2004 News Releases

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09-08-04 - Texas State Library mounts new online database of Texas military records
09-08-04 - Texas State Library hosts free genealogy event, Thursday, Sep. 9, 2004
06-10-04 - Texas State Library to distribute $15,000 to Texas public libraries
02-17-04 - The Texas State Library Unveils the Library of Texas
02-09-04 - Two appointed to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission
 

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September 8, 2004
Texas State Library mounts new online database of Texas military records

Austin - Students, educators, scholars, genealogists, and community members have a new research tool available to learn more about those who served in Texas military organizations. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission now has an online searchable database of digitized items from its Adjutant General Service Records collection.

This free resource combines both official service record files from the Adjutant General's Office and alphabetical files created by other government agencies, which contain records related to an individual's service in a military unit. The records help researchers document an individual's service in fifteen different military organizations, from the Army and Navy of the Republic of Texas to Texas Rangers to frontier defense organizations. The records range over a one hundred year period, from the 1830s to the 1930s.

Eight of these series are now available in their entirety in digital format, and the work is ongoing. The database currently contains 17,000 images. The documents are varied. Some files contain only small strips of paper with one or two brief sentences. Others contain several lengthy, detailed records. Information can include measurements of uniforms, payments for mustering-in, warrants of authority, individual equipment records, general orders, oaths of allegiance, pay vouchers, powers of attorney, and discharge verifications.

State Archivist Chris LaPlante said, "Public demand for these primary source documents is very high, and we're very pleased to be able to offer genealogists and other researchers the ability to access these unique records from the Internet. Our commitment to serving the public through online access to our treasures is strong, and this project, joined with our previous Republic of Texas Claims database, is another indication of that."

Learn more about and search the Adjutant General Service Records database

Contact the Public Information Office
512-463-5514

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September 8, 2004
Texas State Library hosts free genealogy event, Thursday, Sep. 9, 2004
Library welcomes hundreds of genealogists from around the country attending the Federation of Genealogical Societies national conference

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission hosts a reception and lecture on Thursday, Sep. 9, 2004, to orient visitors to the genealogy resources available within their collections. The event is hosted in conjunction with the annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, taking place at the Austin Convention Center this week.

Genealogists from throughout the United States are in Austin this week to learn new techniques, methods and resources to help them fill in more of the blanks in their family's histories. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has an extensive collection of materials of interest to genealogists, including federal census records, Confederate Pension Applications and military records, county tax rolls, family histories, Texas Convict Record Ledgers and Indexes, and more.

Notes State Librarian Peggy D. Rudd, "It's very exciting to welcome so many genealogists to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Many of our resources are available from our Web site, so genealogists don't have to come to Austin to do their research. However, other resources here are both unique and rare, and we're pleased to help visitors get acquainted with our facility, our collection, and our knowledgeable staff."

The Genealogy collection of the state library will have extended hours, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., on Thursday, Sep. 9, 2004. State Librarian Rudd will be on hand to welcome visitors from across the nation. Staff will conduct three tours of the Genealogy department, at 4:00, 6:00, and 7:30 p.m. Senior Research Assistant Donaly Brice will deliver a presentation at 6:30 p.m. regarding the rich array of genealogical resources available within the Texas State Archives. The event is free and open to the public.

Learn more about the genealogy resources available at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Contact the Public Information Office
512-463-5514

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June 10, 2004
Texas State Library to distribute $15,000 to Texas public libraries
Libraries encouraged to submit grant proposals by Aug. 20, 2004

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission will distribute $15,000 to Texas public libraries from a new grant program, Texas Reads. State Librarian Peggy D. Rudd encourages all Texas public libraries to submit grant proposals by Aug. 20, 2004.

The emphasis of the grant program is supporting local initiatives that instill a love of reading and improve literacy within Texas communities. According to Rudd, illiteracy is a major concern in Texas. She notes, "According to the most recent statistics available, more than one-fifth of our adult population is illiterate. Many more are functionally illiterate. Our public libraries have been part of the solution, providing story hours, ESL and GED classes, tutoring and other programs for their communities' residents. Texas Reads grants will help libraries do even more to fight this problem."

The grant program is funded from proceeds of the sale of the Texas Reads special license plate offered by the Texas Department of Transportation. The plate costs $30 per year more than a standard license plate, and $22 of the fee goes directly into the grant fund for libraries.

"What makes this program so exciting is that libraries win twice, first when Texans buy the plate and advertise their support of reading and literacy, and again when grant funds come back to their communities," says Rudd.

Texas Reads Special License Plate Overview
How can I purchase my own Texas Reads plate?
Information for Libraries: Texas Reads Grant Guidelines and Application Deadline

Contact the Public Information Office
512-463-5514

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February 17, 2004
The Texas State Library unveils the Library of Texas
Users can search 100 Texas library catalogs in one search session from new Web-based state service

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is pleased to announce a new service, the Library of Texas. This Web-based service at LibraryofTexas.org allows users to discover and retrieve information from multiple library catalogs, research databases, and other knowledge collections in one simple search session. Texans no longer need to use a separate interface for each individual library or database. At present, the Library of Texas searches through the catalogs of 63 public libraries, 26 academic libraries, and 40 TexShare commercial databases.

According to Network Services Librarian Kevin Marsh, who coordinated the development of the Library of Texas, the service is easy to use, yet very powerful and customizable. Notes Marsh, "Users can customize the service to include specific libraries near their homes or offices, and then create and save groups of 'favorites' for future searching." Many search results from the TexShare research databases will include the original full-text article, satisfying the information needs of the user right away. For materials that are not immediately available online or at the user's home library, customers can submit an interlibrary loan request. Search results also include links to online bookstores where the materials can be purchased.

Notes a University of North Texas student, "It was great to find out which libraries actually had a resource, instead of searching several library catalogs as I have done in the past. Since I live in Houston, I consider several local libraries as possibilities."

Visit the Library of Texas at LibraryofTexas.org. Users do not need a login ID or password to search library catalogs. To make full use of the Library of Texas, including access to the TexShare databases and interlibrary loan services, login to the service with a TexShare login ID and password available from your local Texas library.

Marsh states, "The Library of Texas represents the future of library services in the nation and is being used as a model for other states. We're very excited to bring this service to Texans." For more information about the Library of Texas, please contact Network Services Librarian Kevin Marsh at (512) 463-5534 or KMarsh@tsl.texas.gov.

Go to the Library of Texas
Contact the Public Information Office
512-463-5514

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February 9, 2004
Two appointed to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Commission increases to seven members

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is pleased to announce the appointment of Martha Doty Freeman (Austin) and Cruz G. Hernandez (Burleson) and the reappointment of Chairman Sandra J. Pickett (Liberty) to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. All three were appointed to six-year terms. Governor Rick Perry made the appointments in January. Pursuant to SB287 of the 78th Texas Legislature, the number of commissioners for the agency has increased from six to seven members.

Cruz Hernandez of Burleson is records manager for the Tarrant County District Clerk's office. Hernandez has a long and distinguished record of public service, including membership in several community organizations. He was appointed by Governor Clements to the Job Training Partnership Act and has just completed a six-year term on the Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Burleson. He has served as a Republican precinct chairman for the past twenty-five years and was elected twice to the Electoral College. Three hundred forty-eighth State District Judge Dana Womack administered Hernandez' oath of office on Jan. 23, 2004.

Martha Doty Freeman of Austin is a self-employed historian for archeological firms, government agencies, universities, and private individuals and organizations. She is a member of the Texas State Historical Association and recipient of the Texas Historical Commission's Award of Excellence in Preserving History. A graduate of Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, Freeman received her master's degree from the University of Texas at Austin and was a graduate fellow of the Smithsonian Institution. She has served since 1997 as a member of the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board. Freeman replaces former Vice Chairman Kenneth R. Carr (El Paso) on the commission, whose term expired Sep. 2003.

Chairman Sandra J. Pickett of Liberty is serving her second term as commissioner. Originally appointed by Governor George W. Bush in 1995, she was appointed chairman in 2002 by Governor Rick Perry. Pickett is president of the Atascosito Historical Society, immediate past president of Preservation Texas, and board member of several community and statewide organizations. She served on the Liberty City Council 24 years. Pickett holds degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston.

Chairman Pickett notes of the appointments, "I am so very pleased to have the opportunity to continue working with other commissioners and the fine professional staff of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission as well as the constituents we serve. We are grateful for Kenneth Carr's significant contributions to the library and archives community in Texas, and we look forward to beginning a new chapter of the commission with the help of Ms. Freeman and Mr. Hernandez."

Other members of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission include Chris A. Brisack (Edinburg); Diana Rae Hester Cox (Canyon); Sandra G. Holland (Pleasanton); and Elizabeth A. Sanders (Arlington). Contact the commission at commission@tsl.texas.gov.

Contact the Public Information Office
512-463-5514

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