It’s been a long, hard session. The library community made some valuable gains
this year, although not all our funding initiatives were adopted (specifically
increased funding for library resource sharing). The library community was “in
the fight” to the very last for funding and, as always, we will continue our
work session after session to improve the quality of life, education, and
opportunity for Texans through library services and programs.
Despite a $9.1 billion
shortfall, the Legislature approved the following recommendations: Loan Star
Libraries – an increase of $3.5 million over the biennium; Systems - an
increase of $1.5 million over the biennium; and Digital Talking Books – an
increase of $275,000 over the biennium. The request for increased funds for
Library Resource Sharing (which encompassed requested funding increases for
TexShare and the K-12 databases) was not funded. Please note, however, that
the current (09) funding for both these programs remains in place.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission has just released a statement
noting that the agency is investigating the possibility of using additional
federal funds (as the agency is receiving more than expected funds from the
Institute of Museum and Library Services) for offsetting some of the
escalating costs for the database programs. See TSLAC’s statement at: http://www.texshare.edu/generalinfo/about/faq2009-06-02.html.
Final Status of Key Bills
HB 962 (Guillen/Sp. Zaffirini):
Clarifies existing statute regarding the purchase and acquisition of library
materials at community colleges. Sent to the Governor for signing.
HB 3756 (Howard/ Sp. Ellis):
Updates, clarifies, and amends statutes related to the Texas State Library
and Archives Commission. The bill, filed at the request of TLA and TSLAC,
updates language related to the library systems, the TexShare program,
Talking Book Program, records management provisions, archival records and
the state’s right of recovery, and the Texas Reads license plate program.
Sent to the Governor for signing.
HB 3 (Eissler/Sp. Shapiro):
Deals with school accountability and promotion. The final version of the
bill stripped away a House floor amendment that would have authorized TEA to
study the prospect of adding school library programs as a criterion for
campus distinction designations. Sent to the Governor.
TLA is very grateful to all of
the library supporters, legislators, legislative staff, and individuals who
worked to support and promote library issues this session. While the list is
too large to include in its entirety, we express our deep thanks to the
following: Representatives Jim Pitts, Dan Branch, Ryan Guillen, Donna Howard,
Dennis Bonnen, Patrick Rose, John Otto, Fred Brown, Mark Strama, Harold
Dutton, Brandon Creighton, and Scott Hochberg. On the Senate side, we offer
our sincere thanks to Senators Kip Averitt, Chuy Hinojosa, Judith Zaffirini,
Rodney Ellis, and Chris Harris. We very much appreciate all the work of all
the members of the House and Senate funding committees.
Of course, we offer are sincere appreciation to all TLA members who took the
time to write, email, and work for library programs. We extend a special
thanks to everyone who traveled to Austin for Legislative Day, led
delegations, worked on legislative initiatives, and provided testimony
throughout the session, including Susan Mann, Julie Todaro, Joe Dahlstrom,
Tracey Mendoza, Martha Tandy, Rhoda Goldberg, and Legislative Committee Chair