2002 News Releases

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December 12, 2002
Texas State Library selects Himmel & Wilson to conduct extensive statewide public library development study

Highly inclusive study will involve public library stakeholders in all corners of the state to plan for the future of Texas public library development

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission announces the selection of Himmel & Wilson Library Consultants to conduct a statewide public library development study in Texas. The consultants expect to present final study recommendations to the Commission in Jul. 2003.

The consultant team will study the Texas State Library programs offered to Texas public libraries. The team will focus on strategies for furthering positive library development in Texas and mechanisms for that development. In addition, the team will suggest ways of maximizing current funding sources. The study results and recommendations will be the centerpiece of open dialogue between the Texas State Library and its constituents regarding future state library programming and library development.

Himmel & Wilson proposed an ambitious, highly inclusive study involving public library stakeholders throughout Texas in a variety of mechanisms, including interviews, focus groups, library site visits and town hall meetings, among others. A steering committee representing the Texas public library community will provide guidance and support to the consultant team.

The consultant team consists of seven members with a combined 200 years of library experience. The Texas State Library selected Himmel & Wilson based on the merits of their study proposal and the firm's considerable amount of statewide planning experience. During the past five years, the firm has completed major statewide planning contracts in fifteen states.

State librarian Peggy D. Rudd said, "This extensive study is very exciting to us at the Texas State Library. We'll use the study results as the basis for future planning. The scope of this study is a challenge, but we're very pleased with the credentials of Himmel & Wilson. I am convinced their team of accomplished library professionals will thoroughly evaluate the public library landscape in Texas and make sound recommendations for the future."

The five-part study begins with the first meeting between the steering committee, Texas State Library staff and the consultant team, Dec. 13, in Austin.

Contact the Public Information Office

Learn more about the study
Are you a library director, library friend, or library trustee? Voice your opinions at one of 21 focus groups coming to a city near you!

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December 2, 2002
New Web site "Votes for Women!" portrays how Texas women got the vote

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is proud to announce the launching of "Votes for Women!," a digital exhibition using historical photographs and research collections from the Texas state archives. The exhibit (www.tsl.texas.gov/exhibits/suffrage/) paints a colorful picture of the subjects and events that led to women winning the vote in Texas, from the first stirrings of a women's rights movement in the 1830s to the final winning of the vote in 1919.

"Texans are passionate about Texas history," says Digital Imaging Specialist Liz Clare, who coordinated the new exhibit. "But for a number of reasons, the story of the women's suffrage movement has been all but lost.

"For example, you could stop a dozen people on the street and ask them who Minnie Fisher Cunningham was, and not one could tell you that she led the women's suffrage movement in Texas, fought the Ku Klux Klan, and later ran for the Senate and the governorship. This woman was a giant of Texas history, and "Votes for Women!" tells her story."

When creating the exhibit, Clare strove to accurately portray the political and socio-economic climate of the times. Visitors to the site will learn about the anti-suffrage movement in Texas as well, because as Clare notes, "Without understanding who was opposed to suffrage and why, you can't really understand what the final victory meant." The exhibit does not neglect the stories of African American and Tejano women, whose quest for civil rights continued for decades after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment that made women's suffrage the law of the land.

The exhibit was designed to be entertaining and easy to read, and includes images from diaries and letters of Texas women, political cartoons, government documents, photographs and postcards.

State Archivist Chris LaPlante says, "This exhibit appeals to a variety of people who want to learn about a little-known aspect of Texas history. Many women were involved in this movement, and their activism touched so many areas. The exhibit truly places these women and the suffrage movement in the context of Texas history, and on every page it is possible to learn something new and unexpected. We're very pleased and proud to make this exhibit available."

"Votes for Women!" furthers an initiative of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to make the historical treasures of Texas more accessible. This newest online exhibit joins four other Texas history exhibits on the state library's Web site.

Visit "Votes for Women!"
View all state library exhibits

Contact the Public Information Office

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October 7, 2002
Author Dan Murph, Texas State Library to dedicate historical marker for Price Daniel, in Liberty

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October 5, 2002
Senator Chris Harris and Texas State Library to formally present $60,853 grant to Arlington Public Library

Arlington - Senator Chris Harris and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission will formally present a $60,853 grant to Mayor Elzie Odom and the Arlington Public Library on Oct. 8, 2002, at 6:30 p.m. at the Arlington City Hall. The public and media are invited to attend.

Arlington Public Library received $30,888 in grant funding last year and will receive an additional $29,965 this fall as part of a new state program. Senator Chris Harris, Texas State Library Commissioner Elizabeth A. Sanders and State Librarian Peggy D. Rudd hope to focus attention on the wealth of resources Arlington Public Library provides its residents.

"Our Texas libraries help open the door to education, opportunity, and adventure," said Senator Harris. "The state has made a vital and worthwhile commitment to support our libraries, and the Loan Star Libraries program has improved the services of the Arlington Public Library so that more Texas citizens can reap the benefits of a strong public library."

Notes Texas State Library commissioner and Arlington resident Elizabeth A. Sanders, "Good public libraries improve the quality of life in a community, and the goal of Loan Star Libraries is to make every Texas library a good one." With its first year of funding, Arlington improved and expanded its services, including purchasing additional ESL, GED, and Large Print materials to meet the needs of its community. Library Director Rick Smith expressed his appreciation, saying, "Thanks to Loan Star Libraries, we had the opportunity to expand our collections last year and we look forward to providing professional development opportunities for our staff and technology enhancements in FY 2003!"

The grants are made possible through a statewide program of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Loan Star Libraries. The 77th Texas Legislature funded the program, and with the distribution of grants this fall, almost $6 million will have been given to Texas libraries in just two years.

Learn more about Loan Star Libraries
Contact the Public Information Office

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October 1, 2002
Texas State Library announces grant awards to Texas public libraries totaling $2.9 million

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission announces $2.9 million in grant awards to Texas public libraries. Five hundred twenty-five libraries will receive funds this fall in the second year of a new program, Loan Star Libraries.

With the distribution of Loan Star Libraries grants this fall, the state has infused the public library community with a total of $5.8 million in just two years, funding that public libraries have desperately needed. Notes State Librarian Peggy D. Rudd, "Texas was the largest of only six remaining states that didn't provide some form of direct state aid to libraries."

According to Rudd, local governments already provide 95% of a library's funding. In a time of lean city budgets and deep cuts in city services, Loan Star Libraries is a real goldmine. "Libraries are a cornerstone of our culture. When 9/11 happened, people flocked to their public libraries for information," says Rudd. "Libraries have been there when we needed them, but now they need us. State funding for libraries, such as the Loan Star Libraries program, helps local community libraries be the information-packed resources, as citizens, we expect them to be."

With only a few exceptions, libraries receiving grant awards will have complete control over how they spend their funds. Funds from the program enable libraries to expand existing programs and collections and implement new services to meet the unique needs of their communities.

One goal of the program is to increase library access for all Texans, no matter where they live. Loan Star Libraries encourages libraries to open their collections free-of-charge to those outside their legal service areas by offering incentives to remove these barriers. Although Texas has 546 public libraries, roughly seven percent of Texans still do not have access to a public library and must pay a fee to use a neighboring library. Eligible libraries who do not charge non-resident fees or who eliminate their fees receive a higher level of funding from Loan Star Libraries. This year, 412 of the 525 libraries (78.5%) allow any Texan to access their collections free-of-charge, and hence will receive the highest level of grant funding.

This year, grant awards range from $44 to $302,281, based on each library's local operating expenditures and its provision for statewide access. Rudd expects to distribute the grant checks later this fall. She notes, "Libraries are a basic freedom we tend to take for granted. They provide a tremendous return on investment to communities lucky enough to have one. This funding is critical so that our libraries can continue to provide the wealth of resources Texans need."

View the full list of grant awards
Learn more about the Loan Star Libraries program

Contact the Public Information Office

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October 1, 2002
Texas State Library partners with Administration for Children and Families and the Texas Head Start Association to improve early childhood education

Texas public libraries and Head Start Centers a natural partnership

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the Administration for Children and Families and the Texas Head Start Association formalized an agreement to support the growth of partnerships between Texas Head Start Centers and Texas public libraries. The goal of the initiative is to integrate books and other library resources and services into the day-to-day learning experiences of Head Start children and their families.

"There is a natural partnership between public libraries and Head Start Centers-both are vitally concerned with the education and well-being of young children," notes Peggy D. Rudd, Texas state librarian. "We encourage communities to develop these partnerships across the state."

According to Rudd, research shows that the first five years of life are key to a child's long-term development. Library/ Head Start partnerships within communities will provide opportunities for Head Start children and their families to learn how to access services and community resources provided by local libraries.

Christine McNew, youth services consultant for the Texas State Library, stated, "This collaboration really supports the national education goal that all children will come to school ready to learn." Every public library and Head Start Center in Texas recently received resources to help them implement a local agreement. Learn more about the partnership here.

Contact the Public Information Office

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September 19, 2002
Talking Book Week activities Sep. 22-28, 2002, hit Texas

Austin – Texas State Library and Archives Commission is pleased to announce more than 60 events and exhibits are taking place throughout the state during Talking Book Week Sep. 22-28, 2002. From the Panhandle to Laredo, from far West Texas to Houston, volunteers are working to find individuals with physical, visual and learning disabilities that are unable to read standard print and may qualify for the Talking Book Program. This free service provides both books and magazines on tape, in large print and braille in both English and Spanish. Large print musical scores are also available. More than 70 magazines are available including: Texas Monthly, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated for Kids. Each year more than 20,000 Texans use the program.

Roxanne Elder, public awareness coordinator for the Talking Book Program, noted, “We are serving less than 10% of eligible Texans, but we estimate that approximately 300,000 Texans with physical, visual and learning disabilities may be eligible for this free service. We want them to know that their local public librarian can assist them in getting enrolled.”

Highlights of events and activities include:

  • Groesbeck volunteers will tour local nursing homes with promotional materials.
  • The University of Houston Center for Sight Enhancement and Vision Rehabilitation will demonstrate the program and promote its use to eligible patients during daily eye clinics.
  • The Texas Medical Association in Austin is encouraging thousands of their physician members to “prescribe” the program to eligible patients.
  • Burleson Elementary in Odessa will offer a disability awareness curriculum for all 2nd-6th graders.
  • The Granbury county librarian will work with all the local eye doctors to promote the program.
  • The Laredo Public Library, its three branches and bookmobile will do outreach to its patrons, with an emphasis on their Spanish-speaking community.
  • Many other events are planned throughout the state. For a complete list of activities and library contacts, visit www.TexasTalkingBooks.org/events2002.html.

Roxanne Elder will conduct a Talking Book workshop at the Region One Educational Service Center’s Media Fair in Edinburg on September 27. September 27 and 28, Erica McKewen of the Texas State Library will be in Dallas at the Texas Association of School Boards state conference encouraging educators to get their eligible students enrolled in the program.

All 538 public libraries in Texas have Talking Book Program materials and are ready to assist members of their communities who have physical, visual, or learning disabilities. More information and applications may be downloaded at: www.TexasTalkingBooks.org or by calling 1.800.252.9605.
 

Talking Book Program Qualifications at a glance:

  • Individuals qualify if they:

    1. Have prescription glasses, yet are unable to read standard print material without additional magnification devices
    2. Have physical limitations that prevent them from holding books or turning pages or if they are unable to do this for an extended period of time.
    3. Are legally blind.
    4. Have reading disabilities due to an organic dysfunction.
    5. Severe chemical allergies that prevent someone from reading a book.
  • Remember: you may qualify with a temporary disability. We have patrons recovering strokes, challenged with severe fatigue due to illness, in hospice, recovering from severe accidents, etc. As long as they currently meet one of the qualifying disabilities they can be enrolled with a temporary disability.
  • Download applications (in English and Spanish) at www.TexasTalkingBooks.org. A public librarian may certify visual and physical disabilities. You will need a medical doctor to certify learning disabilities.

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August 7, 2002
Texas State Library announces availability of new genealogy resource for Texans, HeritageQuest Online

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is pleased to announce a new genealogy resource available to all Texans free of charge at their local libraries, homes and offices. HeritageQuest Online, a database of census data, family records and local histories, has been added to the menu of TexShare Databases and is available online.

Notes State Librarian Peggy D. Rudd, "We have an impressive collection of genealogical materials here at the State Library and Archives. The addition of this online resource not only strengthens the collection we offer in Austin, but also allows genealogists throughout the state to do extensive research from their home computers. Texas genealogists have been waiting anxiously for this resource, and we're thrilled to be able to offer it."

HeritageQuest Online offers U.S. federal census images for 1790, 1810, 1840, and 1870. Users can search all census images (except 1840, where indexing by name is forthcoming), as well as browse the records by state, county, and locality. In addition, the database contains some 18,000 family and local histories. During the coming year, HeritageQuest will incorporate additional genealogical information, including obituaries from 150 newspapers, Freedman's Bank Records (an African-American resource), and Revolutionary War Pension Files.

"HeritageQuest Online provides a simple way for genealogists to pinpoint information from an impressive and varied array of resources," said Jeff Moyer, vice president of publishing at ProQuest Information and Learning.

The Texas State Library subscribed to HeritageQuest Online as an addition to the TexShare Database program. The program, funded through a grant from the Texas Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund Board, provides Texans a collection of more than 60 databases available through participating local academic, clinical medicine, and public libraries. After receiving a logon and password, patrons can access the resources from any Internet-connected computer. For information about accessing the TexShare Databases, including HeritageQuest Online, contact your local library, or contact the Texas State Library and Archives Commission at texshare@tsl.texas.gov or (512) 463-7610. View the list of Texas libraries that participate in the TexShare Database Program. Due to licensing agreements with the vendors, database access is restricted to residents of the state of Texas.

Go directly to the TexShare Databases

Learn more about TexShare

Contact the Public Information Office

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August 2, 2002
New TexShare Database "Customized Gateway" Program receives 50th library participant

Austin - The Texas State Library reaches a milestone in its efforts to make the TexShare Databases more easily accessible to Texas library patrons.

The new "Customized Gateway" program launched in mid-May has received its 50th participant, the Downs-Jones Library of Huston-Tillotson College. Soon, patrons of this library will type in their customized Web address and, along with a login and password, access the comprehensive menu of 60 databases available through the TexShare Program. In addition, the library's page is personalized, with the library's name, address, and a direct e-mail link to its reference staff included.

"Customized Gateways" is a service TexShare offers to fulfill the needs of small- and medium-sized libraries that want to provide their patrons with access to the TexShare Databases from their homes or offices, as well as from workstations inside the library. These libraries are also able to track the usage statistics for these gateway pages.

For some libraries, such as Schulenburg Public Library, the Customized Gateway is the only Web page they have on the Internet. "This page provides our library with a Web presence," said Cindi Lytle, Head Librarian of Schulenburg Public Library. "It also lets our patrons know about an extra service that our library provides."

Patrons must use a special login and password to access the databases outside the library because TexShare's licenses with the eight database vendors - such as EBSCO, GaleGroup, and Grolier - permit use by resident patrons of Texas libraries, but not to those living out of the state or out of the country. Most academic libraries and many of the larger public libraries are able to "authenticate" their patrons by having them key in their library card numbers, but many libraries in Texas don't have the technology or expertise to do this on their own.

"Because of the need to authenticate patrons, making these resources available requires more than just adding links to a library's Web site," explained Jay Velgos, technical operations specialist, Texas State Library. "We saw a real need to help these libraries extend these services to their patrons."

All that's required for a library to sign up for a Custom Gateway is for them to fill out a short form and agree to provide support or reference help to their own patrons using the TexShare Databases. Libraries interested in signing up for a Customized Gateway page should contact the technology consultant at their Library System office or the TexShare Program office for information.

Learn more about TexShare

Contact the Public Information Office

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August 2, 2002
Governor Rick Perry appoints two to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Austin - Governor Rick Perry has appointed Diana Rae Hester Cox of Canyon and Sandra G. Holland of Pleasanton to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Both individuals have terms which expire Sep. 28, 2007.

Diana Cox is a retired professor of English at Amarillo College. She serves as vice president for membership on the board of directors for the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum Auxiliary. She is second vice president and program chair of Canyon Retired Teachers and the past president of the Texas College English Association. Cox formerly served as president of the Conference of College Teachers of English and the American Association for Women in Community Colleges. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Association. Cox received a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin and two master's degrees from West Texas A&M University.

Sandra Holland is the owner of a home-based secretarial service. She is a public secretary, freelance writer and home educator. Holland is a veteran and received two Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge awards for military and patriotic essays and the U.S. Fifth Army's Minaret Award for Public Affairs for writing a newspaper article on the military. Holland founded the Longhorn Museum Yesteryear Festival for children and served as festival director for seven years. She formerly managed local fundraisers for national health-related charities. She served as chair of the Atascosa County chapter of the American Red Cross, chair of the Atascosa Health Center Board of Directors and member, Atascosa County Historical Commission. Holland received a bachelor's degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Notes commission Chairman Sandra J. Pickett, "Ms. Cox and Ms. Holland bring many strengths to the commission, and we look forward to working together to continue the great strides in Texas library and archives services made possible through the work of the Texas State Library."

Cox and Holland succeed Chairman Carolyn Palmer of San Antonio and Vice Chair Sandy Melton of Dallas. Palmer served as commissioner for twelve years. She was chair from 1991-2002. As such, she oversaw and directed a great expansion of Texas State Library services, including the creation of the Library Resource Sharing Division and the development of the first-ever direct state funding program for public libraries, Loan Star Libraries. Melton served as commissioner since 1995 and as vice chair since 1999. Her contributions to the library community include serving on the Dallas Public Library Board of Trustees and as president of the Friends of the Dallas Public Library, Inc. She also served as commission liaison to the Friends of Libraries & Archives of Texas. Melton is the recipient of the 1998 Outstanding Service to Libraries Award from the Texas Library Association.

Pickett states, "Sandy Melton and Carolyn Palmer have made serious contributions to the growth and success of the Texas State Library, and I know the library community joins me in thanking them publicly for their service."

Related release: Sandra J. Pickett appointed chair of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Read more about the commission

Contact the Public Information Office

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July 10, 2002
Texas State Library lends assistance to flood-stricken cities, offers guidance on disaster recovery of government documents

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has mobilized its records management staff to help state and local governments dealing with document losses caused by the recent flooding.

Government Information Analysts of the State and Local Records Management Division have joined Federal Emergency Management Agency workers in San Antonio and other hard-hit communities to begin the process of recovering vital and historical records that were placed at risk by the floodwaters. A task force is available by phone from the Austin office (512-452-9242) to advise and consult with those in the stricken areas.

"It is important to move carefully with full regard to safety of people," said Peggy Rudd, Director of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, "But it is also vital to move quickly to recover valuable government records, since mold can damage or destroy documents within 48 hours of initial damage."

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission recommends the following steps to recover records and documents damaged in the floodwaters:

1. Perform a thorough inspection before allowing recovery workers in to begin their duties.

2. Identify vital or essential records.
Save these records first! Recovery workers must be skilled in "document triage." Which records are most critical to the people of the State of Texas? Your community? Your county? Your city? Recover those records that are necessary to conduct business operations and protect the legal interests of the government or its constituents.

3. Determine available resources and use them.
Do you have electrical power available so that you can freeze documents as part of the preservation process? If not, contact a local business or vendor with a large freezer or meat locker and freeze documents there.

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has posted document recovery information on its Web site. Go to the document recovery information. The agency can email, fax, phone or use any other available mode of communication to assist local governments dealing with disaster recovery of government records. In addition, libraries that have wet, damaged books due to the floods may call the State Library's Library Development Division at 512-463-5465 for referral assistance.

Go to the State and Local Records Management Division's document recovery information

Contact the Public Information Office

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June 12, 2002
Sandra J. Pickett appointed chair of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Austin - Governor Rick Perry has appointed Sandra J. Pickett chair of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Pickett has served as a member of the commission since 1995 and has chaired the commission's Audit Committee.

State Librarian Peggy D. Rudd notes, "Mrs. Pickett has been a stalwart supporter and advocate for Texas libraries and archives. In her role as commissioner, she has actively worked with State Library staff, the Texas Library Association, elected officials, librarians and citizens across the state to improve library services for Texans. Her advocacy on behalf of the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center has been diligent. Her leadership of the commission will serve all of Texas well."

Pickett has been active in a wide range of local and state government roles ranging from environmental to history and library activities. She served on the Liberty City Council for 24 years and held state and national offices in councils of government and municipal leagues. She was an organizing member of a local environmental group and advisor to several state agencies effecting statewide changes in environmental regulations.

Pickett has chaired the Liberty County Historical Commission and is currently President of the Atascosito Historical Society. She serves as Vice President of Development for Preservation Texas and is a member of several non-profit boards.

A native of Alvin, Texas, Pickett is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston. She is married to attorney Ed Pickett and has made her home in Liberty for 38 years.

Pickett succeeds Carolyn Palmer of San Antonio as chair of the commission. Palmer served the commission from 1989 to 2002, and chaired the commission from 1991 to 2002. Her commission term expired Sep. 2001. Palmer was formally thanked by the commission for her leadership and stewardship of the agency with a resolution passed Sep. 17, 2001.

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June 11, 2002
Texas State Library receives $200,850 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission received a $200,850 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fund a technology training program for Texas public library staff serving rural communities. Staff in libraries serving populations of 25,000 or less will be targeted to participate in a basic-level technology training program spanning the next 12 months. Small community libraries constitute the majority of the state's public libraries.

"There is an ongoing need for basic technology training for staff of rural libraries," said Continuing Education Manager Belinda Boon, who coordinated Texas' grant application. "Small community libraries, in particular, are becoming community learning centers. These libraries often are the only places in town where the public can access the Internet and other technology resources free-of-charge. Many patrons in these communities depend on the library for computer training."

The Texas State Library will contract to deliver the training in computer labs and training centers located throughout Texas, minimizing travel costs for participants. Topics will include Office Productivity Skills, LAN and Network Administration, Web Publishing and Technology Issues. In addition, participants will learn teaching skills so other library staff and patrons will benefit from the training as well.

The State Library will target the training to at least one library staff member per each of 332 small community libraries in Texas. Additionally, the training will be offered to 57 medium-sized libraries, the staff of which could also greatly benefit from the training program. Four hundred people are expected to participate in the yearlong program, representing up to 65 percent of Texas' public libraries.

Libraries in Texas received 1,500 computers and an initial round of training as a result of a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The libraries have received technical support from the foundation since that time. This new training grant is the final component of the foundation's library program and will build on the training already received by the library staff.

"Library staff are vital in helping library patrons navigate the new world of digital information. It's critical to give these staff the training they need to continue, and even enhance, their library's public access computing services," said Richard Akeroyd, executive director of the foundation's library program.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to improving access to digital information for everyone regardless of age, race, gender or geographic location. Its U.S. Library Program provides grants to public libraries to improve access to computers, the Internet and digital information for patrons in low-income communities.

Contact the Public Information Office

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June 10, 2002
Discover the legacy of Juneteenth

Austin - The new Web exhibit of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the State Preservation Board, Forever Free, tells the inspiring story of the 52 African-American men who served Texas as elected officials in the 19th century. Many of these men had been slaves with no civil or legal rights until "Juneteenth," Jun. 19, 1865, and they did not receive the right to vote until 1870.

Forever Free was originally produced by the State Preservation Board as a physical exhibit on display for a year at the Capitol and the Capitol Visitor's Center. Thousands of visitors learned the political history of African Americans from the end of slavery until the 1890s, when "Jim Crow" laws signified the end of an era.

In the past, exhibits like these could only touch those lucky enough to visit the Texas State Capitol while they were on display. But now, the State Preservation Board and the Texas State Library have collaborated to mount Forever Free on the Web so that it will be permanently accessible.

African-American representation flourished in Texas government during Reconstruction, with 36 men serving in the 1870s. Forever Free debunks the old "Gone With the Wind" myths, revealing the reality of active and respected legislators who fought for their constituents on issues such as protection from violence, voting rights, education, frontier defense, the rights of laborers, economics, railroad matters, and the founding of both Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M universities.

Despite these successes, the story told in the exhibit is ultimately a tragic one of freedoms won and then lost to violence and discrimination. The Ku Klux Klan used burning and intimidation to keep blacks from the polls, even killing Representative Goldstein Dupree of Montgomery. Senator Matthew Gaines was arrested in Giddings for making a speech in which he declared that "in the eyes of God, blacks were as good as whites." The wife of another senator was thrown off a moving train for refusing to leave the whites-only car. The last African-American legislator in the 19th century left office in 1897. It would be 1966 before African Americans once again took their places in the Texas Legislature.

One of the most fascinating areas of the new exhibit is the photographs, according to Texas State Library Digital Imaging Specialist Liz Clare. Notes Clare, "The old state capitol burned down in 1881 and most of the photographs of these men were lost. The State Preservation Board did amazing detective work and was able to find images for 34 of these men. In many cases, these may be the only photographs that exist for these people. We still have 18 legislators with no image of what they looked like. In addition, for some of these men, we have scarcely any facts about their lives and careers. We would love it if this exhibit reached the descendants of these Texas heroes and they could share a photograph, painting, or more information."

State Archivist Chris LaPlante comments, "We're pleased to have been able to work with the Preservation Board to make this wonderful exhibit available on the Web. It truly uncovers a chapter of Texas history that will widen the horizons of everyone who takes the time to visit and learn about these legislators and their achievements."

Visit Forever Free
Visit additional online history exhibits

Contact the Public Information Office

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May 23, 2002
Texas Reading Club 2002 arrives in Texas libraries June 3rd

Austin - Governor Rick Perry has proclaimed Jun. 3, 2002, "Texas Reading Club Day," the official kick off for the Texas Reading Club 2002, "Read Across Texas!". More than 425,000 children are expected to practice their reading skills and participate in a variety of free programs at their local public libraries throughout the summer.

A partnership between the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and Texas libraries, the Texas Reading Club is a summer reading program that encourages children and their families to become library users and lifelong readers. This year's theme, "Read Across Texas!," invites children to explore the culture, history, and geography of Texas through the portal of books and their local libraries.

Director and Librarian Peggy D. Rudd notes, "Research has shown that children maintain or improve their reading skills if they participate in some kind of summer reading program. That's what makes the Texas Reading Club so important. The interactive programs offered at the local level stimulate kids mentally, physically and culturally, while fostering a lifelong love of books and reading."

Almost 700 Texas libraries are hosting creative summer reading programs for their communities using the "Read Across Texas!" theme. Local libraries bring the theme to life with special storytimes for all ages, reading incentives and prizes donated by local businesses, reading certificates, special speakers and programs, and prize drawings. Artwork for this year's program was created by noted illustrator and artist James Warhola.

New this year, Singer/Songwriter Willy Welch composed the official Texas Reading Club 2002 theme song, "Reading Across Texas." The playful song will be used by librarians in their programs this summer. The song is recorded on Welch's CD Won't Eat That! Snappy Tunes for Kids of All Ages, � 2001 (ASCAP), Playing Right Music, Dallas, Texas. Listen to the song on the State Library's Web site, http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/trc/2002/manual/intro/themesongs.html.

The Texas Reading Club often brings the whole community together. The local schools begin promoting the program through announcements and posters before the school year ends. Local businesses donate money or in-kind gifts for use during the program. Speakers from local businesses and organizations such as the police department, hospitals and veterinary offices volunteer to host educational programs at the library. Library volunteers and Friends of the Library groups help plan special events such as hot air balloon demonstrations, community-wide picnics, and magic shows. The Texas Reading Club focuses entire communities on a common goal: to foster the love of reading and books in children.

Particularly in smaller communities, where there may be few free or inexpensive activities available for families, the Texas Reading Club provides an array of free educational and fun activities for the duration of the summer. In addition, children practice their reading skills so they begin school again prepared for success. As a public librarian noted, "Teachers tell us that children who join the reading club do better with maintaining and improving their reading skills over the summer."

Go to the Texas Reading Club Web site
Selected Texas Reading Club events in Texas libraries

Contact the Public Information Office

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March 25, 2002
Texas State Librarian traverses the state to distribute $2.9 million in grants

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is awarding $2.9 million in grants to 517 Texas public libraries this spring. During March through May, state legislators, State Library commissioners and State Librarian Peggy D. Rudd will visit several libraries in all corners of Texas to formally present grant checks. The grants are made possible through a new state program, Loan Star Libraries, funded by the 77th Texas Legislature.

The first stop will be Houston City Hall on Mar. 26, where Senator Rodney Ellis will present a $334,320 check to Mayor Lee P. Brown and Library Director Barbara A.B. Gubbin. Houston Public Library is receiving the largest Loan Star Libraries grant this year. State Library Commissioner Sandra Pickett, who will be present during the Houston ceremony, noted, "This funding is really a testament to the state's commitment to its public libraries and their value to Texas communities."

The Loan Star Libraries grants will accomplish a variety of exciting initiatives in Texas communities. Local libraries can use the grant to pay for any operating expenditure, making even the smallest grant reap big rewards within the community. Alpine Public Library, for example, plans to use its $2,172 grant to extend its hours of operation so more Alpine residents can access the library's services.

Notes State Librarian Peggy D. Rudd, "Across the board, libraries are using Loan Star Libraries funding, regardless of amount, to make a difference within their communities. It has been invigorating to read each library's plans."

According to Rudd, Texas libraries have been in a funding crisis, as an ever-increasing information flow and issues such as the Digital Divide put more demand on libraries' services. "Texas libraries are dynamite resources, but we must continue to support their growth and development to meet constantly changing information needs," Rudd says. "Loan Star Libraries is a great step in making Texas libraries the best they can be."

Media welcome at the following public events--please check back here soon for additional events

Mar. 26, 2002, 1:30 p.m.: Senator Rodney Ellis will present a $334,120 grant check to Houston Mayor Lee P. Brown and the Houston City Council, Houston City Council Chamber, 900 Bagby. Contact: Andrea Lapsley, 832-393-1386

Apr. 4, 2002, 2:00 p.m.: Senator Judith Zaffirini will present a grant check to Laredo city officials and Library Director Janice Weber, Laredo Public Library, 1120 E. Calton Road. Contact: Janice Weber, 956-795-2400. Reception to follow.

Apr. 16, 2002, 10:00 a.m.: Representative Pete Gallego will present a grant check to Alpine Public Library Director Susan Curry, Alpine Public Library, 203 N. 7th Street. Contact: Susan Curry, 915-837-2621. Reception to follow.

View the list of 517 grantees and their awards
Learn more about Loan Star Libraries

Contact the Public Information Office

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March 14, 2002
Talking Book Program goes to El Paso, Mar. 25-28, 2002
Seeking 9000 local people who may qualify for free program

Austin - The Talking Book Program of Texas is looking for people in El Paso with physical, visual and learning disabilities who may qualify for their free services. The Talking Book Program provides free library services to Texans who are unable to read standard print. The service provides both books and magazines on tape, in large print and Braille in both English and Spanish. Large print musical scores are also available. The program is a service of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Library of Congress. Each year over 25,000 Texans use the program.

Talking Book Program staff members will travel from Austin to El Paso the week of Mar. 25-28, 2002, for meetings with local educators, business and community leaders in order to promote this life-enriching service. Roxanne Elder, public awareness coordinator for the Talking Book Program, explained their visit to the area by noting, "Based on national statistics we believe that there are over 9,000 people in the El Paso region that could qualify for the Talking Book Program. Many people have a friend or family member who might be eligible." The Talking Book Program is currently serving 478 individuals in El Paso. More information may be obtained on their Web site: www.TexasTalkingBooks.org or by calling 800-252-9605.

El Paso resident and Texas State Library commissioner Kenneth Carr, and the Talking Book Program staff will be available for media interviews in El Paso from 2 p.m. on Monday, Mar. 25 through 5 p.m. on Thursday, Mar. 28.

Media welcome at the following public events:

Tuesday, March 26, 2002 4-7 p.m. Location: Lower Valley Library, 7915 San Jose Road, El Paso, TX Contact at Library: Ellen Eyberg, Event: Talking Book Program educational outreach event to find eligible patrons for the Talking Book Program in El Paso. A 99 year old El Paso resident who is a current member of the Talking Book Program will be available for interviews and photos (call 512.463.5452 to schedule these interviews).

Thursday, March 28, 2002, 4-6 p.m. Location: Armijo Library, 620 E. 7th Ave., El Paso, TX Contact at Library: Veronica Myers Event: 4 p.m. Children's Story Hour: "Cindy's books talk and Juan reads with his fingers", an educational activity for children to raise awareness about people with disabilities who use Talking Books and read Braille. 4-6 p.m. Outreach event to find eligible patrons in El Paso for the Talking Book Program.

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February 15, 2002
What really happened during the battles for Texas' independence?

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission launches its third online exhibit The McArdle Notebooks, just in time to celebrate Texas Independence Day. The exhibit features the exhaustive first-hand research of artist Henry McArdle, who painted the enormous battle paintings Dawn at the Alamo and The Battle of San Jacinto hanging in the Texas Senate Chamber. Visitors to the exhibit can use the primary sources to be their own historians, deciding for themselves what really went on in the past.

Go to The McArdle Notebooks exhibit

McArdle was determined to reproduce as accurately as possible the persons, events, accoutrements, and settings of the two great events of the Texas Revolution--the fall of the Alamo and the Texan victory at San Jacinto. Between 1870 and 1900, McArdle corresponded with every living survivor of the battles he could locate, including El General himself, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. He walked the fields of San Jacinto with Ricardo de Zavala, son of the first vice-president of the Republic of Texas, Lorenzo de Zavala, and interviewed scores of veterans and their families. In 1929, the State Library acquired McArdle's research, which had been bound into two huge leather volumes, one for each painting.

This latest State Library online exhibit makes these now-fragile rarities available for scholars and the general public alike. The notebooks are presented in their entirety, fully navigable so users can explore the notebooks much as if they were sitting down with the actual volumes.

State Archivist Chris LaPlante noted, "The paintings, and these notebooks, are absolutely unique and extremely historically significant. This was a man who worked when many of the survivors and veterans of these events were still living. McArdle even corresponded with Santa Anna. We're very pleased to make the notebooks available online to students of history and art alike."

Go to The McArdle Notebooks exhibit
Visit our other online exhibits

Contact the Public Information Office

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January 11, 2002
Texas State Library announces grant awards to Texas public libraries totaling $2.9 million

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission announces $2.9 million in grant awards to Texas public libraries. Five hundred seventeen libraries will receive funds in spring 2002 as part of a new program, Loan Star Libraries. View the list of grantees and their awards

Loan Star Libraries is the first program of its kind in Texas. With only a few exceptions, libraries receiving awards will have complete control over how they spend their funds. Funds from the program will enable libraries to expand existing programs and collections and implement new services to meet the unique needs of their communities. The 77th Texas Legislature appropriated $2.9 million for the first year of the program.

According to Director and Librarian Peggy D. Rudd, the money couldn't come soon enough. "Texas was the largest of only six remaining states that don't provide some form of direct state aid to libraries. In fact, Texas ranks 47th in the country in state support per capita for libraries. Loan Star Libraries is an exciting first step in changing that."

One goal of the program is to increase library access for all Texans, no matter where they live. Loan Star Libraries encourages libraries to open their collections free-of-charge to those outside their legal service areas by offering incentives to remove these barriers. Although Texas has 548 public libraries, roughly seven percent of Texans still do not have access to a public library and must pay a fee to use a neighboring library. Eligible libraries who do not charge non-resident fees or who eliminate their fees receive a higher level of funding from Loan Star Libraries. FY2002 grant awards range from $47 to $334,320, based on each library's local operating expenditures and its provision for statewide access.

Rudd expects to roll out checks in spring 2002. She notes, "Texas libraries are doing a lot with what they have, and funds from Loan Star Libraries are going to make library services in Texas that much better. I can't wait to distribute the money."

View the list of 517 grantees and their awards
Learn more about Loan Star Libraries

Contact the Public Information Office

 

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