Magazine article Texas Library Journal

Why Texas Government Has a Stake in Supporting Libraries

Magazine article Texas Library Journal

Why Texas Government Has a Stake in Supporting Libraries

Article excerpt

One of the requests I get most often is for responses to some of the tough questions library advocates sometimes face. In particular, library supporters ask for some ideas on responding the question: Why should Texas support libraries?

Here are some of my ideas. Please share your own on TLA's Facebook page.

How much does the state actually spend on statewide library services?

In the 2012-13 biennium, lawmakers allocated only about $6.2 million in state general revenue for library resource sharing, library development, and library services for the disabled. That 's a cut of about $28 million in state funding, including the loss of funds for K- 12 e- resources. The majority of funds for state library services this biennium are from federal matching funds (an estimated $15.5 million), one-time federal broadband funding ($1.7 million), and fees collected from libraries (about $2 million).

But how much is that $6.2 million of the state's total general revenue funds of $81,290,400,00?

It's only about .0076 % of total state dollars!

Should the state spend money on libraries?

Yes! At only 0.0076%, state support for library services is a relatively minor investment but an important one.

For that 0.0076%, the STATE GETS:

* Tremendous Savings on Digital Learning Resources

In 2010, for every $1 spent on library e-resources, the state saved almost $13. Through the combined and centralized purchasing power of the state, Texans have access to a multitude of materials (e.g., journals, ebooks, business reports, curriculum materials, and subscription research among others) that help them complete school work, start a business, prepare for a job, increase literacy levels, and succeed educationally and economically.

* Matching Federal Dollars

Texas may lose almost $9 million in matching federal funds in 2015 if the state does not restore a portion of state funds for library services. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) budget requests $13 million in exceptional items for statewide library programs.

* Top Tier Higher Education Institutions

Over 150 colleges and universities benefit from high quality research and digital resources available through libraries. Several institutions rely on these resources to meet accreditation standards for certain programs.

* Valuable Community Public Libraries

The network of Texas community public libraries provides free access to the Internet. …

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