283: Special Session Review and TSLAC Update

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Posted: June 29, 2011

In this issue:

I. Special Session Review

II. TSLAC Update

I. Special Session Recap

The governor signed House Bill 1 on June 17, a final state budget that is $15 billion less than the previous budget, and it neither raises taxes nor uses the $6 billion balance in the Rainy Day Fund.  The signed budget reflects the House recommendations for library funding in Article I of the budget (where funding for the State Library is found). The budget restores $2.5 million over the biennium for TexShare but does not include funding for the K-12 databases, Loan Star Libraries (direct aid for public libraries), or other library programs at the agency. The final budget did restore the State Law Library.

The budget also makes significant cuts to higher education and public education (as well as all other areas). The Technology Allotment at the Texas Education Agency was eliminated. Instead, a general funding source (the new Instructional Materials Allotment) was created for textbooks and other instructional materials. According to TEA, districts could use this funding source to pay for subscription databases supporting the TEKS. However, HB 6 (which authorized the Instructional Materials Allotment) died in the waning hours of the Regular Session. Sen. Shapiro reintroduced this measure as SB 6 during the Special Session, which was called immediately after the Regular Session.

Lawmakers have now given final approval to SBs 1 and 2 in the special session. These matters prescribe the school finance distribution formulas and adopt other fiscal measures that will balance the state's 2012-13 budget (i.e., address the $4 billion reduction to public education).  The House and Senate also adopted SB 6 and SB 8 (Shapiro), which allows school district boards of trustees discretion in determining salaries and imposing staff cost saving measures such as salary reductions and furloughs across all employees.

The 30-day special session ends today, June 29.

II. Texas State Library and Archives Commission Update

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) recently sent out notification to the state’s Regional Library Systems coordinators and public library directors about the impact of the cuts on the agency’s budget.  The two letters outline the following: 

The Library Development and Library Resource Sharing Divisions have been merged into the Library Development and Networking Division. While the overall number of FTEs will go from 193 to 169, the new division will have 14.5 FTEs (down from the 30 FTEs of the separate two divisions).

Loan Star Libraries was zeroed out, and the program will close down this program by Dec. 31, 2011. No new funds will be awarded. All reports for current awards are still required, although status updates for 2012 are no longer needed.

The agency will continue to support the transition of public libraries to OCLC’s Navigator service and to cover the costs of providing ILL through Navigator. The agency will also continue to provide access to OCLC’s WorldCat database for both public and academic libraries. The agency will no longer support the Project Loan net lender reimbursement program. The agency will maintain a statewide subscription to WorldCat to offset the elimination of net lender reimbursement for academic libraries.

State TexShare database funding dropped from about $8 million to $2.5 million. Database fees will increase by 35% in the fall. TSLAC will continue to offset a portion of the cost of the TExpress courier, but at a reduced funding level. Support for the TexShare card program, the TexSelect database program, outreach, and training will continue.

The agency will provide a base level of funding ($2.5 million to be awarded through the System Negotiated Grant process) for the regional systems in FY 2012. The agency plans to work with stakeholders on how to restructure the program for FY 2012. TSLAC plans to send out an RFP for the delivery of statewide library services for FY 2013 as a way of offsetting the close out of the Systems program with available (but substantially reduced) federal funding. The agency will fund the Technical Assistance Negotiated Grant program for FY 2012 but will seek an alternative model for FY 2013, when federal funding is expected to drop dramatically.

The agency will also consolidate continuing education services through the new Library Development and Networking Division. TSLAC will also support its Library Science Collection, respond to requests for materials and assistance, and collect public library statistics. The agency will continue to accredit public libraries, and this accreditation will be the basis for participation in TexShare.

TSLAC has executed a contract with the Houston Area Library Automation Network to deliver the Library of Texas federated search service.

The agency plans to continue offering competitive grants directly to libraries and will review current competitive grants in the context of other changing programs and reductions in funding.

The State Library and Archives Commission will meet on July 1 to learn more about changes to the agency.

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Created on Jun 27, 2011 | Last updated June 29, 2011