History of the State Records Center

Author: Michael Shea

The history of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission began in the 1830s when Texas was still a Republic. In 1909, the Texas Library and Historical Commission was created to direct the State Library, aid and encourage public libraries, and collect materials related to Texas history.

Land at 4400 Shoal Creek Blvd

Land at 4400 Shoal Creek Blvd

In 1947, the Texas Legislature established a program in the Texas State Library to manage the state’s public records, preserve its essential records, and reduce the costs of maintaining active and semi-active public records by providing storage. In 1951, the agency received funding to lease storage space, and in 1969, the appropriations bill passed by the Legislature called for construction of a state records storage center.

Black and white photos of the original 20-acre building site at 4400 Shoal Creek show the gently sloping, wooded area next to Shoal Creek (just south of 45th Street) and the slab that was poured for the first warehouse in 1971.

The State Records Center was opened in 1972, and the Records Management Division moved its operation to the new location. At the recommendation of the Records Preservation Advisory Committee, the budget was expanded to increase staff and operating expenses at the Records Center to house the deluge of records being sent by state agencies.

Empty Stacks

Empty stacks

Over 52,000 shelves were labeled and over 70,000 boxes and bound volumes were renumbered, using a modern index, retrieval, and inventory control system. The original warehouse stored over 200,000 cubic feet of records. The photo shows the shelves before boxes were stored.

As the center approached full-storage capacity, plans were made to expand the facility. In the November 1986 meeting of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, meeting notes show that the construction contract proposed the 80,200 square foot addition to the Records Center. pdf of meeting notes.

The purpose of the Records Management Division program was to centralize state agency efforts for records maintenance and microfilming; to reduce all costs for storage, personnel support and microfilming to control state records; to document and publish records management standards and guidelines for state and local governments; to provide records management training and technical advice; and to expand Records Center storage to accommodate transfers from state agencies.

Some of the programs have changed over the years. For example, we no longer destroy records on-site. The destructions are currently processed by Workquest,(Formerly TIBH) and the facility and grounds are managed by the Texas Facilities Commission.

In 2011 the State Legislature approved storage for Local Governments at the State Records Center. The Center has entered into storage and imaging agreements with several local governments as well.  The State Records Center can now ingest and service records for Agencies and Local Governments from outside the Austin area by utilizing scan on demand, and sending the digital files via secure file transfer protocol. (SFTP)

TexLinxOne of the main advantages of the State Records Center is cost effective records storage. Economy is achieved through the use of high density shelving, which provides maximum use of space and assures efficiency through orderly arrangement. In 2015 the State Records Center began using a new inventory tracking tool called Texlinx which has allowed customers the ability to see index information for all their stored records, giving them better oversight and control of their stored records.

In addition to storing state records, we continue to offer a wide array of imaging services from microfilming to digital imaging of paper or filmed records as well as digital archive writing (creating film from digital images). While the Government Information Analyst Unit is primarily housed in the Lorenzo deZavala building, they are frequent visitors and offer the State Records Center staff physical assistance whenever called upon.

Recent upgrades include a perimeter fence and modern, monitored camera system, as well as state of the art motion and intrusion detection security system. HVAC upgrades in 2015 have replaced aging systems with more modern and robust implementations, affording tighter control of the temperature and humidity within the center.

Due to the current overwhelming need for state and local physical records storage in Central Texas, TSLAC leadership has begun to explore expansion and satellite locations for growth. A long-term expansion project on site at 4400 Shoal Creek Blvd and the conversion of an existing state property for a short-term space solution are both being considered in early 2019.

The purpose of the Records Center is to continue to serve the state of Texas and its citizens by preserving the record of state government. We are committed to exploring new technology and using all available resources to us to succeed in fulfilling that mission now and going forward. We continue to strive to produce cost effective, secure and simple storage and imaging solutions for state agencies and local governments across Texas.

If you or your staff is interested in storage services, preservation microfilming, or digital imaging or questions concerning records management training, please contact our staff for assistance.

Storage: records@tsl.texas.gov

Imaging: imaging@tsl.texas.gov

Records Management Assistance: slrminfo@tsl.texas.gov