E-Read Texas launches site for children

E-Read Texas recently launched a new site specifically for children in Kindergarten through 8th grade. E-Read Texas for Kids can be accessed at https://e-readtxkids.biblioboard.com/home.

The site is geofenced so that any user located in Texas can access it, with no login nor password required. There’s no need to “check-out” the books—just click and access. And there are no simultaneous user restrictions, so that means there are no holds and no waitlists.

E-Read Texas for Kids includes a collection of more than 600 titles from Teacher Created Materials, including the TIME for Kids series. The majority of the titles comprise juvenile nonfiction, including science, mathematics, sports, history, and art, in both English and Spanish. The site also includes juvenile fiction and craft and hobby books for kids. Because these books allow unlimited simultaneous users, they are the perfect fit for winter break reading! Encourage your children to indulge in some fun break time reading about animals, crafts, and a variety of interesting topics. This is a great time to introduce kids to e-books and keep them reading during the long break from school. Please consider contacting your local school library person to coordinate this effort to get kids reading.

E-Read Texas is an online program that makes electronic books freely available through the SimplyE app, which is easily downloadable at no cost through an app store. The program was created to support digital content for public libraries serving communities with populations of fewer than 100,000 people. For more information about E-Read Texas, including titles available and library eligibility, visit the website at https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ldn/ebooks

2020 Texas Great Read Selection Butterfly Yellow Available Statewide as a Free e-Book

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) and the Texas Center for the Book are thrilled to announce that any resident of Texas will be able to read the 2020 Texas Great Read, Thanhhà Lại’s award-winning young adult novel Butterfly Yellow, free online through E-Read Texas, from Nov. 16 – Jan. 16. 

TSLAC is partnering with Biblioboard to make this and thousands of other e-books available to Texas residents. The Biblioboard website is geofenced so that any user located in Texas can access it, no login or password required. And there are no simultaneous user restrictions, so that means there are no holds or waitlists. A special web page has been set up for Butterfly Yellow and can be accessed via the Texas Great Read web page by clicking on the “Read the Book” link.

In addition to the full text of the Butterfly Yellow e-book, readers and teachers across Texas will be able to access multimedia support materials, including interviews with the author, teaching guides, and other resources from Teaching Books/Book Connections. Libraries looking to promote the availability of the e-book to their patrons can visit the Texas Great Read webpage to download promotional graphics and blurbs to help in marketing.

Public libraries that participate in E-Read Texas can also access the Butterfly Yellow e-book through their SimplyE app, along with thousands of other e-books. E-Read Texas is a recently launched statewide e-book program made available to eligible public libraries in Texas. The collection currently includes more than 6,000 high-quality e-books from top publishers. While many of the e-books in the collection have limits on the number of simultaneous users, more than half the e-books are available for simultaneous use with no wait lists or holds. To learn more about E-Read Texas, please visit the E-Read Texas webpage, or contact Karen McElfresh.

A linkable graphic that has the text "Texas Great Read" and shows the book cover and the logos of the partnering organizations.

About the Book

In the final days of the Việt Nam War, Hằng takes her little brother, Linh, to the airport, determined to find a way to safety in America. In a split second, Linh is ripped from her arms—and Hằng is left behind in the war-torn country.

Six years later, Hằng has made the brutal journey from Việt Nam and is now in Texas as a refugee. She doesn’t know how she will find the little brother who was taken from her until she meets LeeRoy, a city boy with big rodeo dreams, who decides to help her.

Hằng is overjoyed when she reunites with Linh. But when she realizes he doesn’t remember her, their family, or Việt Nam, her heart is crushed. Though the distance between them feels greater than ever, Hằng has come so far that she will do anything to bridge the gap.

About the Author

Thanhhà Lại is also the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Inside Out & Back Again, her debut novel in verse, winner of the National Book Award and a Newbery Honor, and Listen, Slowly, honored with inclusion on numerous “book of the year” lists. Lại was born in Viêt Nam and lives in New York with her family. Lại is also the founder of Viet Kids Inc., a non-profit that changes the lives of Vietnamese students through the purchase of bicycles, tuition, uniforms, and rice. For information about Lại and her work, visit www.thanhhalai.com.

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.

National Friends of the Libraries Week: Resources and Training from United for Libraries

It’s National Friends of the Libraries week! This is a great time to remind you of the Friends resources available through United for Libraries.

United for Libraries is a Division of the American Library Association. They have partnered with many state libraries including the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to provide access to a variety of resources. To access the United for Libraries resources, go to http://www.ala.org/united/states. If you are at an accredited Texas library and are in need of the login/password, please email ld@tsl.texas.gov.

Featured resources include:

  • Access to live and recorded webinars.
  • Newsletters, including The Voice for America’s Libraries.
  • Publications, including downloadable books, Fact Sheets for Friends & Foundations, Library Board Practical Guides and Toolkits for Friends Groups & Foundations.
  • Discussion Forums where you can seek advice from others on topics such as Friends, Trustees and Foundations.
  • Trustee Academy Courses – these resources include a training entitled Working Effectively with Your Library Director, which “covers the role of the Board, the role of the library director and how to communicate effectively with each other.”

Is your library celebrating National Friends of the Libraries Week? How do you honor your library’s Friends group? Let us know in the comments!

Free Educational and Planning Materials for Libraries

We wanted to take a moment to share a few resources that may come in useful at your libraries!

From the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has financial education materials available at no cost to libraries.

They have produced a new planning tool that can help libraries plan and/or present financial education events for their patrons. The Plan Ahead Events Calendar, a free downloadable document, shows major financial awareness events such as Disaster Awareness Month (Sept.),  Family Caregivers Month (Nov.), National Financial Capability Month (April), etc.  Free kits are available that correspond to each month’s event and include 25 copies of financial education and promotion tools related to that month’s financial theme. Order the kits to help your library present financial education events for your patrons all year long.

From the U.S. Census Bureau Newsroom

The U.S. Census Bureau Newsroom has a couple of idea and information generators available.

Profile America’s Stats for Stories provides links to stories highlighting the Census Bureau’s newsworthy statistics relating to current events, observances, holidays, and anniversaries. The story ideas are intended to assist the media in story mining and producing content for their respective audiences.

Profile America’s Facts for Features similarly provides statistics related to observances and holidays not covered by Stats for Stories.

Introducing E-Read Texas!

E-Read Texas logoThe Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is launching a new program, E-Read Texas, to bring electronic books to Texans served by small community libraries in all parts of the state. The E-Read Texas program will provide library e-books and an e-reader application that will make it possible for all Texans served by public libraries to access e-books.

“We are very happy to be able to offer Texans access to these high-demand materials through their public libraries,” said Mark Smith, Director and Texas State Librarian. “We recognize the great need in communities across the state for diverse reading materials and are excited to partner with local libraries to provide cost-effective and user-friendly access to those resources.”

TSLAC estimates that roughly a third of public libraries serving communities of fewer than 10,000 residents currently do not offer e-books to their patrons. TSLAC requested an exceptional item for the 2020-2021 biennium that would have provided $4.2 million in funding from the Legislature for affordable e-books. Although this request was not funded, TSLAC will use existing federal funds to begin the E-Read Texas program.

The E-Read Texas program will have multiple phases. In the first phase, beginning July 2019, TSLAC will partner with Amigos Library Services to implement SimplyE, an open source e-book app, for smaller public libraries. SimplyE was developed by the New York Public Library in partnership with other major libraries in the nation in response to challenges patrons face in accessing e-books. Amigos Library Services, headquartered in Dallas, has implemented SimplyE for the Brazoria County Library System and Houston Public Library, among others, and is one of four recognized SimplyE implementors in the nation.

SimplyE logo The SimplyE app is available for mobile devices running iOS and Android. It offers a “three-click” approach to e-books: patrons browse the e-book bookshelf, click to select a title, click again to check it out, and click to open and read it. Existing library e-books from OverDrive, RBDigital, Baker & Taylor, Bibliotheca and other vendors can be made available within the SimplyE app. Amigos will work with libraries and their vendors to simplify the setup process.

Initially, TSLAC and Amigos will implement SimplyE only for libraries that use the Apollo integrated library system from Biblionix. Biblionix, based in Austin, designed the Apollo system specifically for smaller public libraries. Ultimately, the project will be expanded to small libraries that use other integrated library systems.

Digital Public Library of America logoTo assist libraries that have little or no e-book content, TSLAC also plans to purchase e-books that libraries can lend to their patrons. Beginning in September 2019, the E-Read Texas collection will offer adult leisure reading e-books that can be accessed using the SimplyE application. The Digital Public Library of America, a national nonprofit, will provide both free and licensed books through its DPLA Exchange marketplace. The collection will be chosen to include titles that will be popular with patrons, with enough copies to keep hold lists short.

“We are excited for the readers of the Lone Star State to be able to access quality e-books and audio books, said DPLA Executive Director John Bracken. “We look forward to working with our partners at The Texas State Library and Archives Commission to maximize Texans’ access to a diverse and broad collection of digital books.”

A working group of Texas public librarians will provide assistance in developing TSLAC’s collection development policy and selecting titles. Over time, the E-Read collection will grow based on patron usage and feedback from Texas libraries.

Participation in the TexShare Databases program is not required for participation in the E-Read Texas program, and there is no participation fee. Larger public libraries and academic and school libraries may choose to provide SimplyE to their patrons through Amigos or another implementor without TSLAC support. The E-Read Texas collection will be available for all TexShare and TexQuest member libraries regardless of size.

Banned Books Week – Online Resources and Books

Banned Books Week LogoSept. 23-29 is Banned Books WeekBanned Books Week is an annual, national event focusing on the freedom to read. The event, typically scheduled by the American Library Association (ALA) during the last week of September, began in 1982 as a response to an increase in materials challenges. Libraries throughout the country often use the time to provide programs and book displays focusing on free and open access to information.

We realize that libraries may have questions about how to handle a situation where its materials are challenged, so we put together a list of resources for material challenges, Banned Books Week and other intellectual freedom issues.

Web Resources

Banned Books Week website – This resource provides promotional tools for the annual week, update, and other resources from the Banned Books Week Coordinator and the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom in partnership with the Banned Books Week Coalition.

Banned & Challenge Books Guide from the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom – From ALA, this resources provides information on frequently challenged books.

Censorship: Be Prepared for Challenges (WebJunction) – A compact curation of online toolkits and resources to help libraries prepare for challenges.

Intellectual Freedom Handbook – Texas Library Association (TLA) – Includes a link to a Request for Reconsideration form (PDF) as well as information on confidentiality, complaints and challenges, and materials selection.

Responding to Challenges: Ensure Your Library is Prepared (Archived Webinar from the Texas State Library) – This webinar archive, originally recorded in 2016, features Jeanette Larson of Larson Library Consulting; Kate Horan, director of the McAllen Public Library; and Courtney Kincaid, former director of the Hood County Library.


All of the following books are available from the Library Science Collection (LSC) housed at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). The LSC is Texas’ premier library for librarians, located at the TSLAC headquarters in Austin. It provides all Texas librarians with access to professional materials. Texas residents can borrow these titles directly from the LSC by emailing requests for materials and information to lsc@tsl.texas.gov.

Defending Frequently Challenged Young Adult Books (2016) Author: Pat R. Scales

Intellectual Freedom Manual, 9th edition(2015) 2015. Authors: Trina J. Magi and Martin Garnar for the American Library Association

Scales on Censorship: Real Life Lessons from School Library Journa (2015) Author: Pat R. Scales

Books Under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children’s Books (2015) Author: Pat R. Scales

Intellectual Freedom for Teens: A Practical Guide for Young Adult and School Librarians (2014) Editors: Kristin Fletcher-Spear and Kelly Tyler

Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read (2014) Author: Robert P. Doyle

True Stories of Censorship Battles in America’s Libraries (2012) Author: Valerie Nye

Texas Libraries Recognizing Banned Books Week

Many libraries throughout Texas are celebrating Banned Books Week in different ways. One interesting example is a Fake News Panel Discussion hosted by the Centennial Library of the Midland County Public Libraries.

Is your library recognizing Banned Books Week? Let us know in the comments!

Adding content to the TexShare Databases Core

One of the questions we frequently get at TexShare is “How are electronic resources selected for the TexShare Databases Program?” This is the first post in a series discussing the ways TexShare works to meet the needs of its members.

The TexShare Databases Core is a group of electronic resources licensed by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) for use by all TexShare member institutions and by state government agencies. Most of these electronic resources are collections of journal and magazine articles, with other types of print resources mixed in. Because the content is indexed at the article level, and all articles included in a resource can be searched from a single interface, librarians call these “databases.” In some cases, the state library has also licensed collections of primary source materials and interactive content that don’t fit the “databases” definition as nicely, but those resources are still part of the Databases Core.


Video courtesy Ronald Williams Library, Northeastern Illinois University


As a state agency, TSLAC must follow state purchasing rules established by the Legislature, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, and other agencies including the Department of Information Resources and the Office of the Attorney General. One of the rules is that we must license resources through an open solicitation process. Unlike many TexShare members, we can’t simply say “That looks like a great resource. Let’s license it!” Another rule is that we can only renew contracts for a limited number of years. That means that we need to post a new solicitation every four years or so. In December 2017, we posted a Request for Offers (RFO) for the TexShare Databases Core. Most of the resources we currently license will not be available after July 1, 2018 unless they qualify in our new solicitation.

Developing the solicitation is itself a time-consuming process. A team of TSLAC employees including Russlene Waukechon, Ann Griffith, Pam Rodriguez, Kate Reagor, and Danielle Plumer worked for six months to identify requirements for the solicitation that was posted in December 2017, including both state rules that apply to all solicitations and best practices developed by librarians and standards organizations.

Disability symbols

Wikimedia Commons

For example, the federal accessibility guidelines for online resources were recently updated. Resources that meet the new Section 508 guidelines will be easier to use for patrons with both physical and cognitive challenges, and TSLAC requires that all new or updated resources included in the TexShare Databases Core meet these standards at the WCAG 2.0 AA level.

The next step in developing the solicitation is to ask TexShare members what types of resources they want us to solicit. I’ll tell you about a poll of our members conducted in 2017 next week!