It’s Time! Submit the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report!

As we all “spring forward,” it’s time for Texas public library directors to get all of the library statistics collected over the last local fiscal year and enter them into Texas LibPAS.  This report is due no later than Thursday, April 30, 2020, a due date which cannot be extended.  We recommend that libraries complete the report before the end of this month, to allow staff enough time to review the reports from over 550 Texas public libraries!

Log-in information was emailed to public library directors in early January.  If there has been a change in leadership at your library, or if the information is no longer available, contact us at your earliest convenience (information below).

Answers to Frequent Questions

The new question, 7.9:  Successful Retrieval of Electronic Information. This question intends to capture use of databases (also called electronic collections) that cannot be included in the item and circulation count easily. If the library has databases either on its own or through a consortium, report the usage statistics from the vendor.  Report only sessions or full text items that your patrons have viewed. Report “0” (zero) in 7.9 if your library has ONLY TexShare databases.  A database that is freely available in the public domain should not be included.

Edit check on question 3.11:  Total Operating Expenditures, which states,

The ratio of TOTAL OPERATING EXPENDITURES to TOTAL STAFF EXPENDITURES is higher/lower than expected. Please check for possible errors or explain why the correct data are out of range.”

This is an edit check we have carried from our federal report that pops up when staff expenditures exceed half to two-thirds of the total operating expenditures.  There is no judgement here:  it is a mathematical check.  To resolve it, please add a note explaining that staff and total operating expenditures have been checked and verified. 

Printing the report:  clicking on the word “Print” at the top of the page will pop up a dialogue box with the following choices:

  • Template – this is the entire workbook, with question definitions and responses.
  • Screen – this is just the questions and responses, much as what is seen on the screen.
  • Cancel – if you don’t want to print, click on this.

If you print the report before it is locked, you will see a watermark of the word “Draft” on every page.  That no longer appears once the report is locked, even though you can still print the report.

Much more information is found on the Annual Report webpage:, including

Don’t forget to submit the signed Application for Accreditation, once your report is locked.

Email ( or call (800-252-9386 or 512-463-5466) if additional clarification is needed. 

Your participation helps give a voice to libraries nationwide.  Thank you for all your time and effort!

Connecting Patrons with Legal Help & Resources

As library workers it can be tricky to assist patrons with legal questions while carefully staying out of the territory of giving legal advice. Thankfully, there are two excellent Texas-specific legal resources designed and delivered by licensed attorneys that library staff can use to connect their patrons with free and basic legal resources. Two upcoming webinars will focus on each one:

Webinar 1:
Friday, March 06, 2020 — 10-11am CST
Register is an easy to navigate website dedicated to providing free, reliable legal information to low-income Texans.  It is part of a broader effort within the national legal aid community to use technology, specifically the Internet, to enhance and expand the delivery of legal aid.  In this webinar, you’ll learn what kinds of tools and resources makes available, such as legal information written in easy-to-understand language,  legal forms, and even a LiveChat service where eligible visitors can get free legal advice from attorneys. TexasLawHelp is a project of the Texas Legal Services Center, and is supported by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, Texas Bar Foundation, Travis County Law Library, and Texas Legal Aid Organizations.

Webinar 2: Remote Legal Clinics – The Virtual Self-Help Center
Thursday, March 12 2020 — 10-11am CST

Learn about one of Texas Legal Services Center’s newest legal aid programs. The Virtual Self-Help Center (VSHC) has two primary goals: (1) to empower and assist low-income, self-represented clients in family law cases and (2) to expand legal aid to more effectively reach rural communities. Most physical legal aid offices are located in urban areas, leaving a gap in service coverage. VSHC partners with community hosts in rural counties to set up “virtual” legal clinics that allow clients to video chat with attorneys. The majority of VSHC’s partners are libraries. This presentation will cover the need for legal aid across the state, the basic set up of a virtual clinic, and examples of what kind of help VSHC provides.

Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources that can help library staff connect patrons with their legal needs and resources.

Lapse in Texas SmartBuy Book Contract 715-M2

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts manages a contract that allows Texas libraries to purchase books, audiobooks, textbooks, audiovisual materials, and cataloging services from a number of vendors with negotiated discounts. Roughly 500 Texas libraries use this SmartBuy contract, 715-M2, and on average spend about $8 million per year on materials from the selected vendors. The contract was last bid in 2014. It expired in August 2019 and was extended through February 29, 2020. State law prohibits further extensions.

The Comptroller issued a new solicitation and is currently evaluating responses from qualifying vendors. Unfortunately, the current contract expires tomorrow, February 29, and new contracts will most likely not be in place until April 2020. Although the Texas State Library and Archives Commission is not involved in the solicitation, we are monitoring the situation as it affects us, too. To that end, we’ve put together some responses to some of the questions libraries have asked us about this contract.

  1. Why didn’t the solicitation get posted sooner to avoid any lapse?
    The Comptroller’s office was of course aware that the contract was due to expire and had begun working on drafting a new solicitation last summer. However, in analyzing data about how libraries purchase materials, they realized that they needed to look more closely at changes in the publishing industry. They reviewed solicitations by other states and interviewed individual providers to find out what did and didn’t work. They also looked at whether e-books and additional services of interest to libraries could be included, eventually deciding to leave those materials out of the solicitation. In the end, the solicitation couldn’t be posted early enough to avoid interruption.
  2. What vendors are affected?
    The vendors with lapsed contracts are:
    • Baker & Taylor, LLC
    • Brodart Company
    • Complete Book & Media Supply, LLC
    • Findaway World, LLC
    • Ingram Library Services, Inc
    • Midwest Library Service
    • Midwest Tape, LLC
    • Proquest, LLC
    • Taped Editions dba Tei Landmark Audio
    • Textbook Warehouse 
  3. How much were the discounts?
    The discounts varied by vendor and by category. The most recent price list is attached to this post. New discount rates will not be available until awards are complete.
  4. What will change with the new solicitation?
    It’s hard to know for sure, but all of the categories of materials that were included in the old contracts are included in the new solicitation. Vinyl records were added as a category. Brief MARC records must now be included at no charge. Item processing services, like mylar jackets, DVD/CD cases, RFID and theft deterrent strips, are now broken out, which may simplify ordering. The contract will also be brought up to date with various elements of Texas purchasing law.
  5. What can we do while there is no contract in place?
    Libraries have reported that their vendors plan to honor the discounts included in the expired contract. Please contact your vendors for more information.
  6.  Are libraries required to purchase materials from this contract?
    TSLAC and other state agencies (including public universities) are required to use the Comptroller’s contracts first. The expectation is that the Comptroller is able to negotiate better pricing than any single institution would be able to get on its own. Exemptions apply for things like the TexShare databases and other resource sharing items.

    For local governments, Comptroller contracts are basically a convenience. This includes most public libraries and school libraries in the state. Local Government Code section 252.022 provides an exemption for “a purchase of rare books, papers, and other library materials for a public library” along with many other exemptions. This is pretty broad, and basically gives libraries the freedom to purchase library materials in the way that seems best to them, if the amount of the purchases is under $50,000. Purchases over $50,000 may require you to do your own solicitation.

We’ll post something on this blog as soon as the new contracts are announced. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at

Attachment: Texas SmartBuy contract 715-M2 (Excel)

2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report: Issues and Explanations

Reminders and log-in information for the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report were sent out in early January.  If your library has not received this information, or if there have been staff changes recently, send an email to

Over 20 percent of reporting libraries were represented at the Introduction to the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report webinar.  If you missed it, click on the title to watch the recorded event and click herefor the slides.

New Question, 7.9:  Successful Retrieval of Electronic Information. This question intends to capture use of resources such as Hoopla, Freegal, and the like. If your library has ONLY TexShare databases, report “0” (zero) in 7.9.  Do not report TexShare database usage. If the library has databases either on its own or through a consortium, report the usage statistics from the vendor.  Report only sessions or full text items that your patrons have viewed. Any database that is freely available in the public domain should not be included. Do not report OverDrive or participation in a consortium.

More information is found here: Email or call if clarification is needed. Here is a sample of what is there:

Reminder:  submitting the report by the end of March allows staff enough time to work through calculation and accreditation issues.  The Report and signed Application for Accreditation are due to the State Library no later than Thursday, April 30.  That deadline cannot be extended without possible loss of accreditation.

For additional information, contact Valicia Greenwood, Library Statistics Specialist at or 512-463-5466.  Questions can also be sent to, or 1-800-252-9386 (toll-free in Texas).

Ready for Input: 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report

Texas LibPAS,, 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 Tool

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


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


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.

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:

  • 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.


Bethany Wilson
Youth Services Consultant

Prepare for the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report

Now is the time to prepare for the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report! Putting the information together now will reduce the aggravation, anxiety and frustration of pulling it together next year!

Join LSTA/Accreditation Program Coordinator Stacey Malek and Library Statistics Specialist Valicia Greenwood on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 2:00-3:00 p.m., to learn about the information needed to complete the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report. Check out our new AR Prep Excel workbook and learn how to calculate the library’s maintenance of effort (MOE). Register here:
Preparing for the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report:

Aren’t available that afternoon? Register now and receive an email when the recording is available, so that you can watch when it is convenient for you.

Questions? Contact us at

NOW OPEN! 2020 Family Place Grant Application

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is pleased to announce the opening of the FY 2020 Family Place Libraries grant application! TSLAC is looking for qualified libraries to send to Family Place Training at the Middle Country Public Library in Centereach, New York. The purpose of this grant is to create a welcoming, family-centered environment that empowers caregivers of young children as they become their child’s first teachers. This grant will provide funding for the equipment and training necessary for each library to:

  • Host workshops for children ages 0-3 and their caregivers.
  • Develop an interactive space for this age group to play and learn in the library.
  • Forge strong partnerships with organizations serving young children and their families.

In addition to offering this opportunity to new libraries interested in the program, TSLAC is also offering established, qualified, Family Place Libraries the opportunity to apply for funding to expand the Family Place program into one additional branch in their library system this fiscal year.

If chosen to participate in the 2020 cohort, new and expansion libraries can expect to send staff members to training either April or May of 2020. Following training, TSLAC will reimburse participating libraries up to $6,000 to purchase the supplies necessary to launch a successful Family Place Library location at their facility.

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN! The applications will close for submissions on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. The application is entirely online and can be accessed after logging into the TSLAC Grants Management System.

NOTE: If you do not have an account with the TSLAC Grants Management System or have questions about Family Place Libraries in Texas, please contact Bethany Wilson at, 512-463-4856 or 800-252-9386 (toll-free in Texas).

As you prepare to apply for the grant, please pay close attention to the appropriate Notice of Funding Opportunity documents. Inside, you will find information on eligibility requirements as well as a scoring matrix that will provide guidance on the best information to include in your application to ensure the best scoring outcome.

NEW Family Place Library Notice of Funding Opportunity
EXPANSION Family Place Library Notice of Funding Opportunity

The links below will take you to the GMS site so you can log in to begin your application:


IMPORTANT!! When you reach the budget portion of your application, you are only required to fill in the line specific to Materials & Supplies. In the space for a description, please type in “Recommended Family Place Supplies.” The dollar amount should be $6,000.

If you have questions about Family Place Libraries in Texas or need assistance with the application process, please contact Bethany Wilson at, 512-463-4856 or 800-252-9386 (toll-free for Texas). This project is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.