Serving Texans' Need to Know

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Biennial Report, FY2003-2004

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From the Texas State Librarian

Goal One

Goal Two

Goal Three

Goal Four

On the Horizon

From the Texas State Librarian

Greetings from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission!

The 2003-2004 biennium was a period of rapid change for the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the state agency that helps Texans find information that they seek. Our vision is for the people of Texas to have access to and effectively use information, archival resources, and library materials to improve their lives, the lives of their families, and their communities.

How would I describe our agency? We're the largest and most diverse state library agency in the country. Our staff is hard-working and cares about the constituents we serve. We work to improve libraries; we preserve and make accessible the history of Texas government; we provide first-rate library service to Texans who are unable to read standard print; and, we help keep Texas government accountable by helping state agencies manage their records effectively.

More than any other factor during the 2003-2004 biennium, statewide budget reductions affected our agency's operations. During FY2003, the 78th Legislature directed state agencies to reduce their budgets, and subsequently, our agency's operating budget was reduced by 12.5 percent, and our capital budget by 50 percent. In addition, the legislature diverted Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund monies the agency expected to receive-more than $7.4 million.

What does this mean to you? Well, it means that you have fewer resources available to you at your local library and within our own collections. It also means that some processes at the state library may be slower, due to reduced staffing. It means that a few innovative projects that would have increased access to our resources were put on hold. I assure you that every measure was taken to minimize the impact on all of our constituents.

Despite financial challenges, we made significant progress towards our goals during the past two years. I'm very pleased with the level of collaboration among libraries and their communities to preserve the integrity of the TexShare databases, especially the heroic efforts of local communities to help us purchase a subscription to HeritageQuest, a popular genealogy resource. TexShare database usage increased by 46 percent from 2003 to 2004. We also worked diligently to improve two-way communication between our agency and our constituents, in light of budget and staff reductions, which posed challenges for us all.

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has four goals. These are outlined in "Connecting Texans to the World of Information: Past, Present, & Future," the agency's strategic plan for FY2005-2009. These goals are:

1. To improve the availability and delivery of library and information services for all Texans.

2. To improve the availability and delivery of information services to state government and to persons seeking current and historical information from state government.

3. To provide for the cost effective management of all state and local government records.

4. To implement a program to insure the meaningful and substantive inclusion of historically underutilized businesses in all areas of procurement.

This biennial report highlights the progress made towards realizing these goals during the 2003-2004 biennium. You will find that "collaboration" and "resourcefulness" form a consistent theme throughout our activities.

I am proud to serve the state as the Texas State Librarian, and I look forward to improving all the ways that Texans receive the information they seek in the next biennium.


Peggy D. Rudd

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Goal One

Goal: To improve the availability and delivery of library and information services for all Texans.

Our mission revolves around Texans being able to access and use the information they seek, and we believe libraries are a crucial factor in their ability to do so. The services libraries provide to families, students, teachers, college faculty, professionals, business owners--in essence, everyone--enrich lives and support the state's educational infrastructure and economic prosperity.

We employ the following strategies to improve the availability and delivery of library and information services for all Texans:

A. Share library resources among libraries statewide through Library of Texas, interlibrary loan, TexShare, and other projects.

B. Provide services and grants to aid in the development of local libraries, including Loan Star Libraries grants, continuing education and consulting services, the Texas Reading Club, funding regional cooperative programs, and other grants.

C. Provide direct library service by mail to Texas citizens with disabilities from a centralized collection of large-print, Braille, and recorded books.

Biennium Highlights

TexShare - TexShare is a consortium of 697 libraries in Texas that works to reduce costs and expand services by sharing resources among all members. TexShare services include interlibrary loan, a courier service that efficiently delivers library materials between libraries, statewide electronic database subscriptions, and the TexShare Card, which allows users to borrow books from other participating libraries.

In 2003, an anticipated grant of $7.4 million from the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund Board (TIF) was not forthcoming. The number of TexShare databases available went from 60 to 46. We worked collaboratively with TexShare member libraries, representative working groups and advisory boards to develop a plan for cost sharing for FY2004. TexShare member libraries contributed $1.5 million in fees to supplement the TexShare budget for databases. In addition, a statewide pledge drive in 2004 raised $263,000 to keep a subscription to the popular databases HeritageQuest and STAT!Ref for one more year.

Despite financial setbacks, use of TexShare by Texans continued to skyrocket. Texans conducted nearly 30 million TexShare searches in FY2004, an 80 percent increase over FY2002.

A new search tool implemented by the agency during this biennium is the Library of Texas, The Library of Texas simultaneously searches most of the TexShare databases and the online library catalogs of 120 Texas libraries.

We are currently seeking a stable source of funding for TexShare programs, given the loss of TIF funding and a required 50 percent reduction in our capital budget that significantly impacted TexShare.

Loan Star Libraries - Loan Star Libraries is a non-competitive grant program that provides funding for Texas public libraries.

Since inception through FY2004, Loan Star Libraries grants infused local communities with $8.45 million to enhance local library services.

Between FY2002 to FY2004, because of incentives within the grant program, 80 libraries extended service to individuals outside of their local service areas. Texas libraries have extended hours, are offering additional training and literacy programs, and are expanding their collections with Loan Star Libraries grants.

Budget reductions have affected Loan Star Libraries. Total awards went from $2.9 million in FY2003 to $2.65 million in FY2004.

Texas Library Systems - There are ten Texas Library Systems that regionally serve public libraries with continuing education and consulting services, collection development and other local services.

Services provided by the Texas Library Systems are diverse, as each system tailors its programs to meet the needs of the libraries within its region. System staff help their members develop and automate their collections, apply for grants, provide better reference services, and implement special programs. For example, the San Antonio Public Library implemented Live Homework Help for students with help from their library system, the Alamo Area Library System.

Membership in a Texas Library System is dependent on meeting the Minimum Criteria for System Membership. A representative task force was created in FY2003 to study the Minimum Criteria and to make recommendations for changes. Changes have been made to the Minimum Criteria, and the new criteria will take effect beginning in FY2006. It had been widely agreed among people within the library community that changes were needed; however, membership in a Texas Library System is a gateway to many other state services and resources. We have worked collaboratively with the Texas Library Systems and their member libraries to develop revised criteria during the past biennium.

Texas Library Systems have been affected by budget reductions. Systems received $8 million in FY2003, and $7.5 million in FY2004.

Development Grant Programs - We administer five development grant programs for libraries: Establishment Grants support the establishment of new libraries; Cooperation Grants award funds to support two or more libraries that partner on interlibrary cooperation and networking projects; Special Project Grants assist public libraries to expand their services to targeted populations in their communities; Technical Assistance Negotiated Grants provide funding to the ten Texas Library Systems to support technical assistance for public access computing for member libraries; and TexTreasures Grants help libraries digitize special collections to improve public access to information.

In FY2003, we awarded a total of $712,743 to support 18 projects in the following grant programs: Establishment, Cooperation, Special Project, and TexTreasures. Examples of projects funded: a mobile technology training lab, virtual 24-hour reference service, and dissemination of medical information to low-income, non-English-speaking Texans. Due to budget reductions, these four grant programs were discontinued in FY2004.

In FY2003, we awarded $742,443 to the ten Texas Library Systems through the Technical Assistance Negotiated Grant (TANG) program. Libraries today supply many materials and services to their patrons through computer and networked technology, and many libraries do not have and cannot afford to hire the technical expertise needed to keep machines up and running, install new hardware and software, etc. TANG allows each Texas Library System to hire a technology expert who can consult with member libraries. In FY2004, TANG awards totaled $760,000.

Talking Book Program - The Talking Book Program provides books in alternate formats for Texans who cannot read standard print due to disabilities.

The Talking Book Program consistently serves about 20,000 patrons each year. Our staff of consultants help customers with requests for playback machines and book titles, or who need disability reference assistance.

The Talking Book Program is deeply rooted within the community and as such, relies on the efforts of volunteers for daily operations. During the biennium, volunteers contributed more than 62,000 hours, saving the state approximately $705,000 in salary costs. Volunteers in our recording studios in Austin and Midland recorded 218 Texas-related books and magazines for our customers. Magazines we record include Texas Monthly, Texas Parks & Wildlife and Texas Highways.

We also provide free referral and reference assistance regarding any disability-related issue.

Additional Initiatives

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is mandated to develop standards for Texas school libraries. During the FY2003-2004 biennium, we worked in partnership with representatives of the school library community to revise the standards that had been in place since 1997. A thorough and detailed process involving a statewide study and extensive input from school librarians resulted in "School Library Programs: Standards and Guidelines for Texas." The Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Texas State Board of Education have approved the revised standards.

We undertook a statewide independent study of public library development in FY2003. The resulting report included fifteen recommendations for the Texas library community, including the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, to prepare libraries to meet the demands of today's library users. We assembled a representative task force to further prioritize the recommendations and draft a plan of action.

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Goal Two

Goal: To improve the availability and delivery of information services to state government and to persons seeking current and historical information from state government.

Gaining access to government, whether federal, state, or local, can be a daunting task for citizens. We work to make government information easy to access locally. We believe government at every level should be accountable and transparent to its people so everyone can participate effectively in civic affairs.

To improve the availability and delivery of information services to state government and to those seeking information from state government, we employ the following strategy: Provide legislators, staff, and the general public with ready access to needed government information from publications, documents, records, and other library resources.

Biennium Highlights

Increasing Access to Archival and Library Resources - Comprising four major collections, the Archives and Information Services Division maintains and provides access to 60 million pages of archival documents and one million volumes of printed library materials. We are committed to increasing universal access to these materials through the Internet, as well as caring for the original documents and providing customer service in using the materials.

During the FY2003-2004 biennium, staff of the Texas State Archives mounted four online history exhibits which present digitized images of archival documents, photographs and related materials from the archives in a dynamic, engaging format. Not only do the exhibits entertain and educate, they also increase access to the archives while protecting the original documents through reduced handling. We currently offer nine online history exhibits.

In FY2003, we mounted a searchable database of more than 200,000 digital images of Republic of Texas Claims. Available free of charge through our Web site, researchers are now able to access this popular series of records from home or work and no longer have to travel to Austin to do their research.

We are a founding partner in the Texas Archival Resources Online project, which promotes a standard format for archival finding aids on the Internet and includes a database of these finding aids for records housed at several partnering repositories. In FY2003, our finding aids represented 25 percent of the total number. By the end of FY2004, we had contributed 458 archival finding aids to help researchers make use of our archival collections.

In FY2002, 2,050 cubic feet of gubernatorial records of former Governor George W. Bush were transferred to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Our archivists have been working since that time to prepare the records for research: arranging them into logical series, describing the records and mounting finding aids. At the same time, they have also been assisting the public in using the records. During this biennium, staff responded to 99 Public Information Act requests for this popular group of records.

Through programs like the U.S. Depository Program and the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse, we ensure easy access to government information no matter where you live. We are one of only two full federal depositories in the state that catalog and make available every federal government publication issued. State agency and university publications are distributed to a network of 48 regional libraries in Texas, as well as the Library of Congress, so that communities have access to state government information locally.

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Goal Three

Goal: To provide for the cost effective management of all state and local government records.

Effective records management within government agencies is the foundation for an accessible government, accountable to its citizens. Without a records management program, government becomes inefficient, as resources are spent either storing and maintaining records that are no longer needed or trying to find records that have not been stored properly. The official documentation of government for posterity rests on the implementation of records management policies.

To reach this goal, we provide records management training, consulting, and storage services to state agencies and local government officials.

Biennium Highlights

State and Local Records Management Programs - Staff within the State and Local Records Management Division help state and local government agencies implement and maintain sound records management programs. Services include training and consulting regarding records management issues, personalized assistance in creating a records retention schedule, and records storage and imaging.

Our records management consultants work with approximately 9,000 state and local governments in Texas to implement and maintain records management programs. Governmental entities are required by law to have records management programs, and our customers rely on the expertise of our staff to enact sound policy.

During the FY2003-2004 biennium, state agencies realized a cost avoidance of $133 million by storing their records in our State Records Center in Austin. This storage center has a 395,000 cubic foot capacity. In FY2004, 112 agencies stored 365,376 cubic feet of records, the equivalent of 60,896 five-drawer file cabinets. When laid end to end, the boxes of records would stretch from downtown Austin to the southern edge of San Antonio!

The sheer volume of business conducted by our records management staff during the biennium is impressive. In FY2003-2004, staff converted 36.7 million document pages to microfilm or digital media for our customers, and delivered nearly 30,000 training and consulting hours to state and local government employees.

We partner with other state and federal agencies to tackle records management issues, such as disaster recovery and the management of government records in a digital environment. We've sponsored six electronic records management training conferences for government employees and have partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Administration to help Texas communities recover from natural disasters, such as flooding.

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Goal Four

Goal: To implement a program to ensure the meaningful and substantive inclusion of Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) in all areas of procurement.

We believe in Texans' spirit of entrepreneurship and the pursuit of the American dream. The state of Texas has placed special emphasis on the value of small business owners to the economic health of the state, and as an organization of state government, we strive to procure services from businesses representing the diversity of Texas residents.

Biennium Highlights

The Historical Underutilized Business (HUB) Program is an integral part of the procurement process at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and the agency's staff ensures HUB procurements remain a priority at all levels of the organization. Our good faith efforts during the FY2003-2004 biennium include the following:

• Implementing a Mentor/Protégé program

• Participating in multiple HUB forums, events and interagency discussion groups

• Assisting many of our vendors in the HUB certification process

• Conducting monthly meetings and training sessions for agency staff involved in the procurement process

Despite these efforts, we were unable to attain statewide goals in several of the categories during this biennium. Many of the contracts awarded were proprietary in nature. Some contracts received no bids from certified HUB vendors, and others were awarded to vendors that would qualify as HUB vendors if they applied for it. We will continue to work to improve our HUB procurement.

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On the Horizon

Although the FY2003-2004 biennium was challenging due to budget reductions, we accomplished a great deal to realize our vision for the people of Texas. We employ a talented group of people who maintain a very high level of customer service and continue to meet performance targets despite being asked continually to 'do more with less'--and more is being accomplished every day. In FY2005, a new library grant program was initiated, funded by the sale of the Texas Reads specialty license plate. Grants totaling $15,000 were recently awarded. The agency is also participating in a partnership with several other entities in the Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative, a large-scale effort to preserve and increase access to the documentary history of Texas. In 2009, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission will celebrate its 100th anniversary, and we hope to cut the ribbon on a renovated facility within the Capitol Complex.

Working for You

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission exists to help Texans find and use information. Whether we're training government officials in your area how to set up and maintain a records management program, awarding grants to your community's library to improve their services, providing library services for individuals who cannot read standard print due to disabilities, or helping genealogists and history researchers use our collections, our goal is to make information work for all Texans.

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Page last modified: July 1, 2011