Saturday, May 2, 2009

Texas State Library & Archives

Dear Friends,

Many of you graciously donated your time earlier this legislative session to contact members of the House and Senate Finance Committee in support of the Texas State Library & Archives Commission special funding.

We have one more opportunity to show our support for the TSLAC!

The Details

We are seeking support for two items of special funding:

1. Funding to construct additional space that is environmentally appropriate for housing the state's permanent archival records. As many of you know, the State Archives has effectively been out of space for more than 15 years, and more than 22,000 cubic feet of archival records are housed in space that does not have required environmental controls. TSLAC is in desperate need of 78,200 cubic feet of space in order to accommodate current holdings and allow for 15-20 years of expected acquisitions. TSLAC is requesting approximately $29 million to expand its capacity to house the state's records. The funding for expansion could come from one of two sources: through bond financing in FY 2010-2011, or from Title XIV, State Fiscal Stabilization Fund of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

2. Salary equity adjustments and retention/recruitment bonuses to selected staff with critical skills and experience. Ninety percent of the 178 positions filled as of July 2008 earned below the midpoint of their salary ranges; thirty-eight percent of those employees had 10 or more years of service to TSLAC. Because of the pay rates, applicants for vacant postions tend to have less experience and require more training. Employees, once trained, tend to leave the agency for other, more lucrative positions: during FY2008, turnover rates ranged from 40% for Government Information Analysts to 100% for individuals in the Purchasing & Procurement Department. Of the employees who resigned in FY2008, 39% transferred to another state agency for higher pay. The amount requested for this special item is $504,000.

The Texas Library Association is very visibly supporting only the initiatives that affect the library community (ie: NOT item number 1). This is our opportunity to make our voices heard.

Please join me in a solid show of support from archivists, historians, genealogists, and others who understand both the irreplaceable value of the state's records and the dedication of staff who have worked for many years to make those records available to the public.

What Can We Do!?

On Monday, members from the House and Senate will meet to agree on the State Appropriations Bill. This meeting will decide which of the special requests will be selected.

We need to contact only two people before Monday morning.
Nikki Dawson, chief of staff for Representative John Otto: (512-463-0570),
email nikki.dawson@house.state.tx.us and

Colin Coe, for Senator Royce West (512-463-0123),
email colin.coe@senate.state.tx.us


You can call and leave a voice message or send an email stating that you want to express your full support for the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) special funding item #1: to construct additional space that is environmentally appropriate for housing the state's permanent archival records and for Salary equity adjustments and retention/recruitment bonuses to selected staff with critical skills and experience.

Thank you for supporting the Texas State Archives!!

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