Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Fiscal Years: 2013 - 2014
Mark Smith, Director and Librarian
Edward Seidenberg, Deputy Director
Manuel Alvarez, Director: Information Resources Technologies
Jelain Chubb, Director:
Archives and Information Services
Craig Kelso, Director:
State and Local Records Management
Deborah Littrell, Director: Library Development and Networking
Donna Osborne, Director: Administrative Services
Ava Smith, Director:
Talking Book Program
I am pleased to present the 2013-2014 Biennial Report of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Recent years have brought significant changes both to our agency and to the individuals and organizations we serve. A significant reduction in general revenue funding in the 2012-2013 biennium, while painful to library and archives users across the state, caused a rethinking of how we can more effectively serve our customers.
The 2013 Legislative Session partially restored funding to TSLAC in some key areas, including expansion of digital resources to K-12 students, staff to address the backlog in archival materials, and funds to provide needed repairs to the agency’s Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty, Texas. This restoration, combined with reinstatement on appeal of Texas’ full allotment of federal funding for libraries, has allowed TSLAC to develop new strategies for serving library, archives and records clienteles across the state.
Libraries and archives ensure access to the information resources that are central to Texas’ knowledge-based economy. Those information resources and services have a profound and demonstrable economic impact. Texans logged over 100 million searches of digital resources via TSLAC’s TexShare program. Those databases, which cost $6.5M when purchased via statewide contracts would have cost local libraries $59M, a return-on-investment of over 9 to 1. A study completed by the University of Texas at Austin Bureau of Business Research in late 2012 indicated that Texas libraries return $4.42 in value for every $1 invested. State agencies save over $100 million in cost avoidance each year by storing non-current records with our agency.
And then there is the incalculable return on investment that derives from the open access to government that citizens enjoy via TSLAC’s archives and records programs, the lifeline to reading and information represented by the agency’s Talking Book Program for persons who cannot read standard print, and the value of information in Texas libraries in support of education, lifelong learning, workforce development and personal enrichment.
I am honored to have been appointed in November 2013 as the Director and Librarian of this great agency and to have an opportunity to work with our dedicated commission, talented staff and supportive stakeholders statewide to offer excellent library, archives, and records services to every person in Texas.
Mark Smith, Director and Librarian
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
2013-2014 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Every year tens of millions of Texans turn to libraries and archives for information they need for school, research, work, lifelong learning, and personal enrichment. The role of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission is to provide services that support, encourage, and facilitate access to print and digital resources, state and local records and archives, recorded materials, media, technology, programs, and streaming content directly to customers and indirectly through libraries statewide.
In late 2011, TSLAC was forced to seek strategies to rebuild services following a massive budget reduction affecting the 2012-2013 biennium. With a reduction of 65% in general revenue funding and an overall agency reduction of 35%, TSLAC lost 37 positions, laid off 20 employees, consolidated two divisions, and discontinued many services such as the Texas Library System and the Loan Star Libraries direct aid program to libraries.
During FY2013, TSLAC maintained vigorous activity in all programs, including:
- Government information analysts provided 9,453 hours of records management training to 8,728 state and local government personnel
- Over 300 public libraries migrated to a new peer-to-peer interlibrary loan lending model called Navigator
- State and local agencies sent 53,950 boxes of records for storage to the state records center on a completely cost-recovery basis
- Researchers gained access to hundreds of hours of digitized files of Senate committee hearings
- Completed the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), a federally funded grant that added or upgraded computer centers and provided training in 38 libraries
- Talking Book customers began to use a downloadable mobile application to access online digital content from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
- A new study assessed options for the replacement of key operations software in the Talking Book Program
- TexShare users gained access to new historical resources databases such as the American West and American Indian Histories and Cultures
- Texas public libraries accessed $4.1M in E-rate discounts with help provided by TSLAC staff
- Talking Book customers borrowed more than 800,000 Braille, audio and large print items
In the 2013 session, the Legislature restored over $9 Million for the 2014-2015 biennium for shared digital content for TexShare and K-12 students, for staff to address the archival backlog, and for funding repairs at the agency’s Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty, Texas.
During FY 2014, TSLAC achieved the following accomplishments:
- Inaugurated EDGE, a technology assessment tool kit for public libraries statewide and distributed over @ $350,000 in technology grants to 69 participating EDGE libraries
- Over 500 school districts participated in the launch of TexQuest, providing a wealth of shared digital resources for K-12 students
- Three archivists were added to speed processing of the backlog of archival information
- Repairs began on the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty, Texas
- The office of Governor Rick Perry informed the agency that the Governor’s records would be transferred to the State Archives at the end of his term including 10 terabytes of electronic data
- The process began to migrate the State Records Center to Infolinx, a comprehensive new software system to manage inventory, accounting, retention schedules, and workflow
- Staff of the Talking Book Program began uploading digital versions of locally-recorded books to the Braille and Audio Reading Download site of the National Library System, the first from any state
- The agency secured approval from its commission, the Governor’s Office, and the Legislative Budget Board to move forward to modernize the existing Talking Book Program legacy automation system
- TSLAC staff answered more than 60,000 patron reference and research requests
PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
While these programs and services were ongoing, TSLAC staff and commissioners completed a planning and budgeting process that set a number of strategic agency goals for the coming years. While the reduction in state funding in 2013 jeopardized $6.5 million in federal funding, agency staff successfully applied for and recieved a waiver of the maintenance-of- effort requirement and secured the full allotment of $10.5M in federal dollars for library programs. Agency priorities for the next biennium include:
- Creation of the Texas Digital Archive to manage permanent state electronic records
- Enhanced shared digital content through the TexShare and TexQuest programs
- Market salary adjustments for mission-critical personnel
- Adding staff to provide support for state and local records managers
- Going live on the Comptroller’s CAPPS financial and personnel management system
- Assisting local libraries in support of workforce development
THE TEXAS TALKING BOOK PROGRAM PROVIDES FREE LIBRARY SERVICE TO TEXANS OF ALL AGES WHO ARE UNABLE TO READ STANDARD PRINT MATERIAL DUE TO VISUAL, PHYSICAL, OR READING DISABILITIES, WHETHER PERMANENT OR TEMPORARY.
By 2013, almost one-in-four Talking Book Program (TBP) patrons were using the Braille and Audio ReadingDownload (BARD). This service is a database of digital books, magazines, musical scores and digital materials downloadable onto hand-held computer devices. In 2013, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped released an app for Apple devices, enabling content to be downloaded to a digital book cartridge and played on the digital talking book machine (DTBM) or onto a flash drive that plugs into a USB port on the DTBM. Once patrons mastered the download process, they began asking TBP’s federal oversight agency, the NLS, to allow patrons to download and play their BARD materials on iPad, iPhone, and iPad Touch devices. The app became instantly popular and caused a spike in new enrollments for talking book libraries across the country.For many years, TBP has used its own automation system to handle business operations. In response to a legislative mandate to replace legacy systems, staff began exploring ways to either modernize the system or replace it. Outside automation consultants were hired in FY2013 to study available options and make a recommendation. The resulting study concluded that a comparable system that could meet most of the operational requirements of the program was not available on the market and that TBP would need to build a new system in order to maintain its current high level of service to its patrons.
From its inception, all the books available on the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) site were national recordings, either recorded at the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) headquarters or contracted out to professional recording studios. Local recordings made by talking book libraries in their own studios have not been available, but that changed in Texas in 2014 when the Talking Book Program became the first talking book library in the country to upload one of its own studio recordings to BARD. As one of eight test libraries, TBP audio staff worked closely with NLS staff to finalize quality-control checking and uploading procedures. TBP’s first book to upload was Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall. By the end of FY2014, TBP had uploaded to BARD a total of 40 titles from its studio, 11% of the total available nationwide.
With the 2013 automation consultant study in hand, TBP staff began the long process of building a new system to replace its legacy system. The first major hurdle was approval from the state’s Quality Assurance Team (QAT), the group that approves all major IT projects in state government. To create and file the necessary paperwork for QAT approval, another consultant was hired to work with staff. QAT approval was granted, followed by approval from the agency’s Commissioners to move forward with the solicitation of a vendor. The solicitation process will begin in FY2015.
Did you know? People with reading disabilities are also eligible for the talking book program. To learn more visit www.tsl.texas.gov/tbp
Total patrons registered: 16,906 (2013) and 17,018 (2014)
Volumes circulated: 860,127 (2013) and 845,969 (2014)
BARD downloads: 195,258 (2013) and 214,658 (2014)
Did you know? In 2013, Texans logged in to online resources provided by TSLAC over 100 million times and downloaded over 50 million documents.
Each year Texans make more than 75 Million VISITS TO PUBLIC LIBRARIES and check out over 130 million books, magazines, CDs, DvDs and other educational and informational materials.
THE LIBRARY DEVELOPMENT AND NETWORKING DIVISION EXPANDS PUBLIC ACCESS TO ALL LIBRARIES, ASSISTS LIBRARIES IN SUPPLYING QUALITY INFORMATION SERVICES, AND ENCOURAGES TEXANS TO LEARN ABOUT AND USE THEIR LIBRARIES.
Broadband Technology Opportunities Program Grant Program
In 2013 TSLAC’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant, Technology Expertise, Access and Learning for all Texans (TEAL), was introduced to provide vulnerable Texas populations with enhanced access to public computing facilities and training with the long-term goal of connecting them to information online that can improve their lives. Another goal of the project was to equip librarians to meet the needs of their communities in the areas of digital literacy, workforce development and educational attainment. This federally funded grant ran from August 2010 – July 2013. The project directly supported the activities of 38 sub-recipient libraries and 155 participating sites (referred to as public computer centers, PCCs), and it created 30 new public computer centers.
EDGE Initiative Reimbursements
TSLAC is a founding partner in the EDGE Initiative, a national program that has established benchmarks for public access computing for public libraries. Libraries can take an assessment, receive a score and see how they compare to peer libraries, access recommendations and resources for improvement, establish an action plan, and access templates to provide reports to community organizations. Edge helps libraries show the value they bring to their communities. In 2014 TSLAC provided reimbursements to 69 libraries that had completed the assessment and an action plan to help them address items for improvement in their action plans. Over 200 libraries participated in the Edge program in Texas.
Mobile Technology Reimbursements
In 2013 TSLAC offered a mobile technologies reimbursement program following a 2012 assessment highlighting the need for funding moblie technology in local libaries. Institutions could apply for funding (depending on size and type of library) to assist in implementing mobile technologies in their library. In 2013, subsidies were awarded to 44 districts with funds distributed through 71 libraries. A second round of funding was offered in 2014 and subsidies were awarded to 43 libraries.
Community Engagement and Outreach
As part of longstanding efforts to assist libraries in building capacity to better serve their local communities, the agency used an existing technical assistance position to be able to hire a Community Engagement Administrator in 2014. The duties of this position include working with local libraries to build responsiveness to workforce needs, encouraging local and statewide partnerships with education, business and non-profit groups, and moving libraries to the center of discussions of technology and economic development in their communities.
The 2013 Legislature reinstated funding for online resources for K-12 public school libraries. In FY2014 an advisory committee was formed, a cost share formula devised and a competitive bid for online resources written, bid, and awarded. Databases from Gale were added in June 2014 and resources from Encyclopedia Britannica will be added in June 2015. An educational partner was selected (Education Service Center Region 20) and additional staff hired, and outreach to school districts begun. By the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, over 300 districts had signed up for the program, representing over 90% of all students in Texas.
LSTA Grants 2013-2014
TSLAC provides competitive grant funding to libraries to assist them in developing innovative programs and services to better serve Texans. TSLAC offers five grant program opportunities: Cooperation grants focus on helping libraries and community organizations form cooperative programs; Special Project grants focus on helping libraries reach underserved populations; Impact grants help libraries develop workforce, early literacy, or technology related services; TexTreasures grants help libraries make special collections accessible through digitization and related processes; and Texas Reads grants help public libraries with community reading and literacy programs. In FY2013 the agency awarded 73 grants and in FY2014 awarded 70 grants
Did you know? TSLAC makes efforts to recover missing and alienated state government records on behalf of the citizens of Texas.
TSLAC staff is always on hand to answer patron research and reference requests. In 2014 alone, staff members answered more than 60,000 queries.
THE TEXAS STATE ARCHIVES PRESERVES AND DOCUMENTS THE HERITAGE AND CULTURE OF TEXAS BY IDENTIFYING, COLLECTING, AND MAKING AVAILABLE FOR RESEARCH THE PERMANENTLY VALUABLE OFFICIAL RECORDS OF TEXAS GOVERNMENT, AS WELL AS OTHER SIGNIFICANT HISTORICAL RESOURCES.
In February 2013, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission collaborated with the General Land Office to exhibit the “victory or Death Letter” by William B. Travis at the Alamo, where it was written in 1836. Later in the year, TSLAC partnered with the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum to exhibit drawings and photographs for the 125th anniversary of the Texas State Capitol Building.
Texas Investigates: the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Wounding of Governor John B. Connally opened to the public on October 22, 2013 and featured the suit and shirt worn by the Governor on the day of Kennedy’s asassination. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of our lobby mural, TSLAC invited mural artist Peter Rogers to give a detailed account of his creation of the iconic masterpiece during the premier of the exhibit Texas Moves Toward Statehood”: Stories Behind the Mural. TSLAC hosted the annual meeting of the International Daguerian Society in recognition of Texas in Focus, an exhibit featuring 19th century photographs from the State Archives.
Staff assisted with taping a History Channel program featuring the Texas Constitution and also worked with producers to coordinate a segment on the Texas Declaration of Independence for the PBS series Antiques Roadshow.
Preservation and Access to Government Records
Archives staff assisted the National Archives and Records Administration in transferring 2,000 cubic feet of official records from former Governor George W. Bush to the new presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University on February 4, 2013. TSLAC provided access to nearly 25,000 audio cassette recordings of Texas Senate hearings and debates dating from 1972 to 2006, a two-year digitization and indexing project funded by the federal Library Services and Technology Act.
Staff completed work on several electronic finding aids to improve access to some of the agency’s most requested records, including original fire insurance maps of Texas cities and towns, 19th and 20th century photographs, and over 4,000 items in the Andrew Jackson Houston collection. In January 2014 the agency expanded its hours for the Texas State Archives, Texas Family Heritage Research Center, and the Reference Information Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month to accommodate researchers. Enhancements to the archival storage areas in Austin and Liberty in FY13 addressed specific needs for maps, drawings, flags, art work and other oversized materials.
The suit worn by former Governor John B. Connally during the assassination of President Kennedy receives treatment in the TSLAC conservation laboratory.
The Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center received Preservation Assistance Grants totaling $12,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities in FY2013-2014 which funded a general preservation assessment of the collections and the implementation of environmental improvement recommendations. In FY2014 the Texas Historical Foundation awarded a second $5,000 grant to continue preservation work on early Texas Supreme Court case files.
More than 25,000 AUDIO CASSETTES were digitized as part of the Texas Senate Recordings database project.
Did you know? SLRM offers FREE webinars and online courses, addressing topics such as digital perservation email management and disaster recovery.
If you were to place the 316,000 BOXES stored at the SLRM facility end-to-end they would stretch along Interstate 35 from Austin to San Antonio.THE STATE AND LOCAL RECORDS MANAGEMENT DIVISION HELPS OVER 10,000 STATE AND LOCAL GOvERNMENT AGENCIES IMPLEMENT AND MAINTAIN SOUND RECORDS MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS. SERVICES INCLUDE TRAINING, CONSULTATION, STORAGE, IMAGING, AND ASSISTANCE WITH CREATING AND INTERPRETING RETENTION SCHEDULES.
Training and Consulting
In FY2013-14, the Records Management Assistance unit trained or consulted with approximately 18,000 state and local government personnel through approximately 20,100 contact hours. In addition staff reached out with a new tool, the Texas Record blog. Over 130 different posts on topics from class schedules to frequently asked records management questions were sent to over 1,100 members, up from 600 members at the end of the last biennium. The analysts also condensed and reorganized several forms to make it easier for agencies to submit schedules for review and approval.
Online training courses were updated and 19 records management webinars were developed, delivered and archived as another way to provide training across the state of Texas. These training materials are available for state and local government employees interested in records management training to take advantage of when convenient. TSLAC also partnered with both the Texas Department of Information Resources and the National Archives and Records Administration to host four conferences on electronic records.
At the end of FY2014, 83 agencies were storing 316,000 cubic feet of paper records and 304,000 rolls of microfilm, in addition to utilizing other services provided at the Records Center such as backup tape disaster recovery rotations and the conversion of approximately 4.2 million pages to microfilm. If you were to place the 316,000 boxes end-to-end they would stretch from Austin to San Antonio along Interstate 35. State agencies realized a cost avoidance of $228 million by storing records at the State Records Center in 2013-2014.
The current records tracking system has been in use at the State Records Center without significant change since 2005 and no longer meets the needs of the records center. When the system was purchased, the State Records Center charged a flat fee based on materials occupying space in the Records Center. In FY2011, TSLAC was required by the Legislature to amend its fee schedule to charge for all services, not just storage. The recommendations came from the Legislative Budget Board and the Government Efficiency and Effectiveness Report. In addition to restructuring charges to customers, over $366,000 in General Revenue was removed from SLRM’s budget, which had to be replaced with earned revenue.
As need for a new system became apparent, the division decided to not only seek a replacement system for records center operations but also one that consolidated its tracking systems and retention schedule process. SLRM began work on an RFP for the new system in January of 2013 and awarded a contract in October 2013 to Infolinx Software Solutions. The system will provide an online, real-time records management, cloud-based system. The system will serve as a single records management solution to facilitate TSLAC’s hardcopy, microfilm, and electronic media storage operation; microfilm and scanning production; retention schedule creation and maintenance; training class registrations; and, a billing component to bill for all services provided. TSLAC will have Internet access to all data, features, reports and such other services that are included within the Infolinx Cloud Services purchased by TSLAC. Work continues on customizing the system which will be live in FY2015
AT THE CENTER OF THE TEXAS STATE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES COMMISSION’S CORE VALUES IS AN UNWAVERING DEDICATION TO OUR PATRONS AND FELLOW LIBRARIANS. OUR GOAL IS TO PROVIDE RESOURCES THAT INSPIRE, IGNITE AND ENHANCE THE CAPACITY FOR ACHIEVEMENT OF CURRENT AND FUTURE GENERATIONS IN COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE STATE OF TEXAS.
There is much to be said about the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. I think of them as the Library for Texas Public Libraries. We (librarians) exisit to empower and enrich our communities while TSLAC does the same for libraries within the state of Texas.
-Tracy Luscombe , Director, Van Alstyne Public Library
Every time I have contacted the State Library I have had excellent service with answers to my questions on the same day. I feel the staff has an in-depth knowledge of records management and I’m confident with their answers or explanations.
- Anonymous Survey Response, SLRM
My attachment and affection for TSLAC is old, deep and very real. I am grateful and I suspect you will hear from me again!
- Margaret waring, Director, Comanche Public Library
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission serves as a fantastic resource for all Texans. Five out of five stars!
- Michael Krafka, State Archives Patron
The Texas Talking Book Program has made my husband’s life bearable and has given him back some of his joy in living! Thank you for this wonderful service!
- Anonymous Patron, Texas Talking Book Program