We live in an information-based economy, and success depends on access to accurate, authoritative, and diverse information, technologies, and educational resources. The mission of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is to help Texans lead informed and productive lives. Indeed, I believe that all knowledge organizations share this fundamental purpose. As the new State Librarian, I am incredibly honored to be in this work alongside the talented and committed professionals who staff and support libraries, archives, records management, and information organizations.
TSLAC has served the people of Texas for more than a century. Since 1909, when the state founded the agency, we have been supporting the reading, learning, and historical preservation needs of Texas and its people.
Going back to the days of the Republic, there has always been an official library and archives of Texas. While fulfilling our unique and longstanding place serving Texas government, the State Library and Archives Commission accomplishes its mission to serve Texans through four main areas:
• Archives and History: TSLAC preserves the archival record of Texas, supports research, and makes primary resources available to the public.
• Libraries and Learning: We assist public, academic, and school libraries across the state in meeting the needs of their communities and students.
• Access to Public Records: TSLAC is responsible for helping public agencies maintain their public records.
• Reading Services: We support the reading needs of thousands of Texans with disabilities Our programs provide access to materials and services to virtually every citizen in the state regardless of age, geographic location, or physical ability as well as to local governments, libraries, schools, institutions of higher education, and state agencies. We work to make sure Texans can connect to the global information infrastructure.
Libraries remain trusted places, where knowledge is preserved, literacy championed, and librarians work for the well-being of their communities and schools. Libraries serve as anchors for broadband access and the promotion of digital literacy—the not-so-new benchmark for personal agency in today’s complicated marketplace of ideas, technologies, and platforms. And TSLAC is here to partner with libraries and communities statewide.
We want everyone to know that history and information is available around the corner and at your fingertips. I encourage you to visit your local library. It may have a wonderful genealogy collection and rich archival materials. It will certainly have reading materials and probably a lot of local titles. With TSLAC’s statewide electronic resources, you can also access an incredible array of digital materials – databases, maps, videos, ebooks, business reports, and so much more at your library or at home with your library card. Local historical collections—usually found at universities, museums, and research centers—are also great places to spend time investigating.
I hope you spend time exploring! You can check out our website (www.tsl.texas.gov) to discover some resources, services, tools, information, and programs that are meaningful and useful to you. Our Texas Digital Archive (www.tsl.texas.gov/texasdigitalarchive) has almost 90 terabytes of digitized primary material that you can access for free. And visit us in person, as well, whenever you are Austin or Liberty, where we are proud to run the Sam Houston State Library and Research Center and a terrific museum housed there. We are here to serve you.
Director and Librarian, Texas State Library and Archives Commission