Library Services and Technology Act Five Year Plan for Texas
2008 – 2012

Table of Contents | Introduction | Needs | Projects | Evaluation | Appendix


Appendix A

Projects

Note for all projects: Appropriate equipment and other technology will be acquired as needed for these projects, within the scope of the project purposes.

Texas Library System

Grant awards are made to the Texas Library System to improve library services for Texans. The Texas Library System is composed of ten systems, headquartered in different geographic regions of Texas. TSLAC, as authorized by the Library Systems Act, administers the system program. The system operation grants are generally the only source of funding for these organizations, and available funds are granted through a formula.

The current members of the ten systems are public libraries that have met the minimum criteria for system membership, as administered by TSLAC. Systems have the authority to admit other types of libraries as members. Some services are available to non-member public and other types of libraries. Increased emphasis in the next five years will be on increasing collaboration between the types of libraries within a system. System staff works to help non-member public libraries achieve minimum standards to become members.

The major objectives of the library systems are:

  • To encourage regional and local cooperative services for meeting common user needs through joint planning, informal cooperation, and contractual arrangements among public libraries; academic, school, and special libraries may also participate in these activities
  • To provide technical assistance and consulting upon request to librarians, library staff, trustees, advisory councils, and interested persons
  • To facilitate, coordinate, and promote library continuing education activities, and to prepare and provide continuing education workshops and materials for interested persons working in and with libraries
  • To conduct a wide variety of programs and services to meet the needs of their member libraries. Programs and services must focus on the LSTA purposes, customized to the needs of that region

Each year systems submit plans of service according to application guidelines prepared by the TSLAC staff. These plans are reviewed by staff and the Library Systems Act Advisory Board, and approved by the Commission.

The plans of service in each of the systems are the product of planning by the major resource center directors, system staff, system advisory councils, system member librarians, the board of directors in regional library systems, and lay representatives selected by the member libraries' local governing authorities.

Systems must complete and submit:

  • Financial reports
  • Bi-annual narrative reports

In addition to the reports listed above:

  • Quarterly performance measures that list the targets to be reached by each system. There are three required targets: 1) number of materials provided to area libraries; 2) number of persons provided local library project sponsored services; 3) and, number of library staff trained and assisted (through both traditional and electronic means)
  • Outcome measures for continuing education and other projects as appropriate
  • A Final Audit of grant funds due twelve months following the termination of the contract

TSLAC staff will review audits and audit exceptions will be resolved. Sub-grantees are expected to meet their objectives by the end of each project year.

Alamo Area Library System (AALS)
Major Resource Center: San Antonio Public Library
Population Served (SFY05): 2,080,923
Number of Counties: 21
Number of square miles: 25,498

The Alamo Area Library System serves libraries in south-central Texas with most residents living in a single large urban area, one of the state’s largest, and the rest in primarily rural areas.

Big Country Library System (BCLS)
Major Resource Center: Abilene Public Library
Population Served (SFY05): 434,436
Number of Counties: 32
Number of square miles: 34,301

The Big Country Library System serves libraries in areas that are primarily very rural and poor in the central part of the state, with few trained library staff in member libraries.

Central Texas Library System, Inc. (CTLS)
Nonprofit organization based in Austin
Population Served (SFY05): 2,087,209
Number of Counties: 30
Number of square miles: 25,607

The Central Texas Library System serves one of the state’s large metropolitan areas, as well as libraries in largely rural areas.

Houston Area Library System (HALS)
Major Resource Center: Houston Public Library
Population Served (SFY05): 5,803,621
Number of Counties: 28
Number of square miles: 24,375

The Houston Area Library System serves libraries in the state’s second largest metropolitan area, as well as libraries in largely rural areas.

Northeast Texas Library System (NETLS)
Major Resource Center: Nicholson Memorial Library (Garland)
Population Served (SFY05): 4,241,589
Number of Counties: 33
Number of square miles: 23,721

The Northeast Texas Library System serves libraries in part of the state’s largest metropolitan area, as well as libraries in largely rural areas.

North Texas Regional Library System (NTRLS)
Non-profit organization based in Fort Worth
Population Served (SFY05): 2,436,250
Number of Counties: 20
Number of square miles: 16,489

The North Texas Regional Library System serves libraries in part of the state’s largest metropolitan area, as well as libraries in largely rural areas.

South Texas Library System (STLS)
Major Resource Center: Corpus Christi Public Library
Population Served (SFY05): 1,981,390
Number of Counties: 26
Number of square miles: 28,219

The South Texas Library System serves libraries in south Texas, including a large section of the rapidly growing border region, as well as rural libraries.

Texas Panhandle Library System (TPLS)
Major Resource Center: Amarillo Public Library
Population Served (SFY05): 385,851
Number of Counties: 26
Number of square miles: 25,825

The Texas Panhandle Library System serves primarily rurally isolated libraries with few professional staff, except in the moderately sized metropolitan area of the major resource center.

Texas Trans-Pecos Library System (TTPLS)
Major Resource Center: El Paso Public Library
Population Served (SFY05): 766,082
Number of Counties: 9
Number of square miles: 31,469

The Texas Trans-Pecos Library System serves libraries that, with the exception of a single large urban area, are very rurally isolated with few professional staff.

West Texas Library System (WTLS)
Major Resource Center: Lubbock Public Library
Population Served (SFY05): 728,815
Number of Counties: 29
Number of square miles: 26,406

The West Texas Library System serves libraries that, with the exception of the major resource center, are primarily very rurally isolated with few professional staff.

Technical Assistance Negotiated Grants (TANG)

LSTA priorities include establishing and enhancing electronic linkages and assisting libraries to acquire or share computer systems and telecommunications technologies. State funded projects, including the Telecommunication Infrastructure Fund, plus grants from entities such as the Gates Foundation’s U.S. Library Initiative and the Tocker Foundation, have increased the availability of technology in libraries. Many libraries, especially smaller ones, experience difficulty keeping their computer equipment running efficiently and need assistance and training on computer and network set-up and maintenance. Larger libraries need specialized technical training and consulting to help staff keep technology functioning effectively. The focus of these grants is not on the acquisition of technology for libraries, but rather on improving the selection, maintenance, and use of the equipment.

Priority for application for these funds is given to the Texas Library Systems. The grant will fund costs for personnel, equipment/property, supplies, telecommunications, travel, and professional services necessary to provide technical assistance to public libraries in a given system. Academic libraries will become eligible for selected services in this project.

Sub grantees must complete and submit:

  • Quarterly performance reports
  • Annual narratives describing program activities
  • Responses to outcomes based evaluation instruments
  • In addition to the reports listed above:
  • Semi-annual Project Evaluation Reports indicating progress made in meeting program objectives
  • A Final Audit if required

The Texas State Library staff will review audits, and any audit exceptions will be resolved.

Preliminary efforts with outcome-based evaluation have been implemented with this project and will continue to be expanded.

Library Cooperation Grants

This grant program provides funds for programs that promote cooperative services for learning and access to information. Programs involving collaboration are encouraged. Programs must emphasize improved services by the library to its customers.

Programs may be in the following categories:

  1. Expand services for learning and access to information and educational resources in a variety of formats;
  2. Develop library services that provide all users access to information through local, state, regional, national, and international electronic networks;
  3. Provide electronic and other linkages between and among all types of libraries; or
  4. Develop public and private partnerships with other agencies and community-based organizations.

Through their governing authority, major resource library systems, regional library systems, and libraries that are members of the TexShare Library Consortium are eligible to apply for funds. These funds are awarded to major resource or regional library systems or TexShare member libraries but may be used with all types of libraries as specified in the grant guidelines and application. Applicants must be members of the TexShare Library Consortium or the Texas Library System at the time of application and for the period of grant funding. Non-profit organizations may be awarded funds for projects that involve a number of TexShare member libraries, as well as other types of libraries or organizations. Public school libraries may participate as partners in grants led by eligible entities.

Successful applicants are eligible to apply for grant funds for the two years following the initial grant year. The second and third application will be evaluated with the same criteria as new applications. No applicant will be eligible for a fourth year of funding for the same project.

Proposals will be scored by peer reviewers on the following seven criteria: needs assessment; program design; personnel; timetable; evaluation; budget; sustainability.

Announcements of the grant program are made broadly to the library community through electronic lists, the mail, and the agency web site. Grant guidelines and application materials are also available in print or through the agency website. In addition, the State Library provides consultation and instruction to groups and individuals across the state on how to develop a good program and grant proposal. Sub-grantees must complete and submit:

In addition to the reports listed in the evaluation section above:

  • Semi-annual Project Evaluation Reports indicating progress made in meeting program objectives
  • A Final Audit if required
  • Outcome measures as appropriate

The State Library staff will review audits, and any audit exceptions will be resolved.

Sub-grantees are expected to meet their objectives by the end of the project year.

Special Projects Grants

This grant program expands library services to all members of the library's community. It enables libraries to develop programs for populations with special needs. Programs involving collaboration are encouraged. Programs must emphasize improved services by the library to its customers.

Programs may be in one of the following categories:

  1. Target library services to individuals of diverse geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, to individuals with disabilities, and to individuals with limited functional literacy or
  2. Target library and information services to persons having difficulty using a library and to underserved urban and rural communities, including children from families with incomes below the poverty line.

Through their governing authority, major resource library systems, regional library systems, and libraries that are members of the TexShare Library Consortium are eligible to apply for funds. These funds are awarded to major resource or regional library systems or TexShare member libraries but may be used with all types of libraries as specified in the grant guidelines and application. Applicants must be members of the TexShare Library Consortium or the Texas Library System at the time of application and for the period of grant funding. Non-profit organizations may be awarded funds for projects that involve a number of TexShare member libraries, as well as other types of libraries or organizations. Public school libraries may participate as partners in grants led by eligible entities.

Successful applicants are eligible to apply for grant funds for the two years following the initial grant year. The second and third application will be evaluated with the same criteria as new applications. No applicant will be eligible for a fourth year of funding for the same project.

Proposals will be scored by peer reviewers on the following seven criteria: 1) needs assessment, 2) program design, 3) personnel, 4) timetable, 5) evaluation, 6) budget, and 7) sustainability.

Announcements of the grant program are made broadly to the library community through electronic lists, the mail, and the agency web site. Grant guidelines and application materials are also available in print or through the agency website. In addition, the State Library provides consultation and instruction to groups and individuals across the state on how to develop a good program and grant proposal. Sub-grantees must complete and submit:

In addition to the reports listed in the evaluation section above:

  • Semi-annual Project Evaluation Reports indicating progress made in meeting program objectives
  • A Final Audit if required
  • Outcome measures as appropriate

State Library staff will review audits, and any audit exceptions will be resolved.

Sub-grantees are expected to meet their objectives by the end of the project year.

Texas Reads Grants

Texas Reads is an annual grant program designed to assist Texas public libraries and local public library systems, through their governing authority (city, county, corporation, or district) to promote reading and literacy within local communities. To receive a grant, applicants must be members of the Texas Library System for the fiscal year the grant contracts are issued. Libraries or library systems will not be awarded more than one grant in a single grant cycle. Libraries or library systems will not be awarded a grant in two consecutive grant cycles.

Programs may be targeted to the entire community or to a segment of the community. Programs involving collaboration with other community organizations are encouraged. The agency may designate specific funding priorities for each grant cycle in response to identified needs. If this occurs, staff will provide details of funding priorities and scoring implications to applicants and to the peer review panel. The purpose is not for collection development, or other activities primarily focused on the acquisition of library materials or resources.

Reading promotion programs are those that actively encourage people to read and to develop a lifelong love of reading. One goal of reading promotion programs is to develop a more literate community. Typically, this involves presenting or hosting programs that will involve people in reading activities and will generate enthusiasm for reading.

Libraries may also coordinate programs in basic literacy, family literacy, and the ability to read, write and speak English and to compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job and in society.

Grants are scored by a peer review panel on six criteria: 1) needs assessment, (2) program purpose, (3) timetable, (4) program design, (5) budget, and (6) evaluation. Grant recipients are expected to meet their objectives by the end of the project year.

LSTA Grants – Guidelines for Library Systems

This grant may provide special funding for Texas Library Systems to assist libraries in developing services for learning, access to information, and expanding library services to all members of the library's community. Programs involving collaboration are encouraged. Programs must address one or more LSTA purposes.

Major resource library systems and regional library systems may apply for these grants. Successful applicants are eligible to apply for grant funds for the year following the initial grant year. This second application will be evaluated with the same criteria as new applications. Renewal of a grant is not automatic.

Proposals will be scored on the following seven criteria: (1) needs assessment, (2) program design, (3) personnel, (4) timetable, (5) evaluation, (6) budget, and (7) sustainability.

Sub-grantees must complete and submit:

In addition to the reports listed in the evaluation section above:

  • Semi-annual Project Evaluation Reports indicating progress made in meeting program objectives
  • A Final Audit if required
  • Outcome measures as appropriate

State Library staff will review audits, and any audit exceptions will be resolved.

Sub-grantees are expected to meet their objectives by the end of the project year.

Continuing Education and Consulting, Texas State Library and Archives Commission

TSLAC staff provides technical assistance and consulting upon request to librarians from all types of libraries, regional system personnel, library staff, trustees, advisory councils, and other interested persons to assist libraries in meeting the needs of their patrons and communities.

The continuing education and consulting staff also provide workshops on a wide range of topics for all types of libraries, and develop related instructional and informational materials. The workshops are designed to meet library educational needs as identified by assessment surveys, staff analysis of changes occurring in the profession, and specific requests that have statewide implications.

Continuing education activities are announced statewide by brochures and electronic lists in advance to the library community. These activities are also discussed in the agency newsletter, Library Developments, and are also listed on the agency website continuing education portal CE on Tap.

Through a mix of state and federal funding, six staff members offer in-depth consultations in all aspects of library operations via telephone, fax, email, onsite visits, and written correspondence. Workshops are planned for all areas of the state. Each consultant offers general and specialized consultation and workshops. Areas of consultation and workshops focus on library technology and electronic library services; distance education; services to diverse populations; funding; library services to children and young adults (with a focus on literacy); and, library management, with a special focus on management of small community libraries. All types of libraries are welcome to participate in the training and to ask for consulting assistance. Alternative and distance education methods are utilized as appropriate, and the department continues to expand delivery methods (self-study, web-based courses, videoconferencing courses) to meet the needs of library staff. In many cases, extensive handout packets or instructional manuals are prepared to accompany these courses. Most handbooks are also made available on the agency website.

When applicable, TSLAC strives to adopt the LSTA goals for its state funded programs as well. An excellent example is the Small Library Management Training Program (SLMTP), the longest running series of workshops offered by TSLAC. This ongoing, voluntary program provides essential management skills to non-MLIS (Masters of Library Science and Information Services) library staff in small community libraries. Each session is tailored to provide essential management skills in planning, creating and justifying budgets, hiring and supervising staff, ordering and weeding library materials, technology, and developing policies. Since 1994, over 450 individuals have completed the SLMTP series and over one thousand individual staff members from across the state have received training through the program.

Additionally, members of the library community may borrow professional books, periodicals, and videotapes from the LSTA funded Library Science Collection (LSC). These materials circulate statewide to anyone who requests them. The LSC librarian will identify relevant information and deliver the most appropriate materials to the client. New materials in the Library Science collection are listed in the Library Developments newsletter and on electronic lists. The Library Science Collection librarian also responds to requests for help and information.

Evaluation of the continuing education program is measured primarily by output measures (number of librarians trained and assisted) as well as outcome measures that measure changes in knowledge/skills, as well as changes in local library practices. Workshops are evaluated on a standard seven-point scale by participants, who also make recommendations for future topics. Composite scores for each workshop are tabulated and included in the staff members' performance evaluation plans.

Interlibrary Loan

The primary purpose of this project is to improve services by linking libraries together to share resources, to access information through electronic networks, and to help public libraries serve under-served areas or groups. Libraries attempt to meet the information needs of their users from local library and information sources. When the local sources are inadequate, librarians can submit requests to TexNet, a network of interlibrary loan referral centers and Texas Group libraries that utilize OCLC to transmit and track requests; centers are currently located in nine large public libraries in the state and at the Texas State Library.

All types of libraries can mail, fax, telephone, or email requests for interlibrary loans to the interlibrary loan referral center serving their geographic area. The interlibrary loan project staff will send books or photocopies from the referral center library's collection to fill the requests. If unavailable at that library, the request will be referred to other libraries via the OCLC computer network. The OCLC costs for the Interlibrary Loan Centers (ILCs) and the Texas Group libraries are also funded from this project through a contract with AMIGOS Bibliographic Council, Inc. Participation in the Texas Group is optional for public libraries.

For the public libraries that serve as ILCs, this project reimburses the expenses for staff salaries, fringe benefits, supplies, communication, postage, equipment, and administration. The project pays the OCLC costs for Texas Group member public libraries. Texas libraries are also reimbursed per net loan for loans made to public libraries in response to a TexNet request.

This project makes the resources of the major Texas public and academic libraries more widely available to all citizens. It also provides for technical assistance and workshops to help Texas libraries, especially the smaller ones, make this service widely available to all citizens.

Interlibrary loan statistics are collected at the State Library from each center and are cumulated monthly, quarterly and annually. Evaluation criteria include the number and percentage of requests filled, cost per fill, and turnaround time.

Because of concern for both the total and unit costs, the State Library staff closely monitors the progress of this program. Studies are conducted to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Changes may be made or tested to accomplish the program objectives.

To complement ILL, state funded programs also promote sharing resources. The TexShare Card, a statewide reciprocal borrowing program, and the Loan Star Libraries grant program (direct state aid to public libraries) provide additional options for Texans to obtain library materials to meet their needs. The TexShare Courier program provides a cost-effective means to move library materials throughout the state of Texas.

TexShare Databases

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission purchases shared access to information for libraries of multiple types including public libraries, academic libraries, state governmental agency libraries, and libraries of clinical medicine (TexShare members). These subscription databases offer authoritative full-text articles from verifiable sources such as handbooks, encyclopedias, and other reference tools, as well as newspapers, magazines, and peer-reviewed scholarly journals. A group of professional librarians, comprised of representatives of TexShare constituencies, selects the TexShare core databases through an evaluative bid process. Selected to provide information to Texas’ diverse population, these electronic shared resources offer best value by furnishing a cost-effective way of delivering reliable, high-quality content to TexShare member libraries. Purchasing electronic resources through a state-wide consortium achieves significant cost savings and allows local libraries to provide extensive electronic resources to their communities.

Resource discovery services

Resource discovery services make desired information easier to locate. By using appropriate standards and technologies for federated searching, interoperability and data harvesting our resource discovery services make a wide variety of information available and convenient for Texas library patrons without requiring technical expertise or infrastructure on the part of each participating library, resulting in cost savings and improved information service.

The Library of Texas is a statewide resource discovery service that enables Texas library patrons to find materials in nearby libraries, TexShare online databases and other information collections through an integrated, one-stop searching portal. Once discovered, desired items can be viewed online, requested through ILL or borrowed directly from the library that holds the item. This centralized, Web-based service provides federated searching technology to all Texas libraries, many of which could not afford or provide technical staff support for such capabilities on their own.

TRAIL (Texas Record and Information Locator) is an index and archive of Web publications created by Texas state agencies that provides public access to both current and historical state government information. It can be searched separately or included along side other collections in the Library of Texas.

Texas Heritage Online is a specialized discovery service for collections of Texas cultural heritage materials using much of the same software and technology as the Library of Texas but customized to meet the searching and presentation needs of these materials.

Talking Book Program, Texas State Library and Archives Commission

The Talking Book Program is operated by TSLAC. The program provides playback machines and materials in special formats to eligible readers who cannot read standard print because of visual, physical, or learning disabilities. Currently, the program

  • Mails books and magazines in special formats, as well as playback equipment, to readers throughout the state
  • Produces non-commercial recorded titles using the program's volunteer recording studio, receives recorded materials from the National Library Service, and also selects from among titles recorded by counterpart studios in other states
  • Acquires commercially produced large print titles for circulation to readers; additional commercial titles in regular print format are acquired to answer disability-related reference questions
  • Provides information on disability issues and topics to individuals, libraries, etc. through the Disabilities Information Referral Center

Potential new readers receive service if they meet eligibility criteria established by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, a division of the Library of Congress. Previously registered readers will be considered active as long as they remain eligible and borrow at least one book or magazine per year. Contact with new and continuing readers will be made primarily by telephone and by mail. Some in-person contacts may also occur. A public awareness program will work to notify potential new readers, their family members, and others who may be in contact with them as to the availability of this service. Accordingly, contacts will be made with state agencies, relevant professional and consumer organizations, schools, public libraries, academic libraries, and media outlets. Program services are monitored using statistical data generated through registration of patrons and their selections of services to be received, circulation of materials, and acquisitions of both commercial and non-commercial materials. Statistical data are generated for public awareness activities through number of visits into targeted areas, number of contacts, number of applications for service received, and demographic patterns within program enrollment.

Archives and Information Services, Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Through its Archives and Information Services Division the Texas State Library and Archives Commission acquires, evaluates, organizes, and preserves the permanently valuable records of Texas government agencies, as well as state and federal agency publications and other library materials. It strives to makes those items as accessible as possible to a variety of researchers, including citizens, and government officials. Texans recognize the value of these materials, for many of the collections are in heavy and constant demand by the public. The division is committed to increasing universal access to its holdings through the Internet, as well as managing and preserving the original documents and providing customer service in using the materials.

The agency has made it a priority to extend and enrich electronic access to these unique Texas-related collections. TSLAC uses state funds to provide electronic access via the World Wide Web to several very large and heavily requested collections of primary source materials comprising over 300,000 digital images, as well as on-line interpretive historical exhibits dealing with a variety of topics. TSLAC proposes to use digitization to ensure access to other large collections of equal or greater historic significance. Strategies for implementation of this goal include establishing partnerships with online content providers that offer the potential to broaden access to important documents, ensure long-term access to electronic information, and maximize existing resources for digital content

Since 2003 TSLAC has been tracking and reporting the number of web-based information resources used, including the number of times customers access web-based views of digital reproductions of original archival materials. That information is used as part of an on-going evaluation of the types of archival materials presented in digital formats that are most frequently accessed by and of greatest interest to our constituents.

TexTreasures Grants

TexTreasures is an annual grant program designed to assist Texas public, academic, and medical libraries to provide access to their special or unique collections, and to make information about these collections available to library users across the state and beyond. Grants are awarded through a competitive process, and may be awarded to a single library, a library applying on behalf of a group of libraries, or the library portion of a cooperative project including other types of organizations. Applicants may propose projects designed to increase accessibility through a wide range of activities such as organizing, cataloging, indexing, and digitizing local materials. The increased accessibility of special collections, particularly through digitization, enhances the Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative administered by the TSLAC.

Grants are scored by a peer review panel on six criteria: significance of the collection, availability, project design, cost sharing, cost effectiveness, and evaluation. Grantees submit a semi-annual project evaluation report indicating progress made toward meeting program objectives in addition to the standard statistical and financial quarterly reports required by all TSLAC grantees. Grant recipients are expected to meet their objectives by the end of the project year.

Administration

As authorized in the Library Services and Technology Act, up to four percent of the federal funds may be expended for administrative costs in connection with programs and activities to carry out the Act. In addition, state funds are appropriated to administer the programs. These funds are used to:

  • Manage the projects and activities that fall under the purposes of the Library Services and Technology Act
  • Provide financial and program accountability through the administration of state and federal funds
  • Evaluate the results and impact of the Library Services and Technology Act program, as well as the current Statewide Library Development program, and the state of library service in Texas
  • Explore needed changes in the Texas State Library and Archives Commission authorization, the Library System Act, and other legislation concerning libraries of all types
  • Collect and publish statistics from Texas public and academic libraries

The following publications and reports are available as a result of the project through the agency’s website:

  • Library Services and Technology Act State Plan
  • Library Services and Technology Act Evaluation Study
  • Statewide Library Development: Biennial Budget
  • Legislative Budget Board Performance and Expenditure Report: Quarterly
  • Grant Management Guidelines
  • Rules and Regulations for the State Library System
  • Guidelines for Regional Systems' Annual Program and Budget
  • Guidelines for Application and Reporting of Sub-grants
  • Texas Public Library Statistics, Directory, and Summary
  • Texas Academic Library Statistics
  • Web pages for agency projects
  • Other special projects and reports as needed

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Page last modified: February 8, 2012