TLA TEXLINE NO. 239
Posted: February 20, 2009 • LEGISLATIVE ISSUES NETWORK

In this issue:

  1. TSLAC House Budget Hearing
  2. Legislative Day and Virtual Legislative Day


TSLAC Budget Hearings
The House Appropriations General Government Subcommittee will hear invited and public testimony on the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s budget on Wednesday, February 25 during Legislative Day. This hearing is part of the deliberative process in creating the State’s budget (the General Appropriations Act) for 2010-2011.

The State Library’s budget includes several “exceptional items,” which represent requests for money in addition to current budgeted levels for the agency and its programs.

CALL TO ACTION:
Please contact your state representative to ask for support of Texshare, the K-12 Databases, Loan Star Libraries, and the Regional Library Systems. If your representative does not serve on the subcommittee, please ask that he or she contact colleagues on the subcommittee and urge their support of library programs. If your representative DOES serve on the subcommittee, it is critically important that you contact your them.

The General Government Subcommittee Members are:
Fred Brown, (512) 463-0698; fred.brown@house.state.tx.us
Brandon Creighton, (512) 463-0726; brandon.creighton@house.state.tx.us
Kino Flores, (512) 463-0704; kino.flores@house.state.tx.us
Abel Herrero (Vice Chair), (512) 463-0462; abel.herrero@house.state.tx.us
John Otto (Chair), (512) 463-0570; john.otto@house.state.tx.us

Statewide Funding Issues and Talking Points

TexShare – Provides library resource sharing and database services to college students/faculty and public library users.
Action Needed: Appropriate $5.25 mil for each year ($10.5 mil over the biennium). See the TSLAC budget (General Government, Article I of the General Appropriations Act).

K-12 Databases – Provide quality online resources for Texas students and teachers.
Action Needed: Appropriate $4 mil for each year ($8 mil over the biennium). See the TSLAC budget (General Government, Article I of the General Appropriations Act).

Loan Star Libraries – A direct aid grant program for public libraries.
Action Needed: Appropriate $4.35 mil for each year ($8.7 mil over the biennium). See the TSLAC budget (General Government, Article I of the General Appropriations Act).

Texas Library Systems – A network of 10 service centers supporting libraries.
Action Needed: Appropriate $2 mil for each year ($4 mil over the biennium). See the TSLAC budget (General Government, Article I of the General Appropriations Act).

  • Tell your legislator that TexShare (for instance) is critical to your library users and give an example of how the resource is used locally and/or a statement about its need.
  • With the economic recession, libraries of all types are needed more than ever; and so, it is vitally important and needed for the state to support library programs that affect millions of people around the state.
  • Be sure to note that TexShare, the K-12 Databases, Loan Star Libraries, and the Regional Library Systems are programs than have a direct impact on local communities, schools, and institutions of higher education. These programs reach constituents statewide.

Senate Finance Hearing Update
On Wednesday, Feb. 18, the Senate Finance Committee heard testimony on the State Library’s budget. Librarians Susan Mann of Hillboro and Julie Todaro of Austin testified on behalf of TLA in support of the agency’s budget and TexShare, Loan Star Libraries, the K-12 databases, and the Systems program. Sen. Zaffirini asked about the importance of TexShare and the databases, as well as funding for public libraries. Sen. Averitt commended Mann on her wonderful library and service to the people of Hillsboro.

Legislative Day and Virtual Legislative Day

TLA’s library Legislative Day, Feb. 25, is just around the corner! This special statewide event is our time to “talk up” libraries and make the case for more funding.

You can participate by coming to Austin for Legislative Day, or if you can’t attend, you can participate in Virtual Legislative Day on Feb. 24 and 25th.

1. Participating in Person
Come and share in the important (and fun) work of visiting the Capitol and making scheduled visits with legislative offices. All the activities are arranged, and participants will work in groups with a delegate leader who will help coordinate each visit.

We’ll have a special training at 7 pm on February 24 at the Hyatt at Lady Bird Lake in Austin. The training will prepare you for visits on Wednesday, February 25. And, for those attending, TLA has completed a new publication that will be given to all participants. We will also hold a special session at 4 pm, February 24, on TLA’s recent public opinion poll.

2. Participating Virtually—Make Feb. 24 and 25 Library Advocacy Day!
Take the time to call or email your state senator and representative. Tell them about the incredible services your library provides AND ask them to support our statewide library funding and policy issues.

Check out the library funding issues (TexShare, K-12 Databases, Loan Star Libraries, and Library Systems) described above in this Texline message.

See also: School Libraries for ALL Students – All Texas children should enjoy equitable access to quality school library programs and the support of certified school librarians. See: http://www.txla.org/html/legis/81/School%20Policy.doc .

Purchasing Efficiency – Support HB 962 (Guillen), a bill that clarifies exemptions for the acquisition of library materials at community colleges.

Make a commitment to get people writing and communicating about critical statewide issues. Organize a letter-writing campaign. Get your friends groups, students, faculty, and supporters to contact them as well. It is particularly important to have administrators, city or county officials, and parents contact elected officials on behalf of libraries and library users.

Ask a couple of your supporters to send letters-to-the editor on February 24 and 25 about the importance of libraries. TLA will be sending the media information about TLA’s legislative platform and the public opinion survey.

To find out who represents you and how to contact them, go to: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/.

TLA THANKS our Legislative Day sponsors:

EBSCO Information Services
Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.
Lee & Low Books
ProQuest