285: State Library Update and Session Preview

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Posted: December 4, 2012

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I. Texas State Library and Archives Commission Update

State Librarian Peggy Rudd has announced her retirement. Rudd assumed leadership of the State Library in 1999. Her achievements since then have been numerous and representative of the rich, complex challenges facing Texas libraries and archives today.

“We appreciate her long and faithful service to the state of Texas,” said Commission Chairman Michael C. Waters on behalf of the agency’s board of commissioners. “We all wish her well in her retirement.”  He also praised her “skill working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to bring millions of dollars to Texas.”

Her many accomplishments for Texans and Texas libraries include:  shepherding the Texas Heritage Online project, establishing the Loan Star Libraries program, and supervising the successful renovation of the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library building.  She has also raised the profile of the state’s archives program and enhanced the Talking Book Program, which was recently recognized by the Library of Congress as Library of the Year.  

Prior to her tenure at TSLAC, Rudd worked in libraries for over 20 years, including the Austin Public Library, the Library of Virginia, and the State Library of Florida.

The library community thanks Peggy Rudd for her passionate commitment to Texas libraries and her service to the people of Texas.

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The Library and Archives Commission has appointed Edward Seidenberg as the agency’s interim director and librarian, effective January 1, 2013. Seidenberg is currently the agency’s assistant state librarian.

“Ed has been with the Commission for a number of years and is well prepared to serve in this interim capacity,” said Michael C. Waters, commission chairman. “We appreciate his service and look forward to working with him in the coming year as we search for a permanent director and librarian.”

Seidenberg’s tenure at TSLAC spans 36 years of public service. Since his arrival January 1976, Seidenberg has contributed to the agency as a library consultant, planner, activity manager, and director of the Library Development and Administrative Services division. He has served as assistant state librarian since 1999.

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TSLAC’s board of commissioners will meet December 14, 2012, to begin the process of finding a new director and librarian. Chairman Michael Waters said the commission will oversee a nationwide search. Information about the search will be posted on the agency’s website.

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At this time, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission requests your comments on a draft job description for the position of director and librarian.  The draft position description is at www.tsl.state.tx.us/director, with comments to be sent to commission@tsl.state.tx.us by noon on December 10.  

This is an important opportunity, and we hope librarians will take time to review the position description and send comments.

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The 83rd Legislative Session is approaching quickly.  With higher than expected sales tax growth, lawmakers this session will have a "surplus" of state revenue in the state budget, about $10 billion more than last session, for state expenditures, including education.  Additionally, the Rainy Day Fund is expected to balloon to $8.1 billion by August 2013 due to high oil and gas taxes.  The increased revenue in the state's coffers will be key since lawmakers must still pay the $4.8 billion owed to Medicaid from last session. More state revenue could mean there will not be any more cuts for the 2013-2014 biennium.   Nevertheless, achieving funding increases to programs will remain a challenge.
When the new session begins, there will be many new faces in the Texas Legislature.  The incoming class of the House of Representatives will have 44 new members.  In total, at least 50% of the House members will have one session or less experience. The Senate will have five fresh members in its 31-member chamber.  Overall, both chambers remain in conservative hands, as Republicans outnumber Democrats 95-55 and 19-12 in the House and Senate, respectively.

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Now is the time for library supporters to take charge of advocacy efforts. We need everyone to participate in and lead grassroots activities. State elected officials must hear from constituents back home about the need to support libraries.

Ask your state senator and representative to actively support funding for libraries by voting for library initiatives in the State Library budget and by talking with colleagues who serve on the House Appropriations or Senate Finance Committees.

What We Want
Support of the State Library legislative appropriations request, especially the exceptional items requests (i.e., request for additional funds) for library programs.
1.    Shared Digital Content – $9.25 million over the biennium for digital (electronic) materials for all types of libraries. Resources include online homework help, college preparation, research, job searching, career and test preparation, and other assistance in helping people reach their economic goals.
2.    Innovation Partnership Grants – $3.4 million/ biennium for training and programming built on local partnerships and innovative practices to advance educational attainment, workforce development, and written and digital literacy.

Why We Need This Funding
Texas libraries are struggling since the loss of statewide funding. The partial restoration of state funds will help deploy the workforce and educational resources Texans have come to rely upon.

Additionally, without an influx of state funds, the State Library may be unable to make a successful petition to the federal government for a continuation of crucial needed state dollars for Texas libraries.  Last session, state cuts to library programs totaled near $30 million. Texas may lose up to $9 million more in federal funds in 2015. These cuts will affect every community, school, and institution of higher education in the state.

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This year, TLA is asking supporters to conduct a virtual campaign in support of libraries on February 12, 2013. Rather than hosting a traditional Legislative Day, this year we want to emphasize grassroots action.

While some library supporters may opt to come to Austin for in-person visits, the focus on Legislative Virtual Action Day will be to have statewide virtual advocacy occurring within your own community.
It is critical this session to focus on grassroots activities and have advocates make strategic visits at home districts prior to and throughout the session. So, while we will not have Legislative Day with statewide library delegations in Austin on one day in February, TLA will offer many opportunities for advocacy and visiting with legislators during strategic times throughout the session.

Participating in Virtual Action Day: Take the time to call your state senator and representative. Tell them about the incredible services your library provides.

Make a commitment to get people writing and communicating about critical statewide issues. Organize a letter-writing campaign, tweet-up, and other virtual campaigns and activities to get people talking about libraries.

Recruit friends groups, students, faculty, and supporters to join the effort. It is particularly important to have administrators, city or county officials, and parents contact elected officials on behalf of libraries and library users.

This trick is to get as many people as possible in your local community to call, email, write, or post to legislative offices. The purpose of all of these activities is to create communication traffic at legislative offices. Your state senator and representative needs to hear from you and hundreds of other local constituents about your desire for them to proactively support library funding initiatives at the State Library!

Still want to come to Austin? If you would like to come to Austin on February 12 and would like to bring fellow supporters, please contact Gloria Meraz for more information.

Resources at www.txla.org/advocacy-tools are available!

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Great grassroots advocacy begins by having passionate people speaking on behalf of libraries. As librarians and library supporters, you know of many people in your community who support libraries.

Having influential local people in your community willing to talk to decision-makers about the value of your library is at the heart of developing a solid and broad base of support.

Who do you know in your community who is influential and is willing to speak for libraries?

TLA would like to help you reach these individuals. With your assistance identifying library champions, we can work together to provide them the support to speak out for libraries.

If you personally know of a library champion, let us know! Go to http://www.txla.org/champions-report-form and fill in the information.  Together, we  can create a strong statewide network of library champions.

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TEXLINE is an irregular e-newsletter that is sent whenever state library-related policy or legislative action is occurring. 

To subscribe to Texline, send an email to gloriam@txla.org and specify that you would like to be added to the Texline list.


Created on Dec 4, 2012 | Last updated December 04, 2012