Meet the Second class of Library Technology Academy participants!

In early December the second class of Library Technology Academy participants convened in Austin at the new downtown Central Library for two full days of learning, challenging assumptions, and brainstorming new ways to implement and manage library technology.

white room with people gathered at tables, listening and writing while a person stands at the front next to a large flatscreen monitor.

Selected libraries for this year class are

  • Atlanta Public Library (Atlanta, TX)
  • Balch Springs Library and Learning Center (Balch Springs, TX)
  • Bonham Public Library (Bonham, TX)
  • The Library at Cedar Creek Lake (Seven Points, TX
  • Charlotte Public Library (Charlotte, TX)
  • Dickinson Public Library (Dickinson, TX)
  • Dublin Public Library (Dublin, TX)
  • Nancy Carol Roberts Memorial Library (Brenham, TX)
  • Riter C.Hulsey Public Library (Terrell, TX)

Together, nationally known Library Technologist, Carson Block, and TSLAC’s Digital Inclusion Consultant, Cindy Fisher, led participants through exercises in library technology visioning, user experience, and community data gathering. This in-person experience was framed by the understanding that strategic, intentional technology planning is often overshadowed by enticing shiny new technology. Especially for small and rural libraries where funds can be tight, integrating data-driven decisions for technology purchases can mean the difference between tech that helps communities thrive and tech that collects dust.

The participants used the beautiful downtown Central Library as a living classroom, observing and taking notes on Austin Public Library’s space and noticing how users were interacting with things like technology, furniture, and the building itself. Using these observations and community data gathered the previous day, participants brainstormed potential projects they could implement with their technology grant, knowing that their own libraries, communities and spaces are unique. In the next few weeks, participants will be continuing their learning and project development through an online course. They will devise a library inventory and conduct a needs assessment before finalizing a final project. Stay tuned for the next update!

Group of people posed on stairs smiling at the camera.

If you have questions about Library Technology Academy, please contact Cindy Fisher, Digital Inclusion Consultant, at cfisher@tsl.texas.gov or 512-463-4855.

Apply NOW for E-rate funding with help from FREE consultants

It’s E-rate Season!

That means it’s time for accredited public libraries to apply for big discounts on their broadband services! Libraries are eligible to receive up to 90% on their monthly Internet access costs, plus equipment and cabling, through E-rate, the federal discount program which puts billions of dollars aside each year for schools and libraries.

The Filing Window to submit the second form, the Form 471, starts TODAY (January 15) and will close Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 10:59 PM Central. This means that the first form, the Form 470, should be submitted asap in order to have time for the required 28 days of competitive bidding. The deadline for the Form 470 is February 26

E-rate funding becomes essential in enabling libraries to afford attaining basic national standards of broadband for their communities and to continue providing patrons efficient access to distance learning, e-government information, and employment opportunities.

Take advantage of FREE consultants this year!

This year, as part of TSLAC’s Libraries Connecting Texas project, accredited public libraries in Texas can use the free expertise of E-rate Central who will help them file the forms correctly and on time. 

NOTE: Last chance to get free, E-rate consultant help is Friday, February 1!

For more information about E-rate and getting started with the free help with LCT, please see TSLAC’s E-rate page or contact TSLAC’s E-rate Coordinator, Henry Stokes, at 512-463-6624, hstokes@tsl.texas.gov.

Logo for Libraries Connecting Texas Project



Ready for Input: 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report

Texas LibPAS, https://tx.countingopinions.com/, the data collection portal for the Texas Public Libraries Annual Report, is now open for reporting local fiscal year 2019 information.   Public libraries are encouraged to submit their information by March 31 to allow staff time to review the reports and work through accreditation issues.

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission participates in a national public library data collection system and the data is used for the creation of a composite report on the public libraries of the United States, and for state-to-state comparisons by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  Additionally, some data elements in this report are used to accredit public libraries in the state of Texas.

Accredited libraries can participate in statewide interlibrary loan and E-rate–the federal telecommunications discount program.  They are also eligible to apply for the agency’s competitive grants and other funding opportunities, and to participate in the TexShare Card and TexShare Database programs.

Information on preliminary population assignment and the library’s maintenance of effort (MOE) is available on the portal login page or the Annual Report webpage, under Tips and Tools, Population & MOE Planning Toolhttps://www.tsl.texas.gov/ldn/annualreport.

Emails were sent out last week reminding library directors of their Texas LibPAS log-in information. If you have not received the email, or you have questions about the Texas Public Libraries Annual Report, please contact Valicia Greenwood by email or call within Texas toll-free 800-252-9386.

Webinar This Week! Introduction to the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report

On Thursday, January 9, at 2 p.m., Library Statistics Specialist Valicia Greenwood will present an Introduction to the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report.

This webinar contains all you need to know about the Texas Public Libraries Annual Report and public library accreditation.  Whether this is your first time through, or have been doing it for years, it will be worth your time to participate.

You’ll learn tips for successful completion and what changes have been made in report questions.  There will be time spent on the financial reporting sections and details about maintenance of effort (MOE).  There will be links to tools that will help you understand the questions, from reporting downloadable materials to program statistics.  Each section of the report will be discussed and you will see a live demonstration of how to work your way around Texas LibPAS, the data collection portal. This is a great time to ask the questions you may have about reporting and accreditation.

This webinar provides 1 TSLAC CE hour of credit with the live viewing.  Join us!  Register at Introduction to the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report.

Next Thursday: E-rate Webinar

As a follow up to yesterday’s post about E-rate Category 2 changes and the possibility of public libraries getting significant discounts on cabling and Internet equipment, there will be a free, 1 hour webinar next Thursday, December 19 from 3 to 4 PM Central conducted by the folks at E-rate Central to discuss all things E-rate and Category 2.

It’s true: E-rate and Category 2 can get very complicated. Even if you are brand new to E-rate, the presenters promise to provide a simplified approach in explaining this opportunity for library staff.

Please register for:

Category 2 Funding for FY 2020 and Beyond – for Texas Applicants

Time: Thursday, Dec 19, 2019 3:00 PM Central

===> REGISTER HERE

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Description:

The long-awaited FCC Order on Category 2 funding was released on December 3 making FY 2020 a transition year with extra funding and resetting all five-year Category 2 budgets as of FY 2021.  FY 2020 provides a unique funding opportunity for applicants who have used little or no Category 2 funding.  New Category 2 funding rules for FY 2021 will change how applicants file for these discount.

Category 2 funding is not the only action recently taken by the FCC that will affect E-rate funding for FY 2020 and beyond.  This webinar with also discuss the Eligible Services List for FY 2020, the new National Security Threat rules, the new proposals for suspension and debarment procedures, and other issues for the coming year.

Need Costly Internet Equipment? New changes to E-rate provide libraries more funding

If you’re an accredited public library, there are two categories of funding you can apply for in E-rate, the federal program that pays you significant discounts (up to 90%) for your library’s Internet costs.

Category 1 covers the monthly costs to access the Internet from your provider, plus some special construction charges. It has no budget cap;

Category 2 covers cabling, equipment, licenses, and other services to support broadband at the library. It does have a budget. Here’s a list of all the goodies that you can get discounts on in Category 2:

  • Wireless Access Points/Wireless Controllers
  • Routers
  • Switches
  • Antennas (must be integral to the LAN/WAN)
  • Firewall Equipment
  • Internal Structured Cabling (unless solely dedicated to voice)
  • Caching Servers – (these are the only eligible servers)
  • Racks that house eligible equipment
  • UPS that support eligible equipment
  • Cloud-based functionality of eligible equipment
  • Licenses for eligible equipment (can apply for multi-year license in Year 1 of your contract)
  • Software that supports eligible equipment
  • Limited basic maintenance services for eligible equipment
  • Managed Internal Broadband Services (MIBS) – (see more below)
  • Taxes, surcharges and other similar reasonable charges
  • Shipping charges
  • Training on how to use eligible equipment
  • Installation and configuration (not required to be the equipment vendor)

For the last few years, Category 2 services have had a limited budget for you to use, based on the square footage of the library. The deadline to spend the amount allocated to your library was up in the air, until…

NEWSFLASH: Last week it was announced that Category 2 budgets are extended for the upcoming E-rate funding year (FY 2020) with an added 20% on top of that! And that in 2021, new rules will be implemented, including system wide budgets, a combined multiplier for all libraries, and a floor of $25,000, which is a significant increase from the last few years.

If you want to get potentially HUGE savings on your Internet equipment, cabling, and service, NOW is the time to look into applying for Category 2 of E-rate funding.

Contact Henry Stokes at 512-463-6624 if you need further information.

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Calling all Texas public libraries: Take the 2019 TSLAC Public Library Speed Test!

The Texas State Library is currently collecting Internet speeds from all Texas public libraries (both mains and branches) with an online speed test. The test measures how much Internet speed (how fast things load from the Internet) patrons can receive from their library location and automatically sends that data to us at the State Library. The data will be invaluable in our planning and help us determine further statewide needs for broadband.

Photo of Fort Worth Public library public access computers
Fort Worth Public Library public access computers

Email invitations with the testing link were sent out Monday to all directors. Please use the link from the email and conduct your test at the library location(s) by Friday, December 13th. If you didn’t receive the invitation, please contact Henry Stokes, 512-463-6624 or ld@tsl.texas.gov.

Many thanks to those speedy libraries who’ve already participated this year!

animated words saying "Thank You!"

URGENT: Summer Reading Orders Must Be Re-Submitted Before 12/16

Dear Texas Summer Library Program Planners, 

Please find attached a statement on the 2020 Artwork from the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP). As the State Representative to CSLP for Texas, I apologize in advance for any troubles this presents as you are planning and purchasing for this summer. 

The CSLP is a national organization run by a Board of Directors. CSLP committees are staffed by volunteers from around the country that create program manuals around each summer’s theme. Throughout 2018 and 2019 the CSLP art committee worked with the artist and invited the inclusion committee’s input. During this time, CSLP did not realize the negative impact of pairing sacred Native American symbols with fairy tale images.

Since recognizing this issue, CSLP has made efforts to reach out to tribal librarians, Native American educators, and tribes for input and advice on addressing this issue. CSLP asks that libraries honor the attached statement and not display any of the posters that have Native American symbols, if you have already purchased them. 

TSLAC encourages you to continue to plan your summer library programming with the “Imagine Your Story” theme. Visit our CSLP artwork FAQ page for more information about this process and next steps.

CSLP is implementing a more transparent process for artwork review in the coming years. Please consider volunteering your time to serve on a CSLP committee in the future. The addition of more voices and perspectives on CSLP committees can only improve our efforts to empower libraries to foster community through summer library programming.

To recap, what you need to know:

  • If your library has already ordered free Summer Reading materials through TSLAC, your order has been cancelled and must be re-submitted.
  • The TSLAC order form will re-open on Monday, November 25. It will close on Monday, December 16. Follow this link to place your order:

https://www.tsl.texas.gov/tsrp/orderform2020

  • Please see the attached Artwork Statement for a full explanation, as well as the steps CSLP is taking to correct the issue.
  • Note that all four posters as well as any other art containing those images have been removed from the online store and the online manual/artwork downloads. CSLP has created one replacement poster and reading tracker design. All bookmark designs will remain the same.
  • If you already ordered materials containing the Native American symbols, instructions for returning/exchanging them are also included in the attached statement. 
  • For further information, please visit the 2020 CSLP Artwork FAQ housed on the TSLAC website.

If you have any questions or concerns not addressed in the FAQ, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Bethany Wilson
Youth Services Consultant

Libraries and Veterans National Forum – Register to Attend

Posting on behalf of the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is sponsoring a Libraries and Veterans National Forum in College Station next June.

Fifty library workers from a variety of library types and from around the country will be selected to attend the symposium, with travel and accommodations covered courtesy of the IMLS grant. The Forum is scheduled for June 8-9, 2020 in College Station, Texas.

The Libraries and Veterans National Forum is intended to move forward the conversation about veteran and military-affiliated patrons in libraries.

To that end, we particularly encourage library workers who are actively engaged in working with these communities to apply to attend.  We also want to extend a specific invitation to library workers from traditionally underrepresented groups and those who work with underrepresented groups within the veteran and military communities to apply to attend.

To indicate interest in attending and for more information, visit veterans.libguides.com/home. The Call for Interest in Attending form will close on December 15, 2019, and selected participants will be notified in January 2020.

If you have any questions, contact Sarah LaMire, Chair of the Veterans Caucus at slemire@library.tamu.edu.

Resource Guides: Long Range Planning, Library Policies, and Beyond!

The Continuing Education and Consulting group at the Texas State Library provides training and consulting for library workers throughout Texas. This includes our webinar, youth services, and technology programs. It also includes the Small Library Management Training Program which will be back on the road in 2020.

To better provide the information that you need when you need it, we provide a variety of online resource guides that you can access any time, any day.

If you have specific questions, please email ld@tsl.texas.gov or reach us directly via our directory.