Legislative
TLACast Newsletter
Volume 35 No. 3 | May 2016
3355 Bee Cave Road, Suite 401 | Austin, Texas 78746-6763
Phone: 512.328.1518 or 800.580.2852 | Email:
tla@txla.org
TLA is gathering information to help the library community develop plans for the upcoming legislative session in 2017. One of the areas of concern to the library community is the issue of broadband connectivity in our libraries.

As a necessary first step in drafting any plans for potential statewide action on broadband and libraries, TLA is gathering information from librarians about the type, value, and use of broadband connections in libraries. People rely on libraries for access to digital content, training, and robust connectivity that allows for today's highly interactive digital world. While many people have access at home, that access is often limited and not sufficient for today's complex digital learning environment.

The TLA Legislative Committee is working closely with the State Library to research the issue and to consider possible avenues for action. A March 2016 study by the Strategic Networks Group in partnership with the Rural Telecommunications Congress ranked Texas 48 out of 48 states surveyed for overall broadband support, including such areas as growth investment and availability. The need for state investment and action is significant.

National Legislative Day

Texas can boast of a great team of librarians who attended the American Library Association's National Legislative Day, May 2-4, in Washington D.C. Alexandra Simons, Rhoda Goldberg, Jeanne Standley, Rebecca Sullivan, and Rhea Lawson were joined by State Librarian Mark Smith in making visits with Texas Congressional officials.

They discussed funding for the Institute of Museum and Libraries Services as well as policy issues affecting libraries. The Texas delegation pressed the importance of confirming librarian Carla Hayden as the next Librarian of Congress and described the vast benefit libraries bring to communities everywhere.

Announcements

Hewitt is celebrating the opening of the new joint City Hall and library. Mayor Ed Passalugo said the only word to properly describe the new facility was “Wow." The 26,500-square-foot building will serve city functions and expand the library's footprint. The $4.5 million project opened in mid-April.

If you were unable to attend the Retired Librarians Round Table program "Celebrating Library Pioneers: Tea with Julia Ideson" during conference, there is still time to discover more about this extraordinary woman. A special exhibit: "The Intrepid Miss Julia Ideson" can be viewed in the Julia Ideson Building through June 18 at Houston Public Library. In addition, free audio tours of the Julia Ideson Building using your cell phone are available anytime the building is open.

The Chambers County Library System opened the long awaited Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Branch Library to the public on April 11. Officials from Chambers County, the City of Mont Belvieu, and Barbers Hill ISD spoke to a crowd of over 400 people on April 9 during a ceremonial event. State Librarian Mark Smith spoke about the importance of libraries, and County Librarian Valerie Jensen recognized the Library Advisory Board, Friends Board, and library staff for their hard work, dedication, and support of the project.