Top Legal Issues in Texas Public Libraries – upcoming webinar

Join the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) on Tuesday, October 26 at 10:00 a.m. for a free webinar on Top Legal Issues in Texas Public Libraries!

TSLAC General Counsel Sarah Swanson will discuss the most common legal issues Texas public libraries face today, point to useful resources, and offer tips for recognizing legal issues and knowing when to seek legal advice.

Here is the link to register:

This webinar will be a fantastic opportunity to explore legal issues with an expert. Bring your questions and concerns!

A recording will be made available after the webinar for your review, or if your participation is unexpectedly interrupted. Contact us at with any questions.

FREE “Community Health Connections” Webinar Series on consumer health technology, marketing, and TexShare health databases

The Texas Woman’s University School of Library & Information Studies (TWU SLIS) has a free training opportunity for small rural public library staff in Texas. If you’re from an accredited Texas public library that serves a population of less than 25,000, and your job entails working with the public answering information needs (no MLS needed), then you are qualified to apply for participation in a FREE 5-part webinar series focused on consumer health, technology (e.g. telehealth) and community-based marketing. This includes training on the TexShare health databases!

As part of your participation in all five monthly webinars you will be supplied free of charge: webcams, a marketing text, and a poster to promote consumer health resources and support at your library.

Please apply for the webinar series by following the link below by the deadline of October 30. If you cannot participate yourself, feel free to recruit one of the library staff, assuming they meet the requirements listed above and can commit to participating in all five webinars. Participation will be limited to one staff member per library.

Link to application:

For questions, please contact Carol Perryman at

Upcoming TSLAC Webinar: New TSLAC Grant Programs

On Wednesday, September 1 from 2 to 3 p.m., join TSLAC staff for a live webinar to learn about three new competitive grant opportunities for libraries made possible by emergency pandemic funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA):

1. Texas Supports Libraries Grant Program is designed to help communities respond directly and immediately to the pandemic as well as to related economic and community needs through equitable approaches.

2. Texas Telehealth Grant Program will award libraries with the equipment and resources needed to facilitate a telehealth project at their library facilities.

3. Texas Digital Navigators Grant Program will help libraries develop and implement a unique Digital Navigator program to help close the digital divide in their communities.

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) will begin accepting grant applications for these programs on September 3, 2021. Awarded projects will run December 2021-August 2022.

Attend this webinar to learn more about these programs and determine whether they might meet the needs of your community.

Register here

Note: As this program is primarily informational in nature, there will be no CE credit awarded for this event.

Free Webinar: The Library’s Role in Connecting Texans to Internet Access

County map of Texas depicting different percentages of broadband availability. Data collected and mapped by ConnectedTexas.

Almost one million Texans do not have access to high-speed internet access in their homes, but what role do libraries and library workers play in ensuring home connectivity? 

On Tuesday, May 25, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. (Central), join Mark Smith, State Librarian and Director of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and Eddy Smith, Executive Director of the Abilene Library Consortium and Texas Library Association representative to the Governor’s Broadband Development Council, for a free webinar. They will discuss the current landscape of internet access in Texas. You’ll learn why Texans do not have equitable access to high-speed internet (broadband), what potential solutions—including funding—may exist to level the playing field, and how libraries and library workers can play a role in ensuring a future of statewide connectivity.

Registration for this webinar can be found on our Continuing Education webinars page.

Upcoming Webinars on School and Copyright Resources

As the 2020-2021 school year gets started, we are hosting two webinars that may be of interest to both public and school library audiences. Registration information can be found below.

Stack of books
Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash (

Resources for the 2020-2021 School Year: TexShare, TexQuest, and more!

Tuesday, Sept 15 at 2: 00 p.m. Central

Register here:

The 2020-2021 school year is shaping up to be uniquely challenging. Some students will be in the classroom, and some will be at home and exploring online learning. Public and school libraries will need to work closely with each other and with families to ensure all students are able to equitably continue their education. During this webinar, we will explore TexShare and TexQuest databases, as well as additional resources, to help assist families both at home and in their classrooms.

We will be hearing from Kyla Hunt, Youth Services Consultant; Laura Tadena, Inclusive Services Consultant; Liz Philippi, School Program Coordinator; and Russlene Waukechon, Networked Information Coordinator.

This webinar will be recorded; however, for maximum benefit, including the ability to ask questions in real time, we strongly encourage you to attend the live session.

Copyright and Creative Commons resources for patrons, students, and library workers

Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 2:00 p.m. Central

Register here:

More than ever, libraries need resources for free, including copyrighted images and other online content. In this webinar, we will be exploring resources to help you find information on copyright issues involving remote learning and other services, as well as online repositories of content you can use with patrons and students.

We will also be taking a deep dive into Creative Commons, which allows content creators to create licenses to share their creations with the world while holding on to their copyright. They also provide searching tools for students, teachers and the public to find content to use for free.

In this session, Kyla Hunt, Youth Services Consultant with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and Liz Philippi, TSLAC’s School Program Coordinator, will explore ways to locate Creative Commons licensed materials and to promote their use in your library. Please note that the presenters are not lawyers and cannot provide legal advice.

This webinar will be recorded; however, for maximum benefit, including the ability to ask questions in real time, we strongly encourage you to attend the live session.

Library Technology for Contactless Service

[Interested in learning more about how libraries are ensuring patrons still get their needs met through library technology in the age of COVID-19? Sign up for an interactive discussion facilitated by TSLAC on August 18, 2-3:30 p.m. CDT: “Texas Technology Chat – Library Technology for Contactless Service” (1.5 hr CE credit). Register here.]

Originally, before the pandemic, new contactless technologies such as self-service kiosks and patron print management tools were developed for use in libraries for two main reasons:

  1. Make staff more efficient at their job
  2. Provide extra convenience for patrons

Depending on a library’s size or situation, implementing these features could be seen as merely perks, even unnecessary frills. They were often just nice add-ons, ways to make the library feel more modern and state-of-the-art.

It wasn’t too hard to level criticism at these particular contactless services back then. They could be considered barriers to connection between the library and the community it served. Using them meant patrons had little to no interaction with staff, thought to be the heart of the library. The concern was patrons might lose that personal touch that should go with library services, and the library itself would become more remote and distant. Soulless, automated machines would serve as the face of the library, replacing the crucial community-building work of friendly, caring, and human staff. Beyond the thinking in this regard, there was the added expense and staff training sometimes needed to implement this new technology. And for many, it was seen as an unnecessary reliance on new technology to perform library services that had traditionally been done by hand (and quite well, thank you) for as long as libraries have been around. 

And then the pandemic happened.

We’re seeing now that there is suddenly a new purpose to these contactless technologies: safety! No longer are they nice perks; they’re necessary and potentially life-saving.

One can now add the following reasons to implement:

  1. Prevent close social interaction with staff
  2. Prevent patrons from waiting in line or being forced to gather in small spaces with other patrons
  3. Allow patrons to minimize time in the library as much as possible

Efficiency (reason # 1) is even more important now if libraries are experiencing staff loss or volunteers being let go. With brand new safety measures and pandemic-related services to be performed, staff have less time to handle the basic services of circulation, public access computer management, printing, etc. To list just a few of the added tasks: clean surfaces repeatedly, fill curbside orders, present virtual programs, assist patrons phoning in to make appointments to come into the building, etc., etc.

Photo of library staff behind reference desk wearing face masks.
Photo details

One big change is there often needs to be less public access computers due to spacing requirements, ensuring patrons stay six feet apart. Having less computers means more demand, so a library needs a new system in place, if there wasn’t one already, that sets reservations and enforces time limits  –or needs to include more portable computers like laptops and tablets so patrons can use these devices throughout the space to stay socially distant from one another. 

To sum up: self-service used to mean efficiency and convenience. Now self-service equals safety

Decades ago, with the emergence of computers and networks, libraries had a significant phase of automation to convert their card catalogs to OPACs and ILSs. Now we are entering the Second Age of Automation. It’s not only the catalogs, but every library service that needs to become automated to make it contactless and safe.

To help guide you through this new technological age we’re living in now, Digital Inclusion Consultant Cindy Fisher and I (with the help of our new Continuing Education Support Specialist Tomas Mendez —thanks, Tomas!) have put together a list of products for contactless services.

Icon for Google Doc

Google Doc Link : Library Tech for Contactless Service

We organized them by the following service areas:

  • Circulation
  • Curbside
  • Returns
  • Document management (print, scan, fax, email)
  • Fund transference
  • Public computer use
  • Reference, patron assistance, information/research help
  • Third party virtual programming software (by subject)
  • General building safety

Here are a few of the innovative highlights from the grid that may not have occurred to some:

  • To make curbside more efficient for staff and convenient for patrons, deploy 24/7 smart lockers outside of the library building for patrons to retrieve their holds.
  • If a staff member can’t position themselves next to a patron’s computer nor physically take control of their mouse and keyboard to assist them, screen mirroring software can be employed, even on the staff member’s personal tablet held at least six feet away.
  • For a scenario with the least amount of contact possible within the building, patrons can bring their own device to the library and use an app to not only scan the desired materials for check-out themselves, but even automatically desensitize the RFID labels/detection strips via the same app before exiting. 
  • With the complete loss of in-house programming, employ third-party, resource-rich  online software to help conduct them virtually. This could be for social gaming, crafting, coding, to name a few. There are also services to provide live one-on-one job search coaching and homework tutoring for your patrons at their homes.

If you’d like to discuss the topic of library tech for contactless service further, please join our free interactive discussion webinar on August 18, 2-3:30 p.m. (all library types and sizes welcome!). We hope to see you there!

Financial Literacy Webinar and Resources

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has provided a number of resources to assist consumers in managing and protecting their finances during the pandemic crisis. On July 13, they are offering a free webinar to introduce librarians to the materials that are available. According to an email,

The CFPB is collaborating with the American Library Association (ALA) and the Reference and User Services Association’s (RUSA) Financial Literacy Interest Group to bring these resources to you. In this webinar, we will provide you with an overview of these resources, the types of information you will find on the site, and how you can access these resources.

 Date: Monday, July 13, 2020
Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm (CDT)
Link: Registerhere

CFPB has been working with libraries to develop materials to assist patrons with financial questions. Check out their Library Resources here: There are also free publications and materials about financial education topics that can be ordered to have available for library patrons.   Additionally, on their website they offer social media flyers, public service announcements, web graphics and other tools for outreach. All materials and resources are offered at no cost.

Upcoming Webinar – The Connected Library: Vetting and Partnering with Social Service Providers

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, May 14 at 10 a.m. titled “The Connected Library: Vetting and Partnering with Social Service Providers.”

As we can anticipate the social, financial, and mental health challenges of our patrons to escalate during and following this pandemic, libraries must connect and build relationships with local providers focused on these needs so that we may serve our communities as effectively as possible.

This session will explore why it is imperative that libraries connect with social service providers in their communities, how to cultivate these connections, and tips to make sure the agencies you work with are effective, ethical partners.

Presented by Patrick Lloyd, LMSW, Community Resources Coordinator for the Georgetown Public Library in Georgetown, Texas.

You can register for this webinar here:

Please join us!

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.



9/12 TSLAC Webinar: “Innovative and Inclusive Public Library Programs”

Readers of this blog may recall my posts last year raving about Westbank Community Library’s Free Play programming (part 1 and part 2). That’s just one example of the many innovative and inclusive programs this central Texas library is providing their community. I’ve invited staff members from the library to present a webinar for us to share more info about the great work they’re doing.

Join us on Thursday, September 12, 10 to 11 am (Central) – details below!

Photo of the Westbank Community Library building.


Innovative and Inclusive Public Library Programs


In central Texas, Westbank Community Libraries embrace their community, which includes neurodiverse individuals, busy families, and patrons of all ages. The libraries have identified unmet needs within their community and have developed programming that promotes learning, sharing, and discovery. Such programs have flexible hours and encourage intergenerational experiences and sensory exploration. Come join the webinar and hear staff members from the libraries present all about their innovative and inclusive programs.

Presented by Cristen Darcus (Community Librarian), Gloria Perretti (Public Services & PR Librarian), Leah Tatgenhorst (Programs Manager), and Maureen Turner Carey (Public Services & PR Librarian).

When: Thursday, September 12, 2019; 10 AM to 11 AM (Central)

Cost: FREE

CE Credit: 1 Hour


Hope to see you there!