How Important are Books to You?

The Texas Talking Book Program Shares their Latest News:

Director’s Report

Impact of President Trump’s proposed budget: On March 13, 2017, President Donald J. Trump released his preliminary federal budget for fiscal year 2018. Among the agencies slated for complete elimination is the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). IMLS is an independent federal agency that supports museums and libraries of all types. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission, of which Talking Book Program is a division, receives nearly $11 million in federal funds from IMLS. Most of these funds are distributed to libraries around the state through grants. Approximately $480,000, however, is part of the Talking Book Program budget. This represents about 20% of the TBP budget, so if IMLS is eliminated, the impact on TBP will be significant. Here’s what federal funds pay for in the TBP budget:

  • Purchase of Braille and large print books
  • The daily printing of thousands of address cards for books mailed to patrons
  • Printing and mailing patron newsletters in large print
  • Outreach and educational activities, including the salary of the outreach coordinator
  • Utilities for the Circulation facility where the books are housed and the daily mail is processed
  • Maintenance and upkeep of TBP’s automation server in the statewide data center
  • Replacement of our aging computer equipment and software
  • One-time projects—such as upgrading wiring and cabling—for which other funds are not available

At this writing, there is no information about cuts for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) or the Library of Congress.

You may wish to inform your senators and representatives in Congress about the importance of federal funding for library programs, including for TBP. If you need assistance in determining who your representatives are, please call 1-800-252-9605 and ask a reader consultant to look up contact information for congressional representatives based on your home address. You may also send an email totbp.services@tsl.texas.gov for assistance from TBP staff.

Upcoming Sunset Commission review: TBP’s parent agency, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC), will be undergoing sunset review during the next two years.  All state agencies go through a sunset review every twelve years. The purpose of the review is to determine if the agency is carrying out its functions and whether or not those functions are still needed. The review is overseen by the Sunset Advisory Committee, which reports to the Legislature.  During the next legislative session in 2019, legislation will need to be passed to continue TSLAC as an operational agency. If you are interested in reading about the sunset process, please visit the advisory committee’s web site at www.sunset.state.tx.us.

If you wish to participate in the sunset process, here are two ways that you may do so. TSLAC has posted to its web site an online survey to gather information for the self study that the agency is required to file with the Sunset Advisory Committee. There is a special section for TBP. If you would like to fill out the survey, you may find it at this link:http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3455268/tslacsunsetsurvey. We will also be having some call-in sessions with TBP staff so that you may ask questions about the sunset process and give us your opinions. These calls will require reservations because of limited slots on the call. If you are interested in participating in one of the phone calls, please call 1-800-252-9605 to reserve your spot.

Until next time,
Ava Smith, Director, Talking Book Program

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