2005 News Releases

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11-30-05 - Texas State Library awards grants totaling $180,448 to Texas libraries serving Katrina evacuees 11-29-05 - Governor appoints Sharon T. Carr to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission
09-29-05 - Texas State Library unveils The Open Record
09-28-05 - Texas State Library receives $240,249 National Leadership Grant
09-01-05 - Texas State Library showcases the presidents of the Republic of Texas
 
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November 30, 2005
Texas State Library awards grants totaling $180,448 to Texas libraries serving Katrina evacuees

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) has awarded seven grants to Texas libraries totaling $180,448 to alleviate the strain on their resources in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Public libraries in Austin, Gainesville, Houston, Dickinson, Nacogdoches, Round Rock and Lancaster received Texas Responds grants ranging from $1,900 to $55,926. Those communities responded immediately to the information needs of Katrina evacuees as they arrived, setting up temporary libraries at shelters and providing extended reference and Internet services.

"This is what libraries do," says State Librarian Peggy D. Rudd. "When a community crisis occurs, the library is the 'go-to' place, for information, for access to the Internet, and sometimes for food and clothing. We wanted to help those communities who had opened their doors to so many Katrina evacuees but needed some additional resources to adequately serve them. Texas Responds grants did just that."

Below are synopses of grant-funded projects and specific grant award amounts.

Austin Public Library, $44,443
The library has been serving thousands of evacuees in the Austin area through programs in shelters and at their branch libraries. Many of the evacuees are staying in the Austin area, straining existing library resources. The library will use the award to purchase additional materials relevant to the evacuee community (such as New Orleans newspaper subscriptions, materials for the African-American community, additional homework/required reading materials for school children), provide additional youth programming at branch libraries, and working with the Austin History Center and other organizations, collect stories about the evacuee experience and assist evacuees with the preservation of family documents.

Cooke County Library, $1,900
The library will use the grant funds to provide enhanced Internet access and programs and materials targeted to evacuees. They will purchase an additional public access computer, work with the local schools to ensure the library has enough copies of required books, and also purchase additional adult materials such as job testing books to assist job seekers.

Houston Public Library, $55,926
The library is using their grant award to help cover the costs of the extensive services they offered the thousands of evacuees housed at the many shelters in Houston. For example, they created a mini-library at the convention center, installed additional computers at branches, participated in job fairs and distributed materials, and collaborated with other area libraries such as Baytown and Bellaire. The award will principally cover their additional personnel and computer and related materials costs.

Mares Memorial Library, $9,050
The library is a small library in an area that was one of the first places to which evacuees arrived after leaving St. Bernard Parish. Many have remained there and the small staff (one librarian) has had difficulty meeting the additional need for library services. The award will be used for a temporary contract librarian to help at the library and work with community organizations to direct evacuees to needed services.

Nacogdoches Public Library, $41,500
Nacogdoches had a large number of evacuees relative to their population, and the library served as a hub facility for emergency organizations such as FEMA, Red Cross, Texas State Guard, and others. The library staff offered assistance throughout and will use the grant award to establish a community resource center with an outreach component. A coordinator will present programs and a portable computer lab will allow additional Internet access. Materials on job searching and related topics will be purchased. The coordinator will work with a large number of community organizations to offer relevant services.

Round Rock Public Library, $6,777
The library will purchase three computers to add to their wireless network to be able to offer adequate public access computers to the evacuees seeking assistance at the library. They will add additional computer skills classes to their schedule and work with community organizations (Round Rock Volunteer Center, Round Rock Serving Center, Texas Workforce Commission/Round Rock) to offer other classes (job searching, resume preparation) as needed.

Lancaster Veterans Memorial Library, $20,852
The libraries in Lancaster and Red Oak will collaborate with county outreach centers to offer services to evacuees. The libraries will purchase computers for a wireless, portable computer lab and trainers to offer computer classes, job search classes, and others. They will also contract with storytellers to offer programming for children and will purchase additional children's books and craft supplies.

More information about Texas Responds grants

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November 29, 2005
El Paso resident Sharon T. Carr appointed to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is pleased to announce El Paso resident Sharon T. Carr's appointment to its governing board. Governor Rick Perry has appointed Ms. Carr to a six-year term that expires Sept. 28, 2011. Carr replaces Elizabeth Sanders of Mabank, whose term has expired.

State Librarian Peggy D. Rudd noted, "Our commission has been fortunate to have had the active participation of so many community leaders throughout the state. We welcome Ms. Carr to these distinguished ranks."

Ms. Carr currently serves as administrator for Library Learning Resources in the El Paso Independent School District, a position she has held since 1990. Prior to that time she was an elementary school librarian at El Paso ISD for 17 years. Ms. Carr holds an M.S. in Library Science from the University of North Texas, and has been honored by the School of Library and Information Sciences as an Outstanding Alumna.

Ms. Carr is actively involved in a number of professional organizations, including the Border Regional Library Association, the Texas Association of School Library Administrators, and the Texas Library Association. Ms. Carr served on the Texas State Library and Archives Commission School Library Standards Advisory Committee twice. The committee was responsible for drafting statewide school library standards in 1995-97, and then revising them in 2002-04.

She is also active within her community, and currently serves on the board of the Insights Science Museum for Children. She is a member and former board member of the Junior League of El Paso and sings in her church choir.

The commission is a seven-member body appointed by the Governor to lead the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. "Sharon Carr brings a unique perspective and skill set to our commission, and I am delighted to work with her over the next several years to improve the state's libraries and archives," said Commission Chairman Sandra J. Pickett.

Ms. Carr notes, "I have worked with the state librarian and her staff and consider it an honor to serve Texas and her libraries as a commissioner."

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September 29, 2005
Texas State Library unveils The Open Record

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission invites you to visit its new online news forum, The Open Record, at www.tsl.texas.gov/theopenrecord. The Open Record is your portal to information about the services of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. It will cover topics such as Texas history, new projects and initiatives in the world of archives and libraries, best practices, noteable Texans, genealogy information, grant awards, reading programs, technology, and more. AND--it's interactive! Readers can register for free for a username and password, and then enter into a dialogue with the publication's authors. Leave comments or questions, or read what other visitors have said about a given topic.

The Open Record replaces the agency's newsletter Trails. Trails was discontinued due to budget concerns. The Open Record not only costs much less to produce and maintain, but also allows us to be more timely with news and information, as it can be updated as events occur.

The Open Record will be updated weekly, so you'll want to bookmark the site. You can also subscribe to an RSS feed, and you'll be notified when a new topic has been posted. The Open Record will also send a monthly announcement highlighting the topics that havve been covered that month. To subscribe to this free email update service, visit http://www.tsl.texas.gov/theopenrecord/updates/

We hope you enjoy The Open Record, and please pass it on!

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September 28, 2005
Texas State Library receives $240,249 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Austin - The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) a $240,249 National Leadership Grant to fund an initiative to bring Texas history and culture to the desktop. The grant will fund the Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative, a collaborative project of the Texas State Library and eleven library, museum, and archives partners from throughout the state.

The Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative will broaden and streamline access to Texas institutions' historical and cultural resources through the Internet. Digitized collections will be formatted so they are searchable through the same interface, the Library of Texas, www.libraryoftexas.org. The project team will also work collaboratively to create study guides and other teaching tools that map assets in collections to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) requirements for fourth and seventh grade history students.

As State Library Commission Chair Sandra Pickett notes, "Many Texas institutions have been digitizing their collections and making them available online, but there has been little standardization among them. The Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative will provide for a statewide plan and the development of guidelines that will enable more institutions to put their collections online. People also will be able to search these collections simultaneously through the Library of Texas."

Cathy Hartman, assistant dean of libraries and fellow of the Texas Center for Digital Knowledge at the University of North Texas and one of the founders of the initiative, adds, "Smaller libraries and museums face a real dilemma in providing online access to their unique collections, often lacking sufficient staff, equipment, or perhaps the knowledge on how to provide this type of access. The Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative's core value is inclusiveness - all interested organizations may participate. This funding will go a long way towards building a structure to provide the assistance and support that these people need in order to share the stories of their local communities."

Some of the collections that will be included in the project are the "Portal to Texas History," a project of the University of North Texas; "Tejano Voices" from the University of Texas at Arlington; "Austin Treasures" from the Austin History Center; and, "Texas Historic Sites Atlas" from the Texas Historical Commission.

In addition to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, partners in the Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative include the Austin Public Library, Dallas Public Library, Fort Bend County Museum, North Richland Hills Public Library, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas A & M University, Texas General Land Office, Texas Historical Commission, University of North Texas, University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of Texas at Austin.

The National Leadership Grants for Libraries, a grant program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, supports innovative projects that enhance the quality of library services and can be widely replicated. Areas of funding include education, research, digitization, and library-museum collaboration.

Contact the Public Information Office
512-463-5514

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September 1, 2005
Texas State Library showcases the Presidents of the Republic of Texas

Austin - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) has launched a new online exhibit, "Triumph and Tragedy: Presidents of the Republic of Texas." The exhibit is featured on the TSLAC website at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/exhibits/presidents.

On March 2, 1836, when a group of 59 men meeting at Washington-on-the-Brazos declared Texas's independence from Mexico, they did so in an atmosphere of crisis. As they hastily drafted a constitution for the new nation they called the Republic of Texas, the crisis intensified. The Alamo fell; the defenders of Goliad were captured and put to death; hundreds of civilians became refugees; Sam Houston's army reeled back towards the Louisiana border. Defeat and its unthinkable consequences were a stark possibility.

Nonetheless, the delegates turned their eyes to the future, creating a framework for a government resembling that of the United States, the homeland of almost every man present. The Republic of Texas, they optimistically wrote, would be governed by three united but independence branches of government: a legislature, a judiciary, and an executive branch headed by a president.

At the time the Constitution was written, most Texans believed that, if they prevailed in their rebellion against Mexico, Texas would be quickly annexed by the United States. But it was not to be. Instead, for the next ten years, four very different men would lead the Republic of Texas down a difficult and unknown path as an independent nation.

"This exhibit tells the story of four individuals--David Burnet, Sam Houston, Mirabeau Lamar, and Anson Jones--who had the courage to take over a country which was penniless and lawless, and put their heart and soul into making it a great place. That's the 'triumph' aspect of this story," says Liz Clare, digital imaging specialist at TSLAC who coordinated the exhibit. "The tragedy aspect comes from the hardships these men endured," Clare says. "Each of them came to Texas initially because of truly crushing failure back in the United States. Each of these men was plagued by demons such as alcoholism, bankruptcy, depression, and personal loss. What they achieved in the face of their problems was incredible."

The unique exhibit contains more than 50 documents from the collections of the Texas State Archives, plus rare photographs and supplementary materials, including the signatures of each president and timelines showing the significant events of his life and times.

"We are proud to help make these materials widely available in this format," says Chris LaPlante, director of Archives and Information Services for TSLAC. "The stories of these men are at once history and great human drama. We think Texans of all ages will enjoy learning about these compelling figures and the issues they faced."

Contact the Public Information Office
512-463-5514

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