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1998 News Releases

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12-30-1998 - Neal Chapman and Sue Polanka Named State Library Employees of the Quarter
11-16-1998 - Five Additional Libraries to Receive Brownstone Book Donations
10-15-1998 - Coby Condrey and Karen Smith Named State Library Employees of the Quarter
10-01-1998 - New Reference Online Services Available at Public Libraries

08-21-1998 - Parents Urged to Visit School Libraries
06-17-1998 - Ramona Cearley and Hector Ybarra Cleaveland Named State Library Employees...
04-22-1998 - Michael Heskett, Jenifer Flaxbart New Division Directors at State Library
03-23-1998 - Pat Williams and Jack Jackson Named State Library Employees of the Quarter
03-05-1998 - Brownstone Book Fund Donates Children's Books to Five Texas Libraries
03-05-1998 - Texas Libraries Benefit From Gates Library Foundation Grants

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December 30, 1998

Austin -- The Employee Recognition Committee of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission has selected Neal Chapman, circulation supervisor for the State and Local Records Management, and Sue Polanka, continuing education consultant for the Library Development Division, as Employees of the Quarter for the first quarter of fiscal year 1999.

Chapman, a valued staff member for over 20 years, began with the agency as a State Records Center delivery driver, and later was promoted to inventory specialist and then to records center supervisor. During the past 15 months, Chapman has supervised the Records Center employees who respond to circulation requests for stored records. During FY98, Chapman's unit exceeded all performance goals for circulation activities, and his energetic leadership and depth of knowledge significantly contributed to an accomplishment of over 100,000 circulation transactions by seven staff members. In addition, he has been instrumental in maintaining a high quality of service with an emphasis on meeting the needs of a wide variety of state agencies. His services have proven to be invaluable to the Records Center.

Sue Polanka began her career at the State Library as the Texas documents librarian in the Archives and Reference Services Division. While at this position, she designed and coordinated several exhibits commemorating events in Texas, and created and delivered comprehensive training to division staff. She also co-created a structured training checklist to be used with future library assistants; wrote and edited a Texas Documents policies and procedures manual; and developed a variety of finding aids to be posted to the Internet. As a continuing education consultant in Library Development, Sue has provided training for public libraries and agency staff on a variety of topics including Internet basics, accessing government information, and developing presentation skills.

Chapman and Polanka were recognized at the quarterly Awards Ceremony in December and presented a Certificate of Merit and eight hours of administrative leave.


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November 16, 1998

Austin -- For the second time in six months, Mrs. Diane Brownstone of the Brownstone Book Fund of New York has invited Governor and Mrs. George W. Bush to select five rural Texas libraries to receive donations of children's books.

At the request of First Lady Laura Bush, staff of the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission prepared a listing of 15 rural libraries with the lowest number of books per capita. Each of the five libraries selected will receive a list of approximately 300 preschool through third grade books from which they can choose 101. Several Texas themes and Spanish language books are included, and the gift is valued at about $1700.

Libraries selected by the Bushes are

  • Clint ISD Public Library, Clint
  • Crandall-Combine City/School Library, Crandall
  • Killeen Public Library, Killeen
  • Murphy Memorial Library, Livingston
  • San Juan Public Library, San Juan

The Brownstone Book Fund, located in New York City, is a private non-profit foundation interested in fostering a love of books and encouraging family reading. They do not accept applications for their funds, preferring to surprise recipients with this gift. Mrs. Brownstone has found the response by libraries receiving the books to be so great that she is encouraged to continue the project and anticipates funding over 100 libraries in 1999.

In expressing her thanks to Mrs. Brownstone, Mrs. Bush noted that the gift makes a huge difference to small libraries.

Jeanette Larson, director the Library Development Division, said, "The Brownstone Book Fund gift will enrich lives of families in these communities by making available a wide range of new children's books."

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October 15, 1998

Austin -- The Employee Recognition Committee of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission has selected Coby Condrey and Karen Smith as Employees of the Quarter for the fourth quarter of fiscal 1998.

Coby Condrey, coordinator, Texas State Publications Depository Program, Library Resource Sharing Division, was selected for his efforts in preparing the monthly collection statistics when his division was short staffed, and for taking the initiative to replace the old, cumbersome, DOS based SuperCalc program with an Excel program. He is also credited for distributing over 436,000 Texas Documents by the end of FY97. Coby's ongoing dedication in initiating and perfecting projects demonstrates his much appreciated contributions to the State Library.

Karen Smith consistently demonstrates the characteristics of a model employee. A library clerk in the Reference/Documents Collection of the Archives and Information Services Division, Karen maintains approximately one-third of the State Library's federal documents, a collection of more than 1.5 million items. Karen willingly and cheerfully offers her assistance to both co-workers and patrons, often initiating projects before being told by her supervisors. She dedicates herself to completing projects thoroughly and professionally, which assures partons that their requests are being handled with care. Her loyalty to the people she works with and to the State Library is demonstrated by her attitude toward her work and in her personal contacts, making Karen an asset to the State Library.

Coby and Karen were recognized at the Quarterly Awards Ceremony in the lobby of the de Zavala Building, and were be presented a Certificate of Merit and awarded eight hours of administrative leave.

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October 1, 1998

Austin--The Texas State Electronic Library (TSEL), a service of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, is pleased to announce new contracts-and renewals of existing services-on full-text database access for Texas public and state governmental libraries.

A new online research service, the Electric Library (also known as Homework Helper), will assist patrons and library staff in finding information. A service of Infonautics, the Electronic Library pioneered joint searching of multiple data types, including books maps, and photographs, and was the first to offer a comprehensive research collection for children. Electronic Library 98 has a new look and search enhancements, and has expanded and refined the capabilities of its basic system.

ArchivesUSA from Chadwyck-Healey terms itself "the best Web and CD-ROM source in the world for information on archival repositories and finding aids," and incorporates three major information resources:
a newly-compiled directory of manuscript repositories that details holdings and areas of special interest;
a collection of information gathered and compiled by the Library of Congress from the 1950s through 1995, covering over 75,000 collections; names and detailed subject indexing of over 42,000 collections whose finding aids have been published separately in the major microfiche series, National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the United States (NIDS).

The State Library has renewed its contract with Encyclopedia Britannica for Britannica Online service to all Texas public libraries with Internet access, and increased from 14 to 30 the users able to access the FirstSearch databases simultaneously in order to improve the availability of information at peak periods. This service includes unlimited searching in EBSCO MasterFile, Periodical Abstracts, ABI/INFORM, WorldCat, Article First, Books in Print, Health Reference Center, Wilson Select, and limited searching in other FirstSearch databases.

The Texas State Electronic Library has received top ratings by Magellan Internet Guide and Lycos, popular index services and subject listing search engines, and is listed as one of the Top One Hundred Texas websites by Texas Monthly magazine. TSEL's Internet address is

For more information email comments@ or phone 512-936-LINK.

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August 21, 1998

Austin -- The Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission encourages parents to get involved with their school library this fall by attending library open houses and visiting with school librarians.

"It's important for the library to be the hub of the school," said Library Development Director Jeanette Larson. "Student academic success can be directly related to the quality of the school library."

In its last session, the Legislature directed the State Library to develop guidelines for schools to enhance their library programs. "These guidelines are now in place," Larson said, "and we urge parents to visit the school library and ask about the qualities of a good library. Voice your support for library programs to your school boards, principals, and superintendents." (See attached Guidelines Summary and "Calling All Parents" flyer for detailed information.)

Among the qualities needed for a viable library-learning atmosphere are
a flexible schedule for access so that learning takes place continuously and when needed;
collaboration between classroom teachers and library staff;
new books and other print material on a wide variety of topics that encourage and support reading and learning;
up-to-date technologies supporting Internet access, automated circulation and catalogs, multimedia production capabilities, and access to an area for group instruction in technology;
a teacher-librarian who teaches the information process, understands the uses of technology, selects and uses a wide variety of materials, and works in partnership with the classroom teachers to exploit materials, information, and information technology.

Facts assembled by the Texas Library Association show that
the total average expenditures for school libraries, including staffing and facilities, is $82 per student, or 50% of the $164 per student spent for guidance counseling services;
school libraries spent less than $11 per pupil for books in 1994-95, and with the average hardcover book currently costing about $35.00, that's less than one book per three pupils;
school libraries account for only 1.7% of total school district expenditures;
each school librarian in Texas serves an average of nearly 900 students and over 100 staff.

For more information on guidelines for school libraries or parent involvement, call the Library Development Division at 512-463-6624.

Additional information is available on the following websites:

School Library Programs: Standards and Guidelines for Texas

Parent involvement and community empowerment

Texas Association of School Librarians homepage

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June 17, 1998

Austin -- The Employee Recognition Committee of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission has selected Ramona Cearley and Hector Ybarra Cleaveland as Employees of the Quarter for the third quarter of FY1998.

As the publication specialist for the State Local Records Management Division, Ramona Cearley devotes many hours to The Local Record, the newsletter for the division. Her redesign of the newsletter drew praise from many local government officials and employees. Ramona's most significant achievement has been the design and development of the division's webpages. She sought and found the means to learn HTML, and her hard work has resulted with a well-organized, user-friendly website, full of information. Ramona also volunteered many hours to the 1997 Texas Book Festival. Ramona's skill as a editor and designer have contributed to the transformation of education outreach efforts.

As a Spanish-speaking reader consultant for the Talking Book Program (TBP), Hector Ybarra Cleaveland has provided invaluable services to Spanish-speaking TBP patrons. In the past year Hector has translated the Talking Book Program's Loan Policy, as well as edited and added to a document that will serve as the Spanish version of Getting Started (an informative welcome document for new patrons.) He took it upon himself to correct several of the division's existing Spanish translations, and offered to work on other high level projects. Hector's calm assurance, helpfulness, and professional demeanor are greatly appreciated by coworkers and patrons.

Ramona and Hector were recognized at the Quarterly Awards Ceremony on June 11, at 10:00 a.m. in the lobby of the de Zavala Building. They were presented a Certificate of Merit and awarded eight hours of administrative leave.

The State Library also extended its appreciation for the hard work and endless effort that volunteers have contributed. Throughout the agency, volunteers devote many hours in the TBP Recording Studio, the TBP warehouse, Archives and in the Genealogy Divisions. Dr. Robert S. Martin, Director and Librarian, presented Certificates of Appreciation to those volunteers who had acquired 3,000 hours or more.Volunteers honored were Helen Bennett, Therese East, Milton Hansen, Janice Lathin, and Joel Rudd.

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April 22, 1998

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is pleased to announce new directors for two of its divisions.

Michael Heskett was named director of the State and Local Records Management Division and State Records Records Administrator following the retirement of Bill Dyess. Heskett assumed his new responsibilities April 1.

Michael Heskett has been with the State Library since 1986 and has served as a publications coordinator and as manager of the Policy andProgram Development and Records Management Assistance units of the State and Local Records Management Division.

His new duties include managing one of the largest state records storage center in the nation and a full service micrographics bureau. In addition, he oversees the delivery of training and consulting services to over 9,000 state agencies and local governments in assisting them in meeting the requirements of Texas state and local government records management laws.

In announcing Heskett's appointment, Robert S. Martin, director and librarian, said, "We are confident that Michael Heskett's many years of experience in records management have well-equipped him to take up where Bill Dyess leaves off-in providing sound leadership and effective management of the State Records Center."

Jenifer Flaxbart has accepted the position of director of the Talking Book Program, effective May 1. Flaxbart has served as acting director of the division since November 1, 1997, and replaces Dale Propp, who will head the Legislative Reference Library. Jenifer Flaxbart joined the Talking Book Program in January 1993, first as Bibliographic Control Librarian, and later served as Reader Services Librarian and Manager of Reader Services. Talking Book serves citizens of Texas who have physical and reading disabilities through its Reader Services, Circulation, Audio Production, Bibliographic Control, Public Awareness, and Volunteer Services departments. Flaxbart's new duties include planning and managing daily operations, preparing budget requests, grant applications and performance reports, and identifying and achieving the service objectives of the program. In his announcement of Flaxbart's appointment, Dr. Martin commented, "Jenifer Flaxbart's commitment to providing library services to special populations makes her extremely well-qualified to provide sound leadership and effective management of this crucially important program." Other State Library programs include Archives and Information Services, Library Resource Sharing Division, and Library Development.

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March 23, 1998

Austin -- The Employee Recognition Committee of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) has selected Pat Williams and Jack Jackson as Employees of the Quarter for the second quarter of FY1998.

Pat Williams has given over twenty years of dedicated service to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. In her present position as a darkroom technician in the State and Local Records Division, Williams is thoroughly organized in order to meet deadlines and quality standards. Microfilm processing and duplication demands strict adherence to quality and procedures, and she sees to it that this standard of excellence is met. Williams' contributions assure convenient service to both the processing department and TSLAC clients, and her dedication has proven to be an asset to her division.

Jack Jackson has worked in the Administrative Services Division for twenty years. He currently serves as the reproduction supervisor and manages the receiving and mailing departments. Jackson oversees the production of division newsletters, circulating approximately 22,500 a year, plus agency memos, brochures, grants, and a numerous list of documents. Each of the State Library's eight divisions depends on Jackson to produce its publications, which usually arrive at the Print Shop with a tight deadline. Jackson understands this urgency and still maintains a happy and professional disposition. Never hesitating to lend a hand, he is always glad to help and committed to providing the very best service possible.

Williams and Jackson were presented a Certificate of Merit at the Quarterly Awards Ceremony and awarded eight hours of administrative leave.

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March 5, 1998

Austin -- The Brownstone Book Fund of New York recently invited Governor and Mrs. George W. Bush to select five rural Texas libraries to receive donations of 101 children's books (preschool through third grade). The Bushes selected the following libraries:

  • Menard Public
  • Tri-County Library/Community Resource Center, Mabank
  • Crystal City Memorial
  • Ferris Public
  • City of Presidio

Diane Brownstone, director of the foundation, announced the gift in a letter to each library. Enclosed with the letter was one book of Mrs. Brownstone's selection and an order list of about 250 from Brodart Company, from which the library may select 100 books. The list includes books available in Spanish, plus the library may substitute 10 books of their own selection.

The Brownstone Book Fund, located in New York City, is a private non-profit foundation interested in fostering a love of books and encouraging family reading. They do not accept applications for their funds, preferring to surprise recipients with this gift. Mrs. Brownstone said, "The public library of my youth gave me an addiction to books that has enriched my life. My wish, with this collection, is to give this experience and pleasure to many other young people." The Brownstone Book Fund anticipates funding collections for 72 libraries in 1998 and 100 or more in 1999.

Governor Bush asked the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to recommend rural libraries meeting the Brownston Book Fund's guidelines. Staff of the Library Development Division prepared a list of 20 libraries in the ten regional library systems across the state. Selection was based on materials expenditures of less than $2,000 and local efforts to improve library services.

The State Library staff was also invited by Mrs. Brownstone to select some "Texas" books to add to the list. Jeanette Larson, director the Library Development Division, said, "The Brownstone Book Fund donation will have a major impact on the collections of these libraries since the value of this gift, in most cases, comes close to equaling or exceeding many of the libraries' normal materials budgets."

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March 5, 1998

Austin -- Thirteen Texas public libraries will benefit from a total of $1,079,000 in the Gates Library Foundation's first distribution of grants. The Gates Library Foundation was founded in June, 1997 by Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda French Gates, to partner with public libraries in bringing access to computers and digital information to patrons in low-income communities in the United States and Canada.

The Gateses' initial commitment of $200 million is being distributed in the form of grants, hardware, training, and technical assistance. In addition, Microsoft is donating software with an overall retail value of $200 million to be distributed directly to grant recipients. Corbis Corporation will be donating software for every computer installed as well.

The current grants, representing more than $20 million for computers, technical assistance, and training, will give public library patrons access to computers and the Internet. In addition, Microsoft will be donating software with a total estimated retail value of $13 million.

The Foundation has divided the grants into three categories-statewide library partnerships, urban leadership grants, and opportunity grants-with Texas' libraries qualifying in the latter two categories.

Urban leadership grants provide funding for large library systems serving the needs of very low-income communities. Grants are designed to expand public access to computers and the Internet at multiple branches and provide technical assistance and training to library staff. Eligible systems are required to service cities of more than100,000, and to have at least two library buildings serving areas with at least 40 percent of its population in poverty, based on 1990 US Census figures and a study on poverty recently completed by the American Library Association. Grants ranged from $35,000 to Cleveland (OH) Public to $640,00 for New York Public. Texas libraries received the following:

  • Dallas Public $160,000
  • El Paso Public 105,000
  • Fort Worth Public 75,000
  • San Antonio Public 165,000
  • Houston Public 312,000

In the opportunity grants category-designed to give funding and limited technical assistance to single library branches serving areas of extreme poverty-grants ranged from $4,200 for Apache County, AZ to $55,900 for Kalamazoo, MI. Eight Texas libraries received the following amounts:

  • Brownsville Public $50,300
  • Donna Public 41,800
  • Edinburg Public 35,000
  • Elsa Public 22,500
  • Los Fresnos Public 29,100
  • Wichita Falls Public 19,300
  • Mercedes Public 25,700
  • Val Verde County Public (Del Rio) 38,900

The Gates Library Foundation has asked the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to play a substantial role in coordinating the opportunity grants with recipient Texas libraries. The grants will be distributed directly to the libraries, with the Library Development Division of the State Library assisting in training and technical support.

More information on the grant program is available on the Foundation's website at

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