Austin, TX – The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is pleased to announce the Texans Need Strong Libraries initiative. This $3,750,000 appropriation from the 87th Regular Texas Legislature was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott. These funds will be used to support the development of quality library services across Texas, with special attention to job seeker initiatives, digital inclusion, affordable e-resources and increased digital access to primary historical sources.
“The COVID-19 emergency demonstrated that in times of crisis, Texas libraries are even more essential than in normal times,” said TSLAC Director and Librarian Mark Smith. “The crisis also highlighted the need to move toward a more information-based economy that allows Texans to study and work remotely via robust broadband networks. Texas libraries comprise a crucial informational and educational link for residents in communities large and small in all parts of the state.”
Consider the following key roles libraries can play in their communities:
- Libraries are a bridge across the digital divide
- Libraries are a universal classroom with resources and online programs to support K-12 education, distance learning and job skills.
- Libraries help fuel the economy by supporting small businesses, entrepreneurs and job seekers
For more than 100 years, TSLAC has occupied a unique and valued role in support of the development of quality library services across Texas. The COVID-19 pandemic has suggested the need for new strategies to help ensure that libraries achieve their full potential in service to their communities.
The Texans Need Strong Libraries initiative funds will be utilized as follows:
Job seeker initiatives, $1,500,000 – Digital literacy, entrepreneurship, small-business development, STEM learning and job training programs in Texas libraries.
Digital inclusion, $1,000,000 – Grants to local libraries for equipment, devices and other outreach technologies and solutions to support at-home and neighborhood internet access.
Affordable e-resources for work and study, $1,000,000 – Continued access to TSLAC’s signature work and study e-resource programs, TexShare and TexQuest, used more than 100 million times each year.
Digital access to primary sources, $250,000 – Hiring additional archivists to process the backlog of valuable Texas historical archives, move it into digital format and make it remotely available to libraries, schools and individuals across Texas.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides Texans access to the information they need to be informed, productive citizens by preserving the archival record of Texas; enhancing the service capacity of public, academic and school libraries; assisting public agencies in the maintenance of their records; and meeting the reading needs of Texans with disabilities. For more information, visit www.tsl.texas.gov.