The 84th Texas Legislature has increased the appropriation of the State Library and Archives Commission by $7.6M for the 2016-2017 biennium. The new funding includes resources to launch the Texas Digital Archive to preserve and make available electronic archives of state government as well as $6M to offer Texans greater access to online information via the popular TexShare and TexQuest programs. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission also gained funds in the new state budget to address salary needs and to implement a new automated accounting and payroll system.
“We are gratified that Texas lawmakers have demonstrated a recognition of the value of library and archival programs as critically important resources in an information-based economy,” commented TSLAC Director and Librarian Mark Smith. “The funding for TexShare and TexQuest will guarantee that academic, public, and school libraries of Texas can offer Texans of all ages the information they need to be productive and informed citizens and the Texas Digital Archive will increase the transparency of state government while protecting and preserving electronic archives,” Smith said.
Funding for the Texas Digital Archive–$706,593 for the 2016-2017 biennium—will allow TSLAC to collect, preserve, and make available, archives of enduring value in digital format. Until this action by the Legislature, Texas had been one of only a few states that did not provide for centralized storage and management of state archives in electronic format.
TexShare is a project that has been in place for over 20 years providing shared access to a vast array of digital resources to the public via participation by Texas public and academic libraries. TexQuest makes similar resources available to students of public K-12 schools in Texas. TexShare resources recorded over 92 million uses in 2014 and schools representing approximately 95% of student enrollment in Texas have access to TexQuest resources.
The increased funding for TSLAC represents a 31% increase in state funding and a 14% increase in overall funding to the agency. With the added appropriations, state funding will increase to $31.4 million for the biennium and overall funding will increase to $63.1 million for 2016-2017. Following significant budget cuts to the agency in the 2011 legislative session, state funding has increased in both the 2013 and 2015 sessions.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is a state agency established in 1909 to serve the information needs of Texans by preserving the historical archives of the state, building capacity in libraries statewide, assisting agencies and local governments in maintaining their public records, and providing reading materials to persons with visual impairments or physical disabilities. The agency is governed by a seven-member board appointed by the Governor.