Monday, April 11, 2011

A Possible Path for Regional Library Development in Texas

As it stands now, the Texas Library System comprised of 10 geographically-based Systems is financially unsustainable, even if fully funded. With the state budget now under consideration, funding will be reduced by more than half for fiscal year 2012 (beginning in September 2011) and will fail entirely by fiscal year 2013 (beginning in September 2012).

The Systems are a major channel for Texas libraries and librarians to receive state- and federal-funded continuing education, technology assistance, and general consulting assistance. As regional entities, they can negotiate consortium agreements and group discounts to help reduce costs for individual libraries. At NTLP we strongly believe that this regional library development builds stronger libraries which in turn builds stronger and better-educated Texas communities.

Adam Wright, Executive Director of North Texas Library Partners, and Pat Tuohy, Executive Director of the Central Texas Library System, Inc., have suggested a path that the Texas State Library could take with regard to regional library development in Texas. This is just one suggestion of several which could be put forth. We hope that it will begin the frank discussion on what needs to be done with the Systems program.

Our plan allows for the basic structure of geographically-based Systems to remain intact while drastically reducing administrative overhead. Member libraries could continue to receive regional library development services while retaining membership in the Systems they are familiar with. The potential alternative, no regional library development in Texas, is unacceptable for a state of this size.

If you support our plan, or if you have a plan of your own, or if you just want to express concern about losing regional library development in the state of Texas, please contact the commissioners of the Texas State Library.

The Two-Systems Solution (plan offered by NTLP and CTLS, Inc.)
More about the current Texas State Library System [map]
Contact information for TSLAC and the TSLAC Commissioners
Read TLA's Overview of the impact of the proposed Texas state budget on libraries. (Systems are affected under "The Loss of Federal Funds")