TLACast Newsletter
Legislative Update
Legislative Session

We are about half way through the 85th Legislative session and after weeks of hearings; the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees are completing their budget deliberations. TLA is advocating against any cuts to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission budget, and for additional funding for TexShare/TexQuest, and increased broadband access in public libraries.

Given the Legislature has 3% less in state revenue to work with for this budget, members are looking for savings and not generally open to additional spending, no matter how worthy the program or service.

The Senate Finance Committee did not make any cuts to the TSLAC budget, but did not adopt the TexShare/TexQuest or broadband exceptional items. The House Appropriations Committee also did not make any cuts to the TSLAC budget, and did not adopt the TexShare/TexQuest exceptional item request, but did include the broadband request in Article XI. Items in Article XI are not likely to be funded, however.

Over the next week or so, the appropriations bills will be voted out of committee and taken up on the House and Senate floor for a vote. Once the bills are passed, the Senate and House will appoint members to a conference committee to begin to hash out the differences between the bills. The conference committee process presents another opportunity for TLA to advocate for our budget priorities.

Thank you to all of the TLA members that have testified before the committees, and called, written, and emailed their legislators to share how important libraries are to our communities, and express support for the State Library budget. You make a real difference!

SB 902 - Eliminating Library Accreditation Standards

Senator Brian Birdwell introduced SB 902 which would prohibit the State Library from requiring public libraries to meet minimum accreditation standards related to local operating expenditures, collections based on publication dates, hours of operation, and the number or classification of library employees.

TLA is strongly opposed to this bill, because it would diminish the quality of library services and dilute and devalue legitimate public library service by eliminating common baselines for professionalism, services and resources.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Business and Commerce committee. TLA members are actively reaching out to their legislators to express their opposition to the bill.

TLA Statement on President Trump's Proposal to Eliminate Federal Library Funding

To fund increased military spending and tax cuts, President Trump's America First: A Budget to Make America Great Again eliminates funding for libraries and museums, as well as arts, humanities and cultural programs. Collectively, these programs account for less than 0.5% of the national budget.

The Institute for Museum and Library Services' (IMLS) grants and programs provide critical support to libraries and museums across the country. Texas libraries leverage every dollar of the federal funds they receive to offer innovative programs and services to millions of Texans every year. In fact, a recent Texas State Library and Archives Commission study found that for every $1 invested in Texas libraries, communities benefit from an impressive return on investment of $4.64.

Libraries are centers for technology, job counseling, retraining, entrepreneurship, education, teaching and learning, services to veterans, and so much more.

The Texas Library Association's almost 7,000 members, and the thousands of library supporters throughout the state, will actively oppose this proposal which, if enacted, would have a significant, immediate, negative impact on millions of Texans. Libraries are so much more than book depositories, they are essential to what makes Texas, and America great.


March 2017
Volume. 36 No. 2
3355 Bee Cave Road, Suite 401 | Austin, Texas 78746-6763
Phone: 512.328.1518 or 800.580.2852 | Email: tla@txla.org

Take Action!

While we are deeply concerned about the president's budget proposal, it is not a done deal and ALA has provided the following information on actions we can take right now:
  1. Call your Members of Congress – ask them to publicly oppose wiping out IMLS, and ask them to commit to fighting for federal library funding. (You can find talking points and an email template on the Action Center.)
    2. Share your library's IMLS story using the #SaveIMLS tag – tell us how IMLS funding supports your local community. If you aren't sure which IMLS grants your library as received, you can check the searchable database available on the IMLS website.
    3. Sign up to receive ALA action alerts – they will let you know when and how to take action, and send you talking points and background information.
    4. Register to participate in National Library Legislative Day on May 1-2, either in Washington, D.C., or online.
Timing is key to the Federal budget/appropriations process. More information – along with talking points and scripts – will be forthcoming from the ALA Washington Office and TLA.