Service Population Demographics
User groups served by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission can be broadly categorized as the general public, libraries and librarians, state agencies and local governments, and individuals with visual, physical, and learning disabilities. Historically, these groups have relied on various agency programs to access information and perform work-related tasks. Those seeking information are increasingly turning to the Web for answers. As a result, the agency's customer base has grown exponentially. Increased awareness of services and heightened expectations for rapid response times also result in increased demands from patron groups.
Four units within the Archives and Information Services Division-State Archives, Reference/Documents, Genealogy, and the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty-serve Texans with access to historical sources, government documents, and research assistance available nowhere else.
In FY1999, the Talking Book Program (TBP) served 20,841 patrons, 8.42 percent of the estimated eligible population. An estimated 278,530 Texans were eligible for service from the program in FY1999 due to visual, physical, and learning disabilities preventing them from reading standard print. The number of Texans eligible for TBP service increases annually. While services have recently been enhanced by the availability of almost 3,000 digitized Braille books on the Web, many patrons with disabilities do not have the means to purchase the necessary hardware and software to access these materials in their homes.
Programs and activities provided by the Library Development Division currently assist 531 public libraries, which serve over 93 percent of the state's population. About 1.3 million Texans (6.7 percent of the population) have no public library service available. In addition, only about 15.3 percent of the population live in the service area of a library that meets or exceeds the average number of circulations per capita for the ten largest states.
The statewide Texas Reading Club, co-sponsored by the agency and local public and school libraries, serves over 440,000 children in Texas each year. The Club provides public libraries promotional materials and a program manual to establish summer reading programs for children. School libraries later use the materials during the school year. Staff also assists 1,864 public librarians and library directors through various agency programs, including consulting services, in-person workshops, and the division's professional collection.
TexShare, coordinated by the Library Resource Sharing Division, serves academic and public libraries throughout the state. TexShare services include a courier that provides two-day delivery of books statewide, along with electronic databases and a statewide borrower's card.
The TexShare program was transferred to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission on September 1, 1997. At that time, TexShare included 52 institutions. Legislation enacted by the 75th Legislature admitted community colleges in 1997, and was expanded again by legislation in 1999 to serve public libraries. The number of participating institutions has increased to 600 over a three-year period.
Approximately 9,400 state and local government offices currently use records management services. The steadily growing perception among governments that information is an asset and a resource that requires careful management has created a steady demand for the agency's records management consulting and training services. State agencies and public universities also rely on the Library and Archives Commission to help them determine which of their records have permanent, archival value. The increased use of new information technologies among government offices creates a greater demand for advanced and intensive consultations and training sessions.