Update to Statewide Directives on Health Protocols

Yesterday Governor Abbott issued Executive Order GA-34. This order will go into effect on Wednesday, March 10.

TSLAC has received several questions about how this executive order might apply to libraries. A few points:

  • The provisions of the executive order will go into effect March 10.
  • Libraries should work with their governing authority and possibly the county health department to determine what (if any) changes should be implemented.  
    • City libraries should contact city officials for any clarification or guidance.
    • County libraries should contact county officials for any clarification or guidance.
    • Non-profit libraries should discuss the situation with their board.
    • If you are not sure who is the library’s governing authority, contact TSLAC at accreditation@tsl.texas.gov. We have establishment documents on file for most libraries and may be able to help.
  • Consult an attorney for any legal advice.

Additional resources

Executive Order GA-34 (PDF)

OSHA Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace (updated 1/29/2021)

CDC Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes (updated 3/1/2021)

OCLC Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project research (updated 2/11/2021)

TSLAC COVID-19 Information and Resources for Library Workers (updated 1/15/2021)

TLA COVID-19 Resources

National Day of Racial Healing

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the American Library Association invites libraries to participate in the fifth annual National Day of Racial Healing on January 19, 2021.

The National Day of Racial Healing is a time to:

-Reinforce and honor our common humanity while celebrating the district differences that make our communities vibrant.
-Acknowledge the deep racial divisions that exist in America and must be overcome and healed.
-Commit to engaging people from all racial and ethnic groups in genuine efforts to increase understanding, communication, caring and respect for one another.

From Libraries Transform, an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA).
National Day of Racial Healing 2021 promotional video (December 2020).

We encourage libraries to share their activities with their communities and take part in this critical time for reflection. The National Day of Racial Healing is means to increase understanding of racism and recognize the wounds it creates both within and around us. The day aims to bring people together to consider, reset, and journey towards a path of racial healing. Libraries are uniquely positioned to help heal, inspire, and transform their communities.

Recommended Resources

Download ALA’s Action Guide for Libraries, ALA’s Conversation Guide, and ALA’s Educator Action Kit.

View WebJunction 2021 National Day of Racial healing.

Find a local virtual racial healing event.

Connecting on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NationalDayofRacialHealing/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thedaytoheal

Engaging on social medial using hashtags:

Recommended books:
The Racial Healing Handbook by Anneliese A Singh
Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience by Sheila Wise Rowe
My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Mending of Our Bodies and Hearts by Resmaa Menakem

Archived webinars and trainings:
YouTube – Rx Racial Healing | Dr. Gail Christopher | TEDxCharlottesville
Archived Webinar – Organic Efforts Towards Health Equity-Driven Policy and Practice, The Praxis Project
Archived Webinar: Racial healing: How to become a mindful ally

Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Summit – Closing Video, W.K. Kellogg Foundation (January 2017).

For more information, visit the Libraries Respond: National Day of Racial Healing webpage or read the ALA’s proclamation on the National Day of Racial Healing. If you are a Texas library worker or library and information science (LIS) educator who identifies as Black, Indigenous, or as a Person of Color (BIPOC) and want to connect with a BIPOC community, please email Laura Tadena, Equity and Inclusion Consultant at ltadena@tsl.texas.gov.

Cheers to a thriving 2021!

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

Students Invited to Participate in 2020-2021 Letters About Literature Texas Competition

The Texas Center for the Book has launched the 2020-2021 Letters About Literature Texas contest, a program that invites students to respond to authors of books or poetry who have touched their lives. The contest is open to Texas students in grades 4 through 12.

Participants select a book, book series, essay, play poem, short story of speech that has made a lasting impact on their lives. They then write a personal letter to the author that reflects how they have been changed, inspired or motivated by the work they selected. State winners receive $100 and will be honored at 2021 Virtual Texas Library Association Conference.

Image of girl reading a book. Includes text that reads: Letters about Literature Texas: Entries accepted November 4 - December 17, 2020.
Letters About Literature is a reading and writing contest for 4th-12th graders under the direction of the Texas Center for the Book at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

All submissions for the 2020 contest must be submitted on the new online submission platform by Dec. 17, 2020, 5:00 p.m. (CST). A permission form is required for all students who will be younger than 13 on Nov. 4, 2020.

To learn more about the contest, how to submit and to view winning entries from previous years, visit www.tsl.texas.gov/lettersaboutliterature. The website also features an Educator Resources page including printable bookmarks and student handouts, participation certificates, key dates, permission forms, and a step-by-step teaching guide featuring writing prompts. The site also includes a Frequently Asked Questions page, student and teacher submission guidelines, letters from past winner, videos from authors, and the official contest rules.

2020 Texas Book Festival: October 31 – November 15

We are passing this information on for our friends at the 2020 Texas Book Festival. Please direct questions to bookfest@texasbookfestival.org.

The Texas Teen Book Festival (TTBF) kicked off the 2020 Virtual Texas Book Festival on October 31 and November 1, 2020. The Texas Book Festival is a nonprofit organization that connects authors and readers through year-round, statewide programs that celebrate the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination. This year’s virtual event will feature two keynote speakers, Elizabeth Acevedo and Nic Stone, along with numerous panels, a Barrio Writers workshop, the Fifth Annual Costume Contest, and more.

2020 Texas Book Festival Schedule

  • Texas Teen Book Festival – Saturday, October 31 to Sunday, November 1
  • Children’s Programming – Monday, November 2 to Friday, November 6
  • Adult Programming Week – Friday, November 6 to Sunday, November 15
  • Lit Crawl Brunch – Sunday, November 8 and November 15
  • Lit Crawl – Saturday, November 7, Friday, November 13, and Saturday, November 14

Here is a direct link to the 2020 Texas Book Festival schedule: https://www.texasbookfestival.org/2020-festival-schedule/

Children’s Virtual Pass

The 2020 Texas Book Festival have created a free Virtual Pass with fun activities and storytimes. The pass is available in English and Spanish, and children are encouraged to complete the Virtual Pass to receive a fun prize. To participate, download and print the Virtual Pass. Complete the Virtual Pass, take a picture, and ask an adult to email it to read@texasbookfestival.org for a fun prize! The deadline to submit the Virtual Pass is November 7, 2020. Here is a direct link to the pass: https://www.texasbookfestival.org/virtual-pass/

Say up to date

The best way for you to stay up to date with every part of our virtual programming is to follow the TBF’s social media accounts as well as their two Crowdcast channels, Texas Book Festival and Texas Book Festival 2. Updates to the schedule and lineup can be found on the Updates Page.

It is important to note that the teen and children’s sessions are pre-recorded and will be free and available anytime during the month of November. Please share this information with your colleagues, friends, and family! What session or sessions are you most excited to attend? Please post in the comments section!

2020 Voting Information Resources

The 2020 election is fast approaching, and patrons will be looking to the library for voting and election information. TSLAC’s CEC team has organized a collection of resources that may assist librarians in providing the public with information on voting logistics and other election information. Please note, according to Chapter 20 Section 20.001(c) of the Texas Election Code: c) Each public library, including any branch or other service outlet, is designated as a voter registration agency. In this chapter, “public library” means a library that:

(1) is regularly open for business for more than 30 hours a week;
(2) is operated by a single public agency or board;
(3) is open without charge to all persons under identical conditions; and
(4) receives its financial support wholly or partly from public funds.

If your library meets the definition above, then you are a designated voter registration agency. You must provide to each person of voting age who applies in person for an original or renewal of a library card an opportunity to complete a voter registration application form, and may also be required to take various steps to ensure proper completion of the form by the applicant and submission of the form to the local voter registrar or to the Secretary of State.

Texas Voting Information and Resources

  National Voting Information and Resources

  • The Government Documents Round Table (GODORT) has an extensive LibGuide for voter registration, ID requirements for Texas voters, casting a ballot in Texas, elections, and general resources on voting and elections.
  • Ballotpedia is a nonprofit/nonpartisan organization that maintains a digital encyclopedia of American politics and elections. Its Texas voter guide offers current election information as well as some historical information on past elections. The organization also includes election administration costs from the National Conference of State Legislatures that describes how elections are paid from state to state.
  • VoteRiders provides information to voters to ensure they have the right ID for voting day. The site offers wallet-sized printable cards with all the voter ID information for Texas, which you can hand out to your patrons.
  • Voteearlyday.org has an easy to use resource to look up your early voting eligibility by state, as well as a quick link to voting overseas for active-duty military, deployed National Guard, military family, merchant marine, and civilians.

Inclusive Voting & Outreach Resources

  • The National Coalition for the Homeless has created a Homeless and Low-Income Voter Rights Manual, which includes useful examples for voter registration outreach and encouraging reluctant voters.
  • Many Americans with felony convictions are able to vote but just don’t know they can. Restore Your Vote allows individuals to determine if they are eligible to vote in their state. A flyer is included for posting. 
  • Transform the Vote, a project of the National Center for Transgender Equity Action Fund, provides resources and information for individuals. One of the resources that this website provides is a printable #VotingWhileTrans Guide that individuals can show poll workers if their identity or eligibility is questioned. Resources are available in both English and Spanish. 

Trainings and Webinars

These resources are provided for informational purposes, and librarians are urged to review the sites to determine which resources might best address local needs. If you have any questions about the voting process or information available on any site, the Secretary of State is the official agency to oversee elections in the state.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Happy #HispanicHeritageMonth! This week, marks the beginning of a month-long celebration (September 15-October 14) to honor and recognize our Hispanic communities’ rich culture and history.

Join our friends at the Latino Caucus Round Table (LCRT) of The Texas Library Association to virtually celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month this year. The have put together diverse and vibrant events taking place from September to October.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Celebrate Differences Emplower Voicers. Image provided by the Latino Caucus Round Table, TLA.

What is your library doing to celebrate #HispanicHeritageMonth? Please share in the comments below.

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Emergency Management

To help libraries stay prepared in advance of Hurricane Laura and other natural disasters, we wanted to share the following information from our previous blog post on hurricane and tropical storm management; you can find the original blog post here: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/librarydevelopments/2019/09/23/update-hurricane-tropical-storm-emergency-management/.

To find updated information on Hurricane Laura, please visit https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/#Laura. Preparedness tips are uploaded to the HENTF dashboard, https://fema.connectsolutions.com/hentf/, along with key messages and graphics from the National Hurricane Center. Please note that the HENTF dashboard may require an Adobe Connect download to open.

Libraries are never more needed than in times of crisis, and it is in times of crisis that we demonstrate why we libraries are so essential.

You can access hurricane/tropical storm disaster recovery resources for libraries, archives, and cultural institutions on TSLAC’s website. You will find current state, federal, and professional association points of contact for disaster preparedness and response and emergency management, as well as links to helpful tips from FEMA Federal Emergency Management AgencyOffice of the Governor Greg Abbott Emergency Management and Texas Hurricane CenterTexas Department of Public Safety Division of Emergency Management, the National Hurricane Center, American Library AssociationTexas Library AssociationThe Library of CongressSociety of American ArchivistsSociety of Southwest Archivists, and more.

Houston Public Library Director Dr. Rhea Lawson wrote to us after Hurricane Harvey in 2017 to report on the status of damage to her libraries. Dr. Lawson made the following wonderful observation:

“As you know, for so many people libraries are a vital lifeline. We recognize that during catastrophic times libraries are even more essential as people need a trusted familiar anchor and touchstone in the community to remind them that everything will be all right again. But most all—our mission right now is to restore the joy in the eyes of children and adults who have seen so much destruction, and experienced so much fear and uncertainty.”

TSLAC will continue to work with federal, state, and local organizations to find ways to assist libraries and archives as they deal with weather-related emergencies.


TSLAC Releases Custom Zoom Backgrounds

TSLAC has released a group of custom Zoom backgrounds featuring scenes from the State Library and Archives. They are free to download and may be used by the public.

These 26 new background options include both indoor and outdoor scenes from the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building in downtown Austin, the State Records Center in Austin, and the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty, Texas. Users can choose to virtually “appear” in various locations, including the TSLAC Reference Reading Room, outside the building (in the daytime or at night), or in front of the famous lobby mural depicting scenes and people from Texas history. Also available are scenes from inside the cavernous stacks at the State Records Center, inside and outside views of the Sam Houston Center, and even a historical photo showing how the Zavala Reference Reading Room looked back in the 1960s (Throwback Thursday, anyone?). With these colorful and interesting custom backgrounds, you can now attend your Zoom meetings from in front of an impressive shelf of books, under the six flags of Texas, or outside near the green trees of Atascosito.

The images are available below. Browse to find the right one for you! Click the image to open the full-size version in a new window, then right click to download to your local device. These images are also available at https://www.tsl.texas.gov/freebackgrounds.

You can read more about how to install these or other custom backgrounds on the Zoom website. Please note that older computers may not allow full functionality of Zoom features, including the ability to use custom backgrounds.

TSLAC has been serving patrons and customers across all our locations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, both remotely and in person. Read more about our current programs and services.

TSLAC reaffirms its longstanding commitment to equality and opposing racism (Mark Smith’s “The Director’s Report”)

Last week, Texas State Library and Archives Commission Director Mark Smith shared his blog post titled TSLAC reaffirms its longstanding commitment to equality and opposing racism.” We wanted to share his blog post with our readers, along with the following statement from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission:

The staff of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission are dedicated to honoring our responsibility as public servants to maintain the highest standards of professionalism and respect for all people. Libraries and archives have a long history of working to provide equitable access to resources and services for all communities and to safeguard the primary history of important events. The imperative to build on this work continues and is infused with a renewed sense of urgency. We recognize that as witnesses to this historic moment in our national narrative, we are all also participants. We, as individuals, stand in solidarity with all persons seeking justice and an end to racism or any practice that undermines the inherent worth of any human life.