraz for being the lead staff person in writing our agency self-evaluation and in leading our very strategic approach to the Sunset process. But this was a team effort that took work by many people inside and outside the agency including our commissioners, our division directors, and many of our staff. We are also very grateful to support we received throughout process from key stakeholders such as the Texas Library Association, the Texas State Historical Association, and the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board.
Sunset review has been a long road over many months and the process is not over yet. The most important steps lie ahead in introducing and passing legislation to reauthorize TSLAC for another 12 years. But with these recommendations we will approach the session with confidence and an expectation of a favorable outcome.
All decision documents for yesterday’s meeting, including for TSLAC, can be found here.