|Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives & Library Building (Beaty, 2017)|
Terrific Students Learning About Citations?
Talented Special Library Aides Cataloging?
Three Senior Librarians Avoiding Confrontation?
Actually, it is the Texas State Library and Archives Commission! The Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building is the main location for this entity. It is located in downtown Austin on the east side of the capitol grounds at 1201 Brazos Street. A recent tour afforded a better, though still limited, understanding of this Texas library organization. Interestingly, this tour was preceded the day before by a tour of the sparkling new Central Branch of the Austin Public Library (APL), also in downtown Austin. Though the two sites could be contrasted in many ways (see the photos below of the card catalog still in use from the TSLAC archives reading room and the device "vending machine" at the APL), they are both resources Austin is proud to host.
TSLAC has four major areas of focus:
- Archives and Reference: Preserving the archival record of Texas (Archives and Information Services)
- Services for Libraries: Enhancing the service capacity of Texas public, academic, and school libraries (Library Development and Networking)
- Talking Book Program: Meeting the reading needs of Texans with disabilities (Talking Book Program)
- Records Management: Assisting public agencies in the maintenance of their records (State and Local Records Management) (Smith, 2017).
What does this agency have to do with you?
The scope of this blog will not allow me to elaborate on all the services TSLAC offers in detail, but I will share some tidbits to whet your appetites. For those of you in Texas, basically the TSLAC spells R-E-S-O-U-R-C-E-S for both you and for your stakeholders. Many state records are held physically at the Austin location in its 7 floors of archival storage. Many of the visitors of the reference reading room and the archives room are reportedly university students seeking research information, but all are welcome. For those not able to come in person, many of the records in the genealogical reading room are also digitized for remote access. For example, the TSLAC has made special arrangements to offer many Texas genealogical records through the Ancestry.com database free of charge – even for those without a subscription. This information can be accessed through the TSLAC website by searching “Ancestry.com Texas.”
There are also resources of special interest to various types of librarians. The website, for instance, provides information and access to continuing education through webinar offerings. Online exhibits that might be helpful for school teachers related to Texas state parks, historic flags of Texas, the women’s suffrage movement in Texas, among others, are available at www.tsl.texas.gov/exhibits. This is not an exhaustive list. The website describes these resources and others of interest, depending on your area of library focus.
Regardless of your interests, however, if you are a librarian (or library student) living in Texas, you should be aware of the library-focused collection at your fingertips (or in your mailbox). I had the privilege of meeting Christina Manz, the delightful librarian at the other end of emails related to this collection. Ms. Manz is eager to help librarians with access to these books related to the library field. In addition to offering suggestions upon request for resources about different library topics from collection development to makerspaces to cataloging to guided inquiry, the materials are sent to you wherever you are in Texas! On the day of my visit, I was only planning to view the collection, but ended up taking home a stack of helpful books related to current practicum and course assignments. It is a library for librarians! And, although public libraries participating in the TexShare program will provide ILL access to the materials in this collection, most (including the Austin Public Library) have very low limits (i.e., one book at a time). The TSLAC Library Science Collection has no such limits. The collection is searchable through the TSLAC online catalog, but it can also be accessed by contacting Ms. Manz directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional mention should be made of the Talking Books Program for those who have not heard of it. Although my tour did not include this department, the website provides valuable information about the resources available. TSLAC offers materials to assist patrons in all settings with visual impairments or physical impairments, both on-going or temporary, that restrict their ability to use more traditional print resources. Check out the program to better equip you and your library for serving patrons who could benefit from these services at https://www.tsl.texas.gov/tbp/index.html.
This just scratches the surface of the services and resources available through TSLAC. I hope you will plan to take advantage of them personally and share them professionally with others in your spheres of influence.
Beaty, G. (2017, February 26). Device vending machine [Image]. Austin, TX: Self-published.
Beaty, G. (2017, February 27). Lorenzo de Zavala state archives and library building [Image]. Austin, TX: Self-published.
Beaty, G. (2017, February 27). TSLAC card catalog [Image]. Austin, TX: Self-published.
Smith, M. (2017). "About us." Texas State Library and Archives Commission. https://www.tsl.texas.gov/about
|Central Library device vending maching (Beaty, 2017)|