Austin, TX - Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) Director and State Librarian Mark Smith has announced his retirement effective September 1, 2021.
Smith joined TSLAC in November 2013 and has guided the agency through four legislative sessions and a Sunset reauthorization. When Smith joined TSLAC in 2013, the agency’s biennial budget stood at $45.6 million, reflecting a projected loss of over $8 million in federal funds due to budget reductions the previous biennium. Smith successfully appealed for a restoration of the federal funding and went on to grow the agency’s budget to $71.2 million in the current biennium, a 32.6 percent increase.
Smith has presided over the introduction of programs such as the Texas Digital Archive, the transfer of the Texas Center for the Book to TSLAC in 2015, the introduction of E-Read Texas, a statewide e-book program for public libraries and programs that have resulted in significantly higher broadband for over 180 public libraries across Texas.
Smith is a native of Austin with a 42-year career in libraries that began as a page at the Austin Public Library in 1979. Smith also managed public libraries in New Jersey, California and Oregon and previously worked at TSLAC and the Texas Library Association in the 1990s.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as the State Librarian of Texas and to work alongside an extremely talented and hardworking team that provides outstanding information services to Texans in all parts of the state every day,” Smith said.
Martha Wong, Chair of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, said, “We thank Mr. Smith for his leadership and years of excellent service as Director and Librarian. He has brought the Commission to a higher level as a well-functioning agency that successfully accomplishes its goals. He will be missed.”
The meeting of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin on June 4 will include a discussion of the process of recruiting a new director for the agency.