Trails (newsletter)

Texas Report on Archives • Information • Library Services

Trails Number 17 • January 2001

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State Library debuts Friends of Libraries and Archives of Texas


State Librarian visits Rio Grande Valley Libraries


Texas Legislature convenes


Comprehensive higher education resources now available at local libraries


Libraries know just what to do with new computers


State Lirbary selected for model advocacy program


State Library provides 5,000 eBooks


State Librarian appoints Deborah Littrell director of Library Development Division


Sam Houston Center begins restoration of historic church


Employees of the Quarter

State Library debuts Friends of Libraries and Archives of Texas

Many libraries across Texas are fortunate to have a Friends group to help them reach their goals. For the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the development of a statewide Friends organization has been a dream, and indeed, an unfolding story, for several years. When Director and Librarian Peggy D. Rudd arrived at the State Library in Oct. 1999, she diligently gathered all the pieces that had previously been accomplished, and slowly the puzzle has come together.

Now, on the eve of its fruition, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission is pleased to debut the Friends of Libraries and Archives of Texas. The Friends group exists to support the efforts of Texas State Library in achieving its mission. As a nonprofit organization that exists outside the structure of state government, the Friends group has greater flexibility in raising and expending funds to target special needs that state resources cannot address.

During their Sep. 19, 2000 board meeting, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission recognized the Friends of Libraries and Archives of Texas as an official "friend" of the State Library. The Commission approved the Friends' Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. Currently, State Library staff is working to obtain the necessary 501(c)(3) designation.

The Friends group hosts its first annual membership meeting on Mar. 29, 2001, in conjunction with the Texas Library Association Annual Conference in San Antonio.

The Friends and Trustees Round Table of TLA will cosponsor the meeting. The Friends of Libraries and Archives of Texas is exciting organization that holds great potential to connect the library, history, and museum communities across the state and beyond, while providing resources that strengthen statewide library and archives services offered by the State Library.

To learn more about the Friends group, or to be added to its mailing list, email friends@tsl.texas.gov , or call 512-463-5514.

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State Librarian visits Rio Grande Valley libraries

----Opens important dialogue about region's needs

In December, Director and Librarian Peggy D. Rudd completed a week-long itinerary throughout the Rio Grande Valley region and interacted with librarians, local government officials, and library supporters. Rudd visited 21 libraries, from Brownsville to Del Rio, Dec. 11-15. "My main objective was to listen to their successes and challenges in providing library service to their communities," says Rudd.

The trip had several outcomes, according to Rudd, including a better understanding of the particular needs of libraries within the Valley region, as well as areas in which the State Library could fill a stronger supporting role.

Rudd was struck by the critical role played by these libraries within their communities. Across the board, they are key in providing literacy and GED classes, tutoring, citizenship and ESL classes, and community referral services. Many libraries serve as unofficial after-school centers, and in some cases, are one of the few safe places for children to go after school. Computer access within these libraries provides the majority of the patrons their only access to technology and the Internet. "The libraries in these communities serve as the link to the outside world, says Rudd. Some of the libraries are also providing free library service to patrons living in Mexico.

Technical assistance is a major area of concern. Funding levels seem to be at the root of the problem: those with resources to do so have a technical person(s) employed at the library. Those that do not must rely on their library system, the city or the county to assist with technology-related problems, sometimes causing disruptions in the service to patrons. Brownsville Public Library has taken a leadership role, serving as Internet Service Provider for 2- libraries (and counting) in Cameron and Hidalgo Counties, as well as for the City of Brownsville. The technical staff at Brownsville Public Library routinely assists librarians in the area with technical and telecommunications issues.

One constant theme reverberating throughout the trip was the unfailing determination and hope of each library's staff to continue to meet the needs of its community, despite the obstacles facing each. "The Valley libraries are a model of cooperation. These librarians are very creative and have accomplished a great deal on a very limited budget; but, they face many challenges and desperately need more resources to adequately meet the changing needs of their communities," says Rudd.

For Rudd, the hardest part is now how to address some of the critical issues raised during the trip. Funding of the Lone Star Libraries program by the 77th Texas Legislature would definitely bring needed funding into the area, funding each community could use to meet some of the most pressing needs. That funding would not, however, address construction needs. Rudd intends to develop a plan for obtaining funding for the Public Library Fund after the legislative sessions concludes.

Rudd hopes to find stronger solutions for collaboration between the libraries, the system office, and State Library staff to offer expertise and consulting services more effectively to the region. Rudd notes, "Obviously, there is much work to be done. The trip began some important dialogue both out in the field and here at the State Library. The new challenge is how we use that dialogue to facilitate positive change for the benefit of all Texas libraries."

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Texas Legislature Convenes

----Lawmakers to discuss State Library's budget

The 77th Texas Legislature convened in Austin on Jan. 9, and the Capitol is again bustling with activity. The State Library becomes part of the bustle the end of January, when Director and Librarian Peggy D. Rudd appears before the Senate Finance Committee to testify on behalf the agency.

The State Library is requesting &68,059,975 for the biennium beginning Sep. 1, 2001. These funds will support current programs. The bas budget request includes $20 million derived from an interagency contract with the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund Board for the Library of Texas initiative and $8 million for support of the ten regional library systems.

In addition to the bas budget request, the State Library is also requesting $41,969,944 to implement new statewide initiatives and expand current services. The agency's five exceptional item requests are outlined below:

Loan Star Libraries. Lone Star Libraries is a proposal to increase our state's investment in public libraries. The grants-in-aid program would make available $20 million each year of the biennium to public libraries in Texas to improve library service statewide, ensure that all Texans have access to information technology and resources, and combat the damaging effects of the digital divide. Requested amount for biennium: $40,400,548

Library of Texas Database. The Library Resource Sharing Division's request will supplement existing funds and ensure that database funding for the Library of Texas initiative states at $.50 per capita (thus accounting for expected population increases). Requested amount for biennium: $560,500

E-Records and Archival Appraisal. The Archives and Information Services Division's request will enhance the archival resources available to historians, researchers and the general public and will help the state agency provide government information. Addition staff persons are requested to provide electronic records appraisal service and support for digital imaging, allowing the agency to meet a growing number of research requests and maintain growing collections. Requested amount for biennium: $335,744

Talking Book Program Services. The Talking Book Program's request will improve the program's ability to provide library service to the estimated 250,000 Texans with disabilities eligible for the service. This funding would provide for additional staffing and equipment to meet the high demand for service, as well as implement outreach and educational services for the targeted population and the service providers who interact with them. Requested amount for the biennium: $173,152

Texas Reads License Plate. The agency must gain approval to collect and spend any money generated through the sale of the license plate, which will support reading and literacy programs. The exceptional item (listed as an estimated amount of potential revenue) requests that and account be officially established for this purpose. Requested amount for biennium: $500,000

For more information on the Texas State Library and Archives Commission's requested budget, please call 512-463-5460.

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Comprehensive higher education resources now available at local libraries

The Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation (TG) announces the statewide awareness and education campaign Know Before you Go: Unlocking the door to Your Future, in cooperation with Texas public libraries. The program connects students and their families with information about college enrollment, student financial aid and money management. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Texas Library Association helped TG involve more than 300 Texas public libraries in the program.

Know Before You Go includes a comprehensive resource toolkit to help librarians provide higher education resource information. TG sent each participating library a comprehensive resource notebook containing bibliographies, informative Web site, and library programs and events ideas to increase awareness within the community.

Said Jeanette Larson, former Library Development director, "Finding information about college can be challenging. Libraries serve as a prime suited to help connect the right information with the right person."

Two resource highlights include the Texas Financial Aid Information Center, a toll-free one-stop shop for information about all state and federal financial aid programs such as grants, scholarships, college work-study, and student loans. The Adventures in Education Web site provides guidance in college admission and financial aid procedures, career skills assessment, and resume building.

Learn more about Know Before You Go: Unlocking the Door to Your Future, and view a list of participating public libraries at the Adventures in Education Web site: www.adventuresineducation.org.

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Libraries know just what to do with new computers

The 365 Texas libraries who received computers and training from the Gates Foundation KNOW the value of technology access that computers bring to their communities. They have seen first hand the benefits technology provides its patrons, sometimes in profound ways they could not have predicted. Here are some of their success stories.

The Rankin Public Library reports an estimated 15% increase in library traffic since installing a Spanish language computer. The addition of computers in the Dawson County Library saves patrons an hour-long drive they would otherwise have to make to get Internet access at another library. A library staff person at Driscoll Public Library in Devine says that technology access at the library has "opened up the entire world to Devine area residents."

Patrons from Amarillo to Brownsville report that their local libraries are non-threatening environments in which to learn to use computers. The Chico Public Library provides special classes to help senior citizens "get online." Haltom City has a computer with software specially designed for use by the visually impaired. The availability of this computer is impacting the library's services so positively that staff is converting a second computer for use by this group.

The success stories go on and on. Director and Librarian Peggy D. Rudd says, "The addition of so many computers and training from Gates Foundation reinforces the library's role as the information center within the community. Clearly communities turn to libraries to provide the benefits that technology brings."

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State Library selected for model advocacy program

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission was among nine state libraries nationwide selected to participate in a model advocacy program designed by Libraries for the Future (LFF). The project, Communities and Libraries Program: An Advocacy Training Program, will be implemented in Texas, New York, Arizona, Iowa, Georgia, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.

The project, supported by a grant to LFF from the Viburnum Foundation, provides advocacy training events developed by the State Library with its cooperation partners and LFF. The highlight of these training events will be the active participation of volunteer mentors from throughout the United States.

Director and Librarian Peggy D. Rudd said of the project, "Texas has had a very strong citizen advocacy program in place, supported through the Texas State Library and Archives Commission as well as the Texas Library Association. The Communities and Libraries Program, with its emphasis on citizen participation, building, and sustaining community collaborations, and establishing public-private partnerships, brings an added dimension to our advocacy program. As a result of their multi-state focus, Libraries for the Futures in a unique position to bring the best practices and outstanding trainers from across the country to enhance the work Texas advocates do in supporting of their libraries."

Libraries for the Future selected states for the project based on applications submitted by state librarians that described their current advocacy efforts and continuing advocacy needs. A commitment to building a strong state advocacy infrastructure was key to the selection of participating states. The Library Development Division of the State Library will administer the project in Texas.

Communities and Libraries: An Advocacy Training Program is organized by Libraries for the Future, a national nonprofit organization. LFF mobilizes private and public support for programs with libraries, schools and community partners to improve information access, literacy, and media skills.

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State Library provides 5,000 eBooks

The Texas State Library recently made available 5,000 eBooks from netLibrary Inc., as part of the expanding TexShare Database program. The TexShare program provides electronic resources to registered Texas public, academic and state government agency libraries, and their patrons.

eBooks are published books in digital form. They don't require and special devices to be read--- patron can access and read them directly from a computer screen. A committee representing a cross section of academic and public libraries selected the eBook titles aimed for a broad range of ages and interests, including a special Texana collection.

Why provide eBooks? A recent article in Computers in Libraries projected that in 10 years, eBooks will outsell traditional print books. eBooks provide an alternative for students and other library patrons who want fast searching across resources, but don't want to lug heavy books home from the library. For librarians, eBooks save shelf space and staff time, and since eBooks are automatically checked in and out, there are no problems with overdue or lost items. Patrons will also be able to access the collection from their homes or offices after registering as net Library users in their local libraries.

For more information about the new eBook collection, contact Networked Information Coordinator Beverley Shirley at bshirley@tsl.texas.gov.

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State Librarian Appoints Deborah Littrell director of Library Development Division

Director and Librarian Peggy D. Rudd announced in December the appointment of Deborah Littrell as division director for the Library Development Division of the Teas State Library and Archives Commission.

Littrell has served the State Library as TexShare Coordinator in its Library Resource Sharing Division since Apr. 1999 and was instrumental in the integration of public libraries in TexShare. Littrell has 25 years of public and academic library experience in Texas, Illinois, Ohio, and Tennessee.

"Ms. Littrell has contributed immensely to the State library as TexShare coordinator. She brings considerable experience to her new role as Library Development division director, and I am looking forward to working with her in this new capacity," said Rudd of the appointment.

Littrell fills the position formerly held by Jeanette Larson. Larson served admirable as division director from 1198-2000. Highlights of her tenure include the development of state standards for school libraries and extensive collaboration with library organizations on behalf of the State Library. Larson accepted a position at the Austin Public Library.

The Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission works to expand public access to all libraries, assists libraries in supplying quality information services, and encourages Texans to learn about and use their libraries. Deborah can be reached in the Library development office at 512-463-5465.

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Sam Houston Center begins restoration of historic church

By Robert Schaadt, Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center

The Atascosito Historical Society recently raised $29,080 during it's first fundraiser for the restoration of 1898 St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Liberty. "The kick-off event was a great success," stated Society President Sandra J. Pickett. "Historical and community spirited individuals and businesses from Liberty and many other places contributed generously."

In 1994 the congregation of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Liberty donated their original 1898 church building to the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center when the congregation decided to construct a new church at the original location on Trinity Street in Liberty, Texas. The Atascosito Historical Society, the nonprofit organization which assists the Sam Houston Center with special projects, accepted the responsibility for the restoration and maintenance of the church.

"We are planning several other fund raising events in the near future including a Sunday chili dinner this winter and a spring event on the grounds of the Sam Houston Center," added President Pickett. "Our goal is to raise $100,000 for this project to fund its actual restoration and perpetual maintenance. We anticipate raising additional funds through the generosity of our members and other friends." Special gifts will be recognized by permanent plaques at levels of giving as follows: Benefactors ($5,000 and more), Sponsors ($1,000 and more) and Patrons ($500 and more). All gifts of any amount will be acknowledged in a Book of Appreciation.

The restoration work will begin soon. When complete, the church will be used as the Sam Houston Center's visitor orientation center and meeting facility available for non-profit and educational organizations. The historical restoration of the old St. Stephen's church will enhance the interpretation of Southeast Texas collections and historical documents at the Center. Exhibits and displays will be featured at the church. Along Duncan House (1848), the church is an important link in defining the development and growth of the area in the 19th century.

The Atascosito Historical Society, organized in 1973, has served as the "Friends of the Sam Houston Center" since it raised the funds, over $800,000 to build the Center in 1976-1977. For more information about the Sam Houston Center, visit www.tsl.texas.gov/shc/index.html.

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Our Employees of the Quarter

Nominations for this award are made by fellow employees and reviewed by the Employee Recognition Committee. Recipients receive a certificate at the Quarterly wards Ceremony and one day's administrative leave.

First Quarter, FY2001

LaFaye Black, microfilm camera operator, is cited for her high quality of work in her daily duties of microfilming state government documents. During the quarter, Black personally filmed 511,319 documents with less than one quarter of one percent error rate! According to coworkers, Black's skill as a camera operator is unmatched, and she consistently produces excellent work with minimal supervision. Her peers consider her a valued asset to the unit.

Networked Services Developer Allen Mullen has been referred to as a "national treasure" within the library community for his work developing the Texas Records and Information Locator service, or TRAILS (www.tsl.texas.gov/trail), a sophisticated online search engine for Texas state government information. Mullen's dedicated efforts resulted in a service considered nationally as a model government information locator service. Mullen is a recognized national leader in the development of pace setting Web-based library services.

Fourth Quarter, FY2000

Catherine Brush, former Texas documents librarian, assumed primary responsibility for a collection of more than 200,000 items, in addition to fulfilling reference request from the public. As described by her peers, Brush had an "uncanny ability to analyze a question, cut through the frills, find the answer, and fill the request." During Oct. - Dec. 2000, she accurately and quickly responded to more than 800 e-mail requests. Brush served on an agency-wide Web Team and represented the agency on the State Agency Council to the Governor's Commission for Women. She recently accepted a position at the Legislative Reference Library in Austin.

Paula A. Ruiz, circulation assistant supervisor, is cited for her high quality of work in her daily duties of receiving and filling book orders for patron of Talking Book Program. Ruiz' dedication to customer service recently aided the program tremendously, as the Talking Book Program experienced several workflow shifts due to staff vacancies. Ruiz quickly learned new tasks and volunteered to work overtime to ensure a continues high level of customer service. Ruiz' coworkers marvel at her speed and accuracy when completing tasks and can count on her to "get the job done."

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