TexShare Advisory Board Meeting
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
1201 Brazos, Room 314
April 22, 2005
1. Ms. Rudd introduced Commission Chairman Pickett. Chairman Pickett thanked the TexShare Advisory Board (TSAB) for their commitment to libraries in Texas, and reinforced importance of TexShare
2. Approved minutes from Jan. 28, 2005 meeting
3. No public comment
4. Legislative Update: Rudd reported on status of funding requests before the legislature. TSLAC will send an email to TSAB members that can be passed onto their legislators. Also, the Texas Library Association (TLA) has a one page document related to funding.
5. Strategic Plan Issues:
a. Vision & mission discussion:
Discussion of persons not served by any public library, funding for public libraries, Loan Star Libraries grants, and the role of TexShare in providing service to persons not served by any public library. The TexShare program will continue to focus on service through libraries, but will also explore alternatives.
b. Relationship vis a vis other library consortia:
Issue (a) How do we expand the variety of databases offered through TexShare? Discussion of the need to give guidance to the Electronic Information Working Group (EIWG) regarding TexSelect database program and inter-consortial agreements. Shirley asked for a vision of what the outcome of a service to track library consortia should be. Shirley asked where does the board want TSLAC to go in regards to TexSelect. Anderson suggested that smaller groups could negotiate database prices. Shirley asked if Amigos would be able to assist sub-groups in getting resources. Juergens replied that Amigos is used to helping subgroups and advising libraries to join subgroups.
Issue (c) To what extent should TexShare act as a “clearinghouse” to bring together libraries that want to purchase particular databases? Avila and Waukechon reported on TexZine. It is a regular update service of announcements from database vendors. There was discussion of how small consortia can work together to negotiate better prices from vendors. Two concrete suggestions emerged: (1) A working group could be appointed to identify consortia to partner with TexShare. (2) A Web application could be used to track potential partners and the databases for which they have consortial contracts. TSLAC will work with Amigos to develop a prototype Web application and present something back to the board.
Issue (d) What will be the nature of a partnership with K-12 libraries? K-12 schools vary greatly in their size and resources. More information is needed about the K-12 infrastructure. TEA no longer has a technology department and is no longer a source of information about K-12 database needs. It is not clear what K-12 schools expect from TexShare besides database services. The board believes that there needs to be a meeting with K-12 stakeholders to facilitate a process for integration of the K-12 community into the database group-purchasing program. There was consensus that K-12 school libraries needed to have representatives present at meetings of the Advisory Board.
Issues (b&f) Should TexShare restructure the database service to provide more of a “cafeteria plan” whereby libraries are presented with a list of databases from which to choose rather than a pre-set core? Do the benefits of a single core set of databases outweigh the benefits of having database cores targeted by audience (e.g. public, academic, medical)? After discussion the board determined that TexShare should continue to be committed to a common core, but take into account interests of various segments.
Issue (e) What will be the options for libraries to continue to get databases in the future in case of reduced funding? Discussion of increasing fees for databases. EIWG can poll TexShare libraries on the subject.
6. Reviewed dates for future meetings – next meeting is July 8, 2005 and the fall meeting will be Sept. 30, 2005. The rest of the year’s meetings will be decided early in FY06.
7. Sunset Focus Group: Seidenberg (Reporting for Pickett) -- Pickett visited Representative Pitts. She told him our priority was money for TexShare. Pitts told his aid to move it up on the priority list. Ms. Picket also visited Representative Gattis and Senator Whitmire. Need to send one page summary regarding TexShare database needs to these legislators’ offices.
Ms. Rudd explained that the basic question of the Sunset Review in 2007 is “Does agency need to exist?” A process is under way to answer that question. Self-evaluation report is the first step. We need to identify policy issues that need to be brought to table during review.
Responses to Focus Group Interview Questions:
1) What do you find most challenging in your library with respect to resource sharing?
TexShare Advisory Board, strategic partners, and working group membership include librarians from academic libraries, public libraries, and medical libraries as well as persons from the public. There were more representatives of academic libraries at this focus group than from other membership categories. While generally the responses are applicable across membership type, one can see an “academic library” focus.
TexShare members overwhelmingly find themselves challenged by the demands of delivering information in an electronic environment. They face the polar challenges of instructing the unsophisticated electronic user while grappling with the expectations of the technically astute generation that wants everything delivered in full text immediately to their homes or in their electronic classroom. Added to this, technology becomes obsolete very quickly. Library budgets do not keep up with these demands, and administrators are neither aware of nor responsive to the difficulties generated by these challenges.
Also mentioned was the difficulty of getting TexShare member institutions to take action to put the ideology of resource sharing into action.
2) What do you think are the strengths of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in the areas of library resource sharing?
TexShare stakeholders felt that TSLAC’s role as a central governmental agency with unprejudiced interest across library type is a major asset. Because of this role, TSLAC can bring diverse library types together and provide leadership and advocacy for libraries in Texas. Its commission can take on an important political advocacy role. In this role, TSLAC has authority to develop standards and benchmarks and to collect and compile data and statistics.
Participants also highlighted particular TSLAC programs that are important to the Texas library community and to Texans. These include consulting and continuing education for librarians and library staff, preservation of historically valuable documents, and a “provider of last resort” for state government publications.
Finally, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission benefits the state and its libraries financially. By brining libraries together, it maximizes the buying power of tax dollars, while assuring equitable access to information between ”have” and “have not” library communities. It is authorized to administer federal library funds.
3) In your view, what could the Texas State Library and Archives Commission improve upon in the area of library resource sharing?
Group responses indicate three directives to TSLAC: (1) Do more of the good things you are doing. (2) Expand into new areas of resource sharing. (3) Do more outreach.
Participants want TSLAC to provide more resources and more face-to-face training. They would like TSLAC to do more regarding the preservation and conservation of documents. TSLAC consulting activities need to expand to provide more assistance to new libraries as well as to existing libraries coping with new problems, such as changing demographics (e.g. the growing Hispanic population, aging population, rural population drain). Participants feel TSLAC should redouble its partnership with other library agencies in attracting a diverse workforce to the profession.
In addition to expanding current programs, group responses indicate that there are new areas of resource sharing where TSLAC could provide leadership and facilitation. There was interest in expanding the central purchasing function currently exercised with database purchases to other items, such as computers (following the model established by the Gates project), Spanish language books, etc. There was also interest in TSLAC taking on a role in coordination of statewide digitization efforts. Finally, there was support for strengthening library development and resource sharing in a multi-type library environment, especially regarding a more active role with school libraries.
Perhaps the strongest message delivered by this focus group was the need for more outreach regarding the valuable services provided by TSLAC and Texas libraries. Specific suggestions for outreach activities included traditional public awareness materials such as public service announcements; more ambitious events, like hosting a public awareness summit; and became more creative with the suggestion of sponsoring a traveling Internet café.
The group acknowledged the challenges TSLAC faces in taking on more duties: the need for adequate resources and physical facilities with a shrinking pot of financial resources and the need for more staff and higher salaries.
4) Do we need to pursue further integration of K-12 into TexShare programs? What about other types of libraries? What are major issues to address regarding TexShare expansion?
TexShare stakeholders felt that, in the absence of any other central, coordinating agency in charge of K-12 library support, that TSLAC should integrate K-12 libraries into its library development and resource sharing services. They acknowledged that there would be some major hurdles in accomplishing this integration. The K-12 audience may require specialized electronic resources and specialized staff expertise. Decisions would need to be made regarding representation of school libraries on the advisory board. Because there is no funding available for librarians to travel to advisory board meetings, it may be difficult to find persons representing small or rural school libraries. This problem is further exacerbated by the trouble school librarians have taking time away from the school library while school is in session. Additionally, libraries of all types will face the issue of acceptance – current TexShare members would need to accept the new K-12 constituency and K-12 libraries would need to feel that they “belong” to the TexShare community. Group members suggested that TSLAC should explore ways to partner with Education Service Centers to help work through these and other obstacles to providing services to K-12 libraries.
The group acknowledged that other types of libraries have expressed interest in joining TexShare, but did not discuss details or priorities for involving other types of libraries in the consortium.
5) What is the role of TSLAC in supporting the Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative (THDI)?
Participants generally saw THDI as a logical next iteration of TexTreasures. They see TSLAC as an appropriate host for the activities of the initiative, with its organizational “home” in TexShare. The group recognized that the initiative involves entities, such as museums, that are not authorized for TexShare membership and indicated interest in exploring the concept of TexShare “affiliate” participation for these groups in order to advance access to special collections of informational materials through digitization.
6) In your view, what are the pros and cons of the merger of cultural heritage agencies in Texas?
- Economies of scale
- “Honeymoon”-might get more dollars
- TSLAC could take advantage of PR programs in place in other agencies
- Loss of identity
- Loss of dedicated commission
- Increased competition for resources (could be pro)
- Loss of service/programs as agencies are merged
- Loss or degradation of service
- Loss of focus
- Culture shock
- Loss of volunteer support
7) Seidenberg explained the Sunset Review process. In late Summer/early Fall TSLAC will begin self-evaluation. We will be assigned staff from the Sunset Commission. They will gather information “from the field”. Sunset Commission will meet approximately one year from now. After they meet, they will draft legislation that will be presented in the next legislative session.
8. Meeting adjourned.
TexShare Advisory Board Members:
Nancy Anderson, Howard Payne University
Doug Ferrier, UT Brownsville/Texas Southmost College
Maurice Fortin, Angelo State University
Kathy Hoffman, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Martha Tandy, Weatherford College
Darryl Tocker, Tocker Foundation
Dennis Michaelis, McLennan Community College
Texas State Library and Archives Commission:
Mike Avila, Library Resource Sharing Division
Dave Hardy, Library Resource Sharing Division
Ann Mason, Library Resource Sharing Division
Peggy Rudd, Director and Librarian
Beverley Shirley, Library Resource Sharing Division
Russlene Waukechon, Library Resource Sharing Division
Ed Seidenberg, Assistant State Librarian
Sandy Pickett, Chairman of TSLAC
Working Group Chairs/Liaisons:
Greg Tramel, Montgomery County Memorial Library System
Suzanne McAnna, UT Austin
Lisa Loranc, Pasadena Public Library
JoAnne Hawkins, UT Austin
Bonnie Juergens, Amigos Library Services
Tom Moran, Austin Public Library
Joy Doss, ICUT