2000 News Releases
12-10-2000 - Texas State Librarian to visit Rio Grande Valley
09-29-2000 - Paula A. Ruiz, Catherine Brush Selected State Library Employees of the Quarter
09-26-2000 - State Library Focuses on Employee Issues
03-13-2000 - Glenn Fonseca, Holly Gordon Selected State Library Employees of the Quarter
01-24-2000 - Texas Book Festival Donates Signed Collection to State Library
Austin - Peggy D. Rudd, director and librarian of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, plans to visit 21 libraries along the Rio Grande River, from Brownsville to Del Rio, Dec. 11-15, to meet with librarians and discuss library needs in that region.
Rudd's main focus during the trip will be to listen to local librarians' challenges and success stories in providing library service to their communities. Says Rudd, "Librarians in Texas are very creative and have accomplished a great deal on a very limited budget; but, they still face many challenges and desperately need more resources to adequately meet the changing needs of their communities."
"As far as I know, I will be the first Texas state librarian to visit some of these libraries. The Texas State Library has always worked closely with Texas libraries, and it's unfortunate we haven't been able to interact in person more often. I'm looking forward to visiting each library and beginning some important dialogue about library services in the Valley."
Her trek begins at the Brownsville Public Library. Says Director Joe Garcia, "The Brownsville Public Library is honored to have Peggy Rudd visit our library and other libraries in the Rio Grande Valley. Ms. Rudd plays a key role in obtaining needed funding for all libraries in Texas-funding to enable public libraries to improve their ability to offer technology, access to more extensive proprietary information databases and other types of important library services for the community."
Laredo Public Library Director Janice Weber also looks forward to the unprecedented visit by Rudd next week. Weber notes, "Ms. Rudd's commitment to the promotion of libraries in the state of Texas is exemplary due to her collaborative efforts with other agencies to provide better services to public libraries."
Rudd, a Texas native, has directed the State Library since Oct. 1999. She is passionate about libraries and believes wholeheartedly in their power to enrich and invigorate individuals, communities, and institutions.
Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission announces the selection of Paula A. Ruiz of its Talking Book Program and Catherine Brush, Archives and Information Services division, as Employees of the Quarter for the fourth quarter, fiscal year 2000.
Paula A. Ruiz, circulation assistant supervisor, is cited for her high quality of work in her daily duties of receiving and filling book orders for patrons. Ruiz' dedication to customer service recently aided the program tremendously, as the Talking Book Program experienced several workflow shifts due to staff vacancies. Ruiz quickly learned new tasks and volunteered to work overtime to ensure a continued high level of customer service. Ruiz' coworkers marvel at her speed and accuracy when completing tasks and can count on her to "get the job done."
Texas Documents Librarian Catherine Brush assumes primary responsibility for a collection of more than 200,000 items, in addition to fulfilling reference requests from the public. As described by her peers, Brush has an "uncanny ability to analyze a question, cut through the frills, find the answer, and get the request filled." In the past three months, she has accurately and quickly responded to more than 800 e-mail requests. Brush serves on an agencywide Web Team and represents the agency on the State Agency Council to the Governor's Commission for Women.
Director and Librarian Peggy D. Rudd recognized Ruiz and Brush at the Quarterly Awards Ceremony on September 26, where she presented them Certificates of Merit and awarded them one day of administrative leave.
Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission announces the selection of Vanessa H. Siordia as human resources manager for the organization. Siordia brings considerable human resources experience to this role, having served the State Library in varied human resources capacities since 1994.
The State Library recently created the human resources manager position to coordinate more aggressive employee recruitment and retention efforts and expanded training opportunities for its employees, including standardized supervisory training for staff members.
The creation of the position follows other efforts by State Library management to enhance employee satisfaction and its workplace environment, and to remain competitive in the Austin job market. The State Library assembled an employee task force to identify trends affecting the work environment of employees and to make recommendations for improvement. Other improvements include renovation to the employee lounges and a renewed emphasis on internal communication, according to Director and Librarian Peggy D. Rudd.
Says Rudd, "It's difficult for state agencies to compete with the private sector in the Austin job market. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission values its employees and has taken these extra steps to ensure we are offering our very best to employees and potential employees."
Austin - You may have seen Ev Lunning performing in a theatrical production in Austin. If you're a Dell employee, you've heard Lunning's voice narrating your training videos. Or perhaps you were one of his students at St. Edwards University where Lunning, an assistant professor of Theatre Arts, teaches Diction and Presentation.
But thousands of Texans with visual disabilities know Ev Lunning from the sound of his voice. As a recording volunteer with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission's Talking Book Program, Lunning has narrated 33 books since 1992. These recordings of books about Texas are circulated to Texans with reading-related disabilities free of charge by the program.
Recently, Lunning's recording of "Footnotes," the autobiography of Broadway star and Texan Tommy Tune, was accepted into the national collection of Talking Books-the first title recorded by Texas volunteers to receive this honor, and one of only eight volunteer-produced books to be accepted nationwide.
"Now thousands of people with disabilities around the country will be able to easily request this recording and enjoy Ev Lunning's work," said Jenifer O. Flaxbart, director of the Talking Book Program. "We congratulate our staff and volunteers who made this possible."
The Texas Talking Book Program receives about 2,000 professionally recorded titles annually from its parent organization, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) at the Library of Congress, Flaxbart explained. "Our volunteers supplement the national collection by recording books and magazines with a Texas connection that the NLS doesn't have the resources to record," she said.
"Volunteering at the Talking Book Program is a wonderful part of my week," Lunning said. "I have been performing professionally for nearly 35 years now. I have trained as an actor, and I have always read aloud for the literature classes I have taught."
But Lunning didn't really become enamoured of reading aloud until he began reading to his daughters. "Those hours spent sharing the grand old stories--the fairy tales, the Arabian Nights, the Greek myths--were very special."
Lunning said that he enters the recording booth every week with those memories in mind. "I am sharing the joy of the spoken word with someone like my daughters, someone who will respond to the humor, the fear, the pity," he said.
"The Talking Book Program has been fortunate for the past 21 years to have recording volunteers that have been dedicated to producing unabridged narrations of Texas books, both in high quantity and quality," said Flaxbart.
In the past two years, the recording studio managers Patricia Alvarez and Sara Stiffler have worked with the volunteers to work toward meeting standards of the NLS's Quality Assurance Program.
"Texas State Library Talking Book Program is blessed with coordinators like Patsy Alvarez and Sara Stiffler who are expert in their guidance and also in showing their appreciation for the work that all the volunteers do," Lunning said.
In addition to working with narrators, Alvarez and Stiffler also work with the volunteer monitors and reviewers who are critical to the success of producing quality recordings.
To find out more about the Talking Book Program services for Texans with reading-related disabilities, visit the Web site at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/tbp or call 512-463-5452 or 1-800-252-9605. The program provides books and magazines in alternative formats (audio cassette, braille and large print) free of charge to Texans with visual, physical and learning disabilities that prevent them from reading standard print.
Call 512-463-5546 for information on volunteering at the Talking Book Program's recording studio in downtown Austin.
"More than 30 titles recorded by our volunteers have been submitted for approval by the Quality Assurance Program," said Flaxbart. "We appreciate this ongoing effort by our volunteers to continuously improve the quality of their work."
"I am grateful for this recognition, and no doubt the Texas Talking Book Program will place many more volumes, many more narrators with the National Library Service," said Lunning. "The joy is in the work."
Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission was among nine state libraries nationwide selected to participate in a model advocacy program designed by Libraries for the Future (LFF). The project, Communities and Libraries Program: An Advocacy Training Program, will be implemented in Texas, New York, Arizona, Iowa, Georgia, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.
Texas State Librarian Peggy D. Rudd said, "Texas has long had a very strong citizen advocacy program in place, supported through the Texas State Library and Archives Commission as well as the Texas Library Association. The Communities and Libraries Program, supported by Libraries for the Future, with its emphasis on citizen participation, building and sustaining community collaborations, and establishing public-private partnerships, brings an added dimension to our advocacy program. As a result of their multi-state focus, Libraries for the Future is in a unique position to bring best practices and outstanding trainers from across the country to enhance the work Texas advocates do in support of their libraries."
The project, supported by a grant to LFF from the Viburnum Foundation, provides advocacy training events developed by the state library with its cooperating partners and Libraries for the Future. The highlight of these training events will be the active participation of volunteer mentors from throughout the United States.
The Library Development Division of the Texas State Library will administer the project. The Division works to expand public access to all libraries, assist libraries in supplying quality information services, and to encourage Texans to learn about and use their libraries. Serving all types of libraries, including public, academic, school, and special, this Division provides consulting and continuing education services, grant opportunities, and coordinates the work of the ten Texas library systems.
According to Jeanette Larson, Library Development Division Director at the state library, "The Libraries for the Future advocacy opportunities provides another mechanism for the Library Development Division and its staff to partner with a national group to work with local public libraries in Texas to improve support for library services. The Communities and Libraries project will allow us to bring national speakers to a state conference for citizen advocates who work with the 535 public libraries in the state."
State selection was based on applications submitted by state librarians that described their current advocacy efforts and continuing advocacy needs. A commitment to building a strong state advocacy infrastructure was key to the selection of participating states. The first phase of the project began in 1998 with eight participating states.
Communities and Libraries: An Advocacy Training Program is organized by Libraries for the Future, a national nonprofit organization. Libraries for the Future mobilizes private and public support for programs with libraries, schools and community partners to improve information access, literacy and media skills.
Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission announced the award of a contract to EGS Research & Consulting of Austin to study the effects of activities in school library media centers on student achievement. At the direction of the 74th Legislature, the Texas State Library developed standards for school library programs and is conducting the study in preparation for a review of those standards. Preliminary results of the study are expected to be available in February 2001, with a final report due by April 2001.
Previous studies, particularly those conducted by Keith Lance and the Library Research Service in Alaska, Pennsylvania, and Colorado, have demonstrated that a positive relationship exists between activities performed in school library media centers, and student test scores. These relationships could not be explained entirely by differences in school size, funding, and teacher staffing levels. The study for the Texas State Library is funded through a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act. Jeanette Larson, Director of the Library Development Division at the Texas State Library said "I am thrilled to have another researcher looking at this issue and am hopeful that the results will validate the research performed in other states. In our hearts we know that school library programs make a difference to student achievement and learning success, but we have not had comprehensive, empirical data to back this up."
EGS Research & Consulting recently completed a comprehensive evaluation of the effectiveness of the Texas Library Connection and possesses current, comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of library operations and instructional and information technology in Texas schools for the Texas Education Agency.
Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is pleased to announce the selection of Jay Velgos of its Library Resource Sharing Division and Ramon C. Noches, State and Local Records Management Division, as Employees of the Quarter for the third quarter, fiscal year 2000.
Jay Velgos, Web support and development coordinator, has consistently supported the work of the State Library with his enthusiasm, professionalism and creative talent. Velgos is cited for his participation in redesigning the State Library's Web site. He produced all of the Web graphics needed for the new navigation system, as well as the graphics on the site's home page. His technical and graphic design abilities make him an agencywide asset, and he frequently volunteers to assist other agency efforts, including those in the Public Information Office and in the Archives and Information Services Division. Within the last quarter, in addition to his contributions to the Texas State Library Web site, Velgos also revamped the agency's TexShare Web site, and edited and designed the high-profile "Library of Texas" proposal, a grant which is expected to bring over $20 million to the State Library over the next two years.
Ramon C. Noches, government records consultant, has made a tremendous impact on the records management programs of Texas government agencies since joining the State Library in 1998. Noches' accomplishments include creating a combined index for local records retention schedules for both clients and State Library staff to reference. He also designed a retention schedule template to aid small and rural government agencies in preparing their schedules. Noches is responsible for improvements to agency records management procedures that save both time and money, such as a checklist for consultants to use when reviewing retention schedules and a summary of prominent records management software comparisons. Noches is also cited for his dynamic and entertaining presentation skills. Clients from across the state commend him for his ability to communicate effectively.
Velgos and Noches will be recognized at the Quarterly Awards Ceremony on June 6 at 10:00 a.m. in the lobby of the de Zavala State Library and Archives Building. They will be presented Certificates of Merit and awarded one day of administrative leave.
Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is pleased to announce the selection of Glenn Fonseca of its Talking Book Program and Holly Gordon, Information Resources Technologies Division, as Employees of the Quarter for the second quarter, fiscal year 2000.
Glenn Fonseca is a half-time circulation clerk at the State Library's Shoal Creek facility where he consistently excels in his responsibilities of filling requested orders of large-print and Braille books for patrons who, because of a visual, physical, or learning disability, are unable to read standard print material.
In addition to his regular duties, Fonseca single-handedly arranged a massive recycling program of cardboard waste from a culling and reorganzing project of the Talking Book Program's flexible disc collection. He contacted many recycling companies and was finally successful in making arrangements with an organization that picked up and recycled the cardboard waste (which filled over 36 large mail hampers). Fonseca coordinated volunteers as well as storage and pick-up of the cardboard, and his efforts have greatly aided the community and the agency.
Holly Gordon, a programmer analyst for the agency, is cited for her leadership in the conversion to a new library application for the Library Catalog of Texas State Agencies. Gordon, who started with the State Library in 1992, has been instrumental in the upkeep of the catalog and assisted in the creation of the agency's first integrated library system. As coordinator of the recent application conversion, Gordon developed the contracts, scheduled demonstrations, evaluated the hardware configurations, and prepared final cost figures. Serving also as contact person for the catalog's users, Gordon's excellent customer service skills and her expertise, diligence, and dedication to the project have helped to facilitate a smooth conversion to the new application with minimum disruption to the users of the library catalog.
Fonseca and Gordon were recognized at the Quarterly Awards Ceremony on March 9 in the lobby of the de Zavala Building where they were presented a Certificate of Merit and awarded eight hours of administrative leave.
Austin-The Texas State Library and Archives Commission announces the retirement of Charles W. (Charlie) Brown, director of the Information Resources Technologies division on February 29, 2000.
Brown joined the agency in 1989, before the organization had automated services or a computer network. He spearheaded the development of many technological advances within the Texas State Library and Archives Commission that greatly improved efficiency in both service and internal functions.
Brown led the establishment of desktop computing services in the agency. He also initiated the creation of a Local Area Network (LAN), which now has over 400 nodes. He managed the acquisition of the Integrated Library System (ILS) and the development of the Texas State Electronic Library (TSEL), as well as many other technology-based innovations.
Prior to his tenure at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Brown served in the United States Air Force from 1958 to 1987. He was a decorated pilot and retired as Colonel, USAF.
Brown's leadership positioned the agency for its move into the technology of the 21st century, and his expertise and dedication will be missed. In its January 31 meeting, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission signed a resolution commending him for his service, and is pleased to have had the association of Charlie Brown with the agency for ten years.
Austin - Read any good books lately? The State Library's Reference/Documents reading room now has titles by the 1999 Texas Book Festival authors to check out. Since its inception in 1996, the Texas Book Festival has been donating the proceeds of its income to public libraries-nearly $900,000 so far, including funds from the 1999 Festival which will be presented to winning public libraries this coming April. Now it has donated a collection of 170 books to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission for general circulation. The majority are signed by each author who spoke at the State Capitol November 6-7, 1999. An estimated 25,000 people attended the talks and book fair on Colorado Street next to the Capitol grounds.
The varied collection includes works of fiction (Octavia Butler's Wild Seed, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's Sister of My Heart and The Mistress of Spices, Scott Turow's Personal Injuries); biographies (John Taliaferro's Tarzan Forever, Gregg Cantrell's Stephen F. Austin); Hispanic books (Edward James Olmos's Americanos, Sergio Troncoso's The Last Tortilla & Other Stories, Ana Castillo's Peel Me Like an Onion, Carmen Lomas Garza's Magic Windows); children's books (John Bemelmans Marciano's Madeline in America, Keith Graves's Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance, Anna Pearl Barrett's Juneteenth); a historical romance set in Texas (Geralyn Dawson's The Kissing Stars); poetry (Kathleen Peirce's The Oval Hour, Nicole Pollentier Smolt); Texas cookbooks (Grady Spears' Cowboy in the Kitchen, Jeff Blank's Cooking Fearlessly); a book on Texas birds (Suzanne Winckler Great Birds of Texas); and many others by the 137 authors attending the Festival.
The Texas Book Festival has donated funds to over 230 public libraries to enhance book collections and reading programs for Texans. A $2,500 Festival grant quite often more than doubles the annual materials budgets of many libraries. Texas First Lady Laura Bush is honorary chair, and Mary Margaret Farabee of Austin heads the Festival committees. The 2000 Texas Book Festival is scheduled for Nov. 10-12 at the Capitol. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission offers library, archives, and records services to the people of Texas. Its main offices are in the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building, 1201 Brazos St., just east of the Capitol.
The Texas Book Festival books can be checked out from the Reference/Documents Collection in Room 300.
[Texas state and local government employees, employees of other libraries, and faculty and students of library science can register in person, by phone, FAX, mail or sending an e-mail to our Reference Desk with the following information: home and work/school addresses, phone numbers and a driver's license number or date of birth. Other Texas residents (16 or older) must register in person with photo identification.]
rural Texas Austin - For the fourth year, Texas public libraries will benefit from funds raised by the Texas Book Festival. A total of $300,000 from the profits of the 1999 Festival will be given in the form of awards of up to $2,500 per library. This donation brings the total given to public libraries to almost $900,000.
Established in 1996 under the leadership of Texas First Lady Laura Bush as a "celebration of words, reading, and published works," the Texas Book Festival is the only one of its kind in the nation that generates funds designated for public libraries. The purpose of the donation is "to put a book in the middle of the family circle," according to Mrs. Bush. Since 1996, 230 libraries have received almost $600,000 to purchase books and enrich reading and cultural resources in their communities.
The Texas Library Association coordinates the awards process, which is open to all legally established public libraries recognized by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Applications for the awards have been mailed, and the deadline for entries is January 28, 2000. Preference will be given to successful applicants who have not previously received Texas Book Festival Awards. Recipients of this year's awards will be recognized April 13 at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference in Houston in a presentation by Mrs. Bush. For further information on public library award application forms, please call the Texas Library Association at 512-328-1518.
The 1999 Texas Book Festival hosted readings and panel discussions by 137 authors at the State Capitol in Austin November 6-7, along with a book fair and vendors' booths adjacent to the Capitol. Pulitzer Prize-winning and Academy Award-winning writer Horton Foote from Wharton, Texas, was honored with the annual Texas Book Festival Bookend Award for lifetime achievement in literature for his body of work which includes the screenplays To Kill A Mockingbird and Tender Mercies. Other fundraising events included a tasting event with food prepared by cookbook authors, an authors party and Texas swing band dance, a silent auction, and the First Edition Literary Gala with author Larry L. King as emcee. Featured speakers at the gala were authors Roy Blount, Jr. (Be Sweet), Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Sister of My Heart), and Peter Matthiessen (The Tiger in the Snow and Bone by Bone). Guests were treated to a surprise reading by Texas Governor George W. Bush from his memoir Taking Charge.
The fifth annual Texas Book Festival is scheduled for November 10-12, 2000 at the State Capitol. For more information, contact the Texas Book Festival at 512-477-4055.