Beyond 2000: Books, Bytes, and Beginnings

Overview of Agency Scope and Functions

Statutory Basis | Historical Perspective

Affected Populations | Main Functions | Public Perception

A. Statutory Basis

State of Texas Legislation and Statutes

Overall: Government Code, Chapter 441, Subchapter A

State records: Government Code, Chapter 441, Subchapter L

Local government records: Local Government Code, Title 6, Subtitle C; Government Code, Chapter 441, Subchapters F and J

State publications: Government Code, Chapter 441, Subchapter G

Print access aids: Government Code, Chapter 441, Subchapter H

Library systems: Government Code, Chapter 441, Subchapter I

Central service to visually disabled: Human Resources Code, Chapter 91, Subchapter E

TexShare library consortium: Government Code 441, Subchapter M

Texas Historical Records Advisory Board: Government Code, Chapter 441, Subchapter N

United States Legislation and Statutes

Service to blind and other physically disabled persons: 2 U.S.C.A. §135b

Federal funding for library services and technology: 20 U.S.C.A. §9101-9176

Federal documents: 19 U.S.C.A. §44

B. Historical Perspective

1895 - U.S. and Texas governments agree to exchange government documents

1909 - Texas Library and Historical Commission is created; later renamed Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) in 1979

1919 - Legislation regarding county public libraries is enacted

1931 - National Library Service for adults who are blind is established and TSLAC begins providing Talking Book services

1947 - A state records management program is established

1952 - Children who are blind become eligible for Talking Book service

1956 - Federal legislation and funding to improve local library service begins

1962 - Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building opens and federal Depository Library Act establishes regional depository system

1966 - Persons with physical disabilities other than blindness become eligible for the Talking Book service

1969 - Legislative Reference Library is separated from the agency

1969 - Library Systems Act establishes a regional, cooperative program to improve public libraries

1971 - Local government records function is enacted

1972 - State Records Center opens

1974 - Persons with organic dysfunction resulting in learning disabilities become eligible for Talking Book service

1977 - Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty opens

1988 - State Records Center expansion is completed and Talking Book Program circulation facility opens adjacent to the center

1989 - Local Government Records Act is enacted

1994 - North Texas Regional Library System becomes the first non-profit organization awarded a Library Systems Act grant

1995 - Legislation assigns responsibility for the development of standards for school library programs to this agency

1995 - Legislation adds electronic publications and Internet to responsibilities of agency

1996 - Federal Library Services and Construction Act expires; Library Services and Technology Act is enacted

1996 - Texas Book Festival introduced to raise funds for public libraries and to encourage reading in Texas

1997 - Legislation allows the creation of library tax districts to establish and fund public libraries

1997 - New state records preservation and management law is enacted

1997 - Legislation transfers responsibility of TexShare academic library resource sharing consortium to the agency

1999 - Legislation authorizes integration of public libraries into the TexShare academic library resource sharing consortium

C. Affected Populations

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides services available to all Texas residents. The agency's collections are also available for use across the nation and the world by means of interlibrary loan, Internet, phone, and on-site service. Specifically, current services affect the following populations.

Patrons of agency collections

  • Patrons who use the current and historical materials in the State Archives, genealogy, and reference/documents collections, which together house the most complete library of state and federal publications in Texas

  • Patrons of the agency's Internet electronic-library information
  • Staff of libraries across the state who use the materials in the Library Science Collection to further their professional development

  • Patrons with visual, physical, and learning disabilities, including the organizations serving them, who use the Talking Book Program and its Disability Information and Referral Center

  • Students, faculty, and staff of institutions of higher education and patrons of public libraries who use the TexShare library resource sharing consortium

Groups subject to agency rule-making authority

Government agencies with documents eligible for preservation by the State Archives and Regional Historical Resource Depository Program, and whose other records must be managed according to the guidelines, rules, and retention schedules developed by the State and Local Records Management Division

  • State agencies and state-supported or state-sponsored institutions subject to the requirements of the Texas State Publication Depository Law

  • Public libraries throughout the state subject to rules developed by the Library Development Division, including those for administering the Library Systems Act and for accrediting county libraries and certifying their librarians

  • Institutions of higher education and public libraries participating in TexShare

  • School districts and school librarians who improve school library programs through the Library and Archives Commission's school library standards

Direct customers of agency services

  • Government agencies that are customers of the State Records Center and its Imaging Services Bureau

  • Government officials and public librarians who participate in the State and Local Records Management and Library Development training and consulting services

  • Library professionals who use the agency's job-listing service

  • Persons attending conferences and professional meetings featuring presentations by agency staff

  • Member libraries in the Texas State Publications Depository network that receive the state publications collected and distributed by the agency

  • Readers of the Library and Archives Commission's publications, including library and records management professionals and the general public

  • Visitors to the Capitol Complex who visit the Lorenzo de Zavala building and its exhibits, as well as visitors to the resources and exhibits of the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty

Indirect customers of agency services

  • Public libraries and their patrons throughout the state, whose activities are funded in part by agency-administered state and federal grant programs

  • School students and educators in schools where programs are improved through the Library and Archives Commission's standards for school library programs
  • Children (and often their parents and teachers) participating in the agency's annual Texas Reading Club program

  • Persons receiving materials distributed through the agency's interlibrary loan network

  • Citizens serving on library system advisory councils around the state, whose activities are administered through the agency and the Library Systems Act

Other affected groups

  • Community volunteers who help the agency meet its goals

  • Those whose right to access government information is preserved by the activities of the agency's public records and information services programs

  • Those whose interest in learning about the state's history is made possible by the preservation of historical information in the State Archives

  • Vendors marketing to records management and library organizations

  • Professionals in the library field, and libraries seeking to recruit them for employment, whose professional opportunities are furthered by the existence of agency funding and development programs

D. Main Functions

Library services

  • Improve local public library service and cooperation among libraries of all types

  • Operate a statewide interlibrary loan service and assist libraries to connect to the Internet

  • Facilitate and promote public library cooperation and development through regional library systems

  • Loan books and magazines in special formats to persons with disabilities

  • Manage regional federal and state publications depository programs

  • Deliver electronic information about Texas state government to the public

  • Provide information and materials to state government officials and the public

  • Provide assistance to local and state agency library staffs and all other types of libraries

  • Teach customers -- both remotely and on-site -- how to use library information resources effectively

  • Coordinate library resource sharing activities among academic and public libraries


  • Identify, acquire, preserve, and make available state records and historically significant materials

  • Operate a network of regional research centers for historically valuable local records and artifacts

Public records

  • Establish rules and guidelines regarding retention and preservation of state and local government records

  • Operate a facility for the storage of state records and the imaging of state and local records

  • Provide records management and preservation training and technical assistance to state and local governments

E. Public Perception

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is a very complex agency with a wide variety of constituents. Each constituent's knowledge of the agency is influenced by the nature of the services accessed. Public librarians, for example, are aware of the Library Development Division's consulting services and continuing education program; academic librarians, on the other hand, are much more aware of TexShare services.

Studies have repeatedly shown that the general public has a very high regard for libraries and believes that communities are enhanced by the presence of libraries. The Library and Archives Commission believes that the public's good will toward libraries also positively influences the public's view of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and its services.

The agency often serves in a supportive role in the delivery of many of its services, and this often impedes the public's direct knowledge of the agency and its programs and services. For example, the State and Local Records Management (SLRM) division provides consulting services and continuing education opportunities for state and local government records management officers so that they can manage their records more efficiently and effectively. The agency's services to government employees translate into efficiencies that save time and tax dollars. However, the general public - who is the ultimate beneficiary - is rarely aware that these services exist, much less the indirect impact that these services have on them.

It is very important that the public perception of the agency be both clear and positive; therefore, the Library and Archives Commission has concentrated its marketing efforts to clarify and promote its identity as a single agency with common goals. Operating under the motto of "Making information work for all Texans," the various agency divisions have worked together to make the statement a reality. The development and use of a new logo, uniform standards for agency publications, an agency-wide information packet, and hosting agency-sponsored booths at major constituent conferences (such as the Texas Library Association and the Texas Municipal League) provide a consistent, single message to client groups that emphasizes the entire spectrum of the agency's duties and services. The agency's new Web site, organized from the customer's perspective by topic rather than by organizational divisions, is another example of the agency's efforts to project a consolidated image.

return to top

Agency Strategic Plan Table of Contents

Organizational Aspects

Page last modified: July 1, 2011