This week in Austin marks the annual meeting of the Texas Council of Academic Librarians (TCAL). I will welcome the opportunity to bring greetings and a brief update on TSLAC activities to the TCAL attendees. Like all other segments of the library world, college and university libraries face their own unique set of challenges. Enrollment at Texas institutions continues to increase rapidly while resources often remain flat or declining. Library staffs run to keep ahead of student and faculty expectations and needs for data while the cost of information resources continues to increase. Students and faculty need ongoing instruction in the use of rapidly evolving technology.
We at the State Library are pleased to support a number of projects that serve college and university library users. Our TexShare program which provides access to online commercial databases for students, faculty, and directly to the public, logs around 100 million uses per year, most from academic library users. This program–which boasts an ROI of nearly 10-to-1–got an infusion of funding in the last legislative session so that we look to being able to add one or two more statewide information resources in the next few months.
We provide grant funding to academic libraries and our Commission recently approved awards for several such projects, including a number of TexTreasures grants to digitize special collections so that they can be used online and accessible by persons throughout the state.
I look forward to discussing with college and university librarians a variety of other projects, including open content to information supported by public funds, platforms to allow easier access to archival collections across multiple institutions, and access to e-books and other digital content.
In other news, Texas libraries were featured in an excellent article in the latest edition of PM, the magazine of the International City Managers Association (ICMA). The article speaks of the strategic importance of libraries in meeting critical technology needs in libraries across the country. As the article discusses, the Edge program–a project of the Urban Libraries Council and a partner of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission–is helping libraries develop models for assessing and strengthening their roles as technology providers in their communities. The article can be found online at http://www.urbanlibraries.org/filebin/pdfs/Edge_PMCoverFeature_Sept2015.pdf.