Texas State Library and Archives Commission
From the Texas State Librarian
On the Horizon
Greetings from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission!
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is the state agency that helps Texans find information that they seek. 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.
State Fiscal Years 2005–2006 (Sept. 1, 2004–Aug. 31, 2006) were both busy and challenging for us at the state library. Still adjusting from statewide budget reductions in FY2003–2004, we continued to plan and implement changes to our programs to maximize efficiency and still remain agile and responsive to the needs of our customers.
The biennium also provided many additional opportunities to evaluate current programs, forecast trends and needs within our constituencies, and then plan strategically how to meet those needs. The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission began its thorough evaluation of our agency in preparation for the 80th Legislature, during which the statutes that created the Texas State Library and Archives Commission will be rewritten.
The planned renovation of our aging facility at 1201 Brazos in Austin gave us another chance to evaluate the direction of the agency. The 79th Legislature appropriated $15.35 million to begin a renovation and expansion of the state library. Our priorities include increasing archival storage space and combining the three library collections located on-site to provide better service to customers. We need a total of $37 million to complete the renovation, and therefore are asking the 80th Legislature for additional funds, as well as mounting a capital campaign.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita strained the Texas library community. Texas libraries became information hubs for basic services for evacuees, from accessing FEMA documents, using the Internet to locate loved ones, to printing and faxing government forms, etc. Cities set up temporary branches in evacuation centers, providing computer access and books. The state library created an emergency grant program, Texas Responds, to assist those libraries struggling to provide critical services to evacuees.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has four goals. These are outlined in “Preserving the Past, Embracing the Future,” the agency’s strategic plan for FY2007–2011. These goals are:
- To improve the availability and delivery of library and information services for all Texans.
- To improve the availability and delivery of information services to state government and to persons seeking current and historical information from state government.
- To provide for the cost effective management of all state and local government records.
- 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 2005–2006 biennium. You will find that “resourcefulness” forms a consistent theme throughout our activities.
I am proud to serve the state as State Librarian, and I look forward to improving all the ways that Texans access and use the information they seek in the next biennium.
Peggy D. Rudd
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.
The agency employs the following strategies to improve the availability and delivery of library and information services for all Texans:
- Share library resources among libraries statewide through Library of Texas, interlibrary loan, TexShare, and other projects.
- 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.
- Provide direct library service by mail to Texas citizens with disabilities from a centralized collection of large-print, Braille, and recorded books.
TexShare—TexShare is a consortium of 698 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.
The TexShare database program provides information to the citizens of Texas in the most rural areas of our state to the most advanced research facilities in urban centers. TexShare member libraries work as partners with the Texas State library to bring the databases to their local communities. In addition to state funding, TexShare member libraries contributed $1.5 million in fees this year to supplement the TexShare database budget. The library community values and uses the resources TexShare provides. Texans conducted nearly 42,800,000 searches in FY2005, and 43,900,000 in FY2006.
The Library of Texas information discovery tool at http://www.libraryoftexas.org/ has grown steadily over the past two years. Library of Texas currently supports searching in 82 public and 58 academic libraries, along with library holdings worldwide made available through the WorldCat database. In addition, Library of Texas supports searching the TexShare online databases plus local database subscriptions in local Texas libraries. New features link this electronic tool to local library reference services, allow users to access their libraries’ holdings of electronic journals, and allow library staff to request local database subscriptions be added to their users’ search interfaces.
Loan Star Libraries—Loan Star Libraries is a non-competitive grant program that provides funding for Texas public libraries.
Since inception through FY2006, Loan Star Libraries grants have infused local communities with $13.75 million to enhance local library services.
Between FY2002 and FY2006, because of incentives within the grant program, public libraries have expanded their service to Texans. Eighty percent of Texas public libraries serve any Texas resident just as they would their own residents, and 71 percent of all Texas public libraries are members of the TexShare Card program. 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 annual awards went from $2.9 million in FY2003 to $2.65 million in FY2004, and have remained at that level.
Texas Library Systems—There are ten Texas Library Systems that regionally serve public libraries with continuing education and consulting 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.
Membership in a Texas Library System is dependent upon meeting the Minimum Criteria for System Membership http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/pubs/libsysact/criteria.html. A representative task force was created in FY2003 to study the Minimum Criteria and to make recommendations for changes. The resulting changes took 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 the revised criteria. Additional changes will likely be made as a result of the Texas Sunset Commission’s review of the agency.
During FY2005–2006, the Texas Library Systems were funded at $7.5 million per year.
Library Grant Programs—We administer grant programs to assist libraries: Technical Assistance Negotiated Grants provide funding to the ten Texas Library Systems to support technical assistance for public access computing for member libraries; and, Texas Reads Grants fund literacy and other reading programs in public libraries.
In FY2004, we discontinued four competitive grant programs due to budget reductions. While we weren’t able to reestablish the programs during the FY2005–2006 biennium, we have made plans to reintroduce competitive grant programs in FY2009. Competitive grant programs have been proven to increase innovation and return on investment, especially when resources are limited.
In FY2005 and FY2006, we awarded a total of $50,546 in Texas Reads grants, supporting 21 projects such as community “one book” reading initiatives, early childhood literacy programs, teen reading programs, and bilingual literacy programs. Texas Reads grants are funded through the sale of the Texas Reads specialty license plate. You can support literacy, too—order your Texas Reads plate today! Visit http://www.tsl.texas.gov/agency/txreads.html to learn more.
In FY2005, we awarded $652,526 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. Rapid changes in the technologies libraries use to serve their communities require expertise that is beyond the financial reach of many libraries, especially those in small and rural towns. TANG funds provide both hands-on support and individualized consulting on a regional basis to support the technology needs of library staff and the residents they serve. In FY2006, TANG awards totaled $656,642.
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 people 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 46,465 hours, saving the state approximately $535,600 in salary costs. Volunteers in our recording studios in Austin and Midland recorded 182 Texas-related books and magazines for our customers, including 12 books in Spanish. Magazines we record include Texas Monthly, Texas Parks & Wildlife and Texas Highways. Our Spanish language recordings are shipped to Talking Book Programs throughout the country.
We also provide free referral and reference assistance regarding any disability-related issue. For Talking Book Program services, call toll-free in Texas, 1–800–252–9605.
In FY2005, we awarded a total of $180,448 to seven Texas libraries in the Texas Responds grant program. These emergency, one-time grants were awarded to libraries struggling to provide services to evacuees and others after Hurricane Katrina. Public libraries in Austin, Gainesville, Houston, Dickinson, Nacogdoches, Round Rock and Lancaster responded immediately to the information needs of thousands of Katrina evacuees, setting up temporary libraries at shelters and providing reference and Internet services.
During the biennium, we implemented two major initiatives from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help sustain public access computing in Texas. The Staying Connected grant program supported computer replacements and training to help librarians engage their communities and enlist community support for sustaining technology in the library. Demand for Internet access and technology-based library services (and the related needs for staff and user training, equipment, and connectivity) continue to grow. High staff turnover, insufficient budgets, and a lack of technical skills contribute to the inability of libraries to provide sufficient services to their communities. Through the Staying Connected grant, we awarded a total of $761,991 to 175 libraries to replace 541 computers. An additional $142,436 provided training on basic PC repair, network issues, database reference services, and more. The second Gates Foundation initiative was the Public Access Computer Hardware Upgrade Grant (PAC HUG). This grant provided $2,385,000 to replace or upgrade more than 1,900 computers in 544 library buildings over the next three years.
We took the role of host institution for the Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative and obtained a $240,249 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The grant has funded the development of Texas Heritage Online, a search tool that provides seamless, integrated access to primary resource materials in institutions geographically dispersed in Texas. The state library is providing leadership and promoting collaboration between institutions that focus on Texas heritage, such as archives, libraries, museums, historical societies, and governmental agencies. The beta form of Texas Heritage Online is at www.thdi.org.
During FY2006-2007, we are partnering with Education Service Center Region 20 (ESC 20) to implement SB 483, passed by the 79th Legislature, to provide current electronic information to Texas school children at an affordable cost. The state library is leveraging the group purchasing power of the TexShare program to negotiate contracts for electronic databases on behalf of public school libraries. Almost 4,000 public school campuses have registered for the program to date. ESC 20 is providing additional services such as technical support and training.
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.
Increasing Access to Archival and Library Resources—Comprising four major collections, the Archives and Information Services Division maintains and provides access to more than 150 million pages of archival documents and almost two million volumes of printed library materials. We are committed to increasing universal access to these materials through the Internet, as well as managing and preserving the original documents and providing customer service in using the materials.
During the FY2005–2006 biennium, staff of the Texas State Archives mounted three new online history exhibits that present digitized images of archival documents, photographs and related materials from the archives in a dynamic, engaging format. The new exhibits cover the topics of the Texas Navy, presidents of the Republic, and annexation. In addition, we expanded the “Texas Treasures” online exhibit to include several new topical areas: the Mier Expedition, the Turtle Bayou Resolution, Kiowa Indian chief Satanta, and the 1919 Investigation of the Texas Rangers. 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 eleven online history exhibits, found at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/exhibits.
One of our priorities has been to increase access to our collections via the Internet. During this biennium, we initiated digitization of the very heavily consulted collection of Military Service Records. Some 30,000 pages—about half of that collection—are now available via our Web site. Similarly, nearly 6,700 Confederate Pension Applications, comprising about 39,000 images, have also been converted to digital form.
More than 3,000 audio files of Texas Senate committee hearings and floor debates are also available online. The old cassette tapes are removed from public use as the files are digitized. We provide CD-ROM copies for those who cannot access the files online.
To assist users in locating records, we prepare descriptive finding aids and make them available online through our participation in the Texas Archival Resources Online project. TARO 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. By the end of FY2006, we had contributed 524 archival finding aids to help researchers make use of our archival collections. TRAIL, the Statewide Search tool that automatically captures, indexes and preserves state agency Web publications, is available at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/trail. TRAIL is undergoing software changes that will keep the service in sync with current Web publishing technology.
During the FY2005-2006 biennium, our archivists spent 2,000 hours preparing the gubernatorial records of former Governor George W. Bush for research: arranging them into logical series, describing the records and mounting finding aids. At the same time, they have also assisted the public in using the records. Staff devoted 1,270 hours to respond to 105 Public Information Act requests for this important group of records, and another 1,750 hours to respond to other information requests.
Through our 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 publication distributed through the Federal Documents Depository Library Program. 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.
The Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, part of the state library located in Liberty, Texas, serves as the regional depository for a ten-county region in Southeast Texas. During the FY2005-2006 biennium, many upgrades at the center have increased productivity for staff and access to materials for users. The center upgraded its computer systems, and now is connected to the state library’s network, with full access to the agency’s intranet, email, and Web services. Center staff also completed a five-year project to expand and organize the storage space for newspaper archives. Staff worked with talented interns to sort, organize, box, and re-shelve 842 cubic feet of The Beaumont Enterprise and The Beaumont Journal. The Atascosito Historical Society, the Friends of the center, purchased mobile shelving for the newspaper storage room, a gift of $39,000. The completion of this project increased access to the collection and created additional storage room so that future years of this important regional resource can be preserved.
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 upon 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.
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 9,300 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 FY2005-2006 biennium, state agencies realized a cost avoidance of $142 million by storing their records in our State Records Center in Austin. This storage center has a 395,000 cubic foot capacity. In FY2005, 111 agencies stored 374,236 cubic feet of records, the equivalent of 62,373 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 FY2005-2006, staff converted 41.6 million document pages to microfilm or digital media for our customers, and delivered more than 34,000 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 seven electronic records management conferences for government employees and have partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Administration to help Texas communities recover from natural disasters, such as flooding.
A $25,000 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission helped us assess the damage to historically valuable records in the counties affected by Hurricane Rita. The assessment revealed that while damage to records had been minimal, half of the respondents indicated they did not have a Records Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Plan in place prior to the storms. The survey also indicated the need for disaster preparedness training. We hosted a successful disaster planning conference in Houston in May 2006.
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.
The Historically 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 FY2005-2006 biennium included the following:
- Refining our Mentor/Protégé program
- Participating in multiple HUB forums and events
- Participating in multiple HUB discussion group meetings with several state agencies
- Assisting new agency vendors in the HUB certification process
- Conducting monthly meetings and training sessions for agency staff involved in the procurement process at the program level
Many of the contracts we awarded were proprietary in nature or exempted from competitive bidding. These included statewide licenses for databases, library-specific services offered only through Amigos, and contracts for interlibrary loans made on behalf of our agency by public and academic libraries. Some contracts were awarded without the agency receiving any bids from certified HUB vendors. As a result, we were unable to attain statewide goals in several of the categories during this biennium. We will continue to improve our HUB procurement during the FY2007-2008 biennium.
We are entering an exciting time here at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. During the 80th Texas Legislature, beginning Jan. 9, 2007, legislation will be introduced that will re-establish our agency for another twelve years. This is an opportunity for us, in partnership with you, our constituents, to shape the future of library and information services available to Texans; to make the most of scant resources and make the case for increased funding; and, to tailor 21st century services to meet 21st century demands.
Major changes are afoot for the Talking Book Program as it continues to convert to full digital operations. The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, a division of the Library of Congress and the federal oversight organization for TBP, plans to go digital by 2008. Our studio is now completely digital, and plans are underway to convert all the analog masters to digital files. A new player should be available to patrons in late 2007, as well as a new flash memory format. TBP currently participates in a consortium project that allows patrons to download books to their computers.
The renovation work on the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building is slated to begin in 2007, with work completed in 2009 when we celebrate our centennial. In preparation, staff have already begun to prepare the large volume of archival and library materials for their move to temporary storage. Because the library will remain open to customers during the renovation, we must prepare the materials such that access to them is protected. Some of this work includes checking holdings against existing inventories and container lists; re-labeling containers to ensure that location numbers are permanently affixed and easily read; and, in some cases, re-boxing materials in sturdier containers. Please note that our Genealogy hours have changed. All collections are now open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Friends of Libraries and Archives of Texas has begun a Capital Campaign for our building renovation. Learn more at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/friends.