Recently the Texas Library Association (TLA) outlined the anticipated impact for libraries statewide if the State’s budget proposal for 2012-13 were to pass in its original form. According to TLA, the proposed plan would decrease by 99% funding for local library aid programs, and by 93% funding for library resource sharing programs. Specific strategies for meeting these targets include the following:
- Direct aid grants to public libraries would be eliminated.
- State funding for TexShare databases would be eliminated, and TexShare libraries would instead pay increased fees for these resources.
- The K-12 database program would be eliminated.
- Funding for records management at state institutions would be replaced with increased institutional fees.
- The Texas Education Agency’s Technology Allotment would be eliminated.
For The Libraries of the UT Health Science Center, the greatest impact of the proposed cuts would result from the loss of funding for TexShare databases, commercial database subscriptions that are paid for by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) for use by participating public libraries, Texas State governmental agency libraries, Texas academic libraries and libraries of clinical medicine. According to TSLAC, the state currently pays $7,042,558 to purchase database resources that are subsequently made available through the TexShare program. If academic and public libraries and state agencies were to purchase these resources individually, the cost would be more than $97,044,000.
The UT Health Science Center Libraries currently pay $3,000 for membership in TexShare which provides access to the entire suite of TexShare databases. If the library were to purchase individually databases that are currently provided through TexShare, the cost to the library and the UT Health Science Center would be approximately $135,000.
TexShare also manages a state-wide reciprocal borrowing program for academic, community college and public libraries, allowing anyone with a TexShare card to borrow books from participating libraries throughout Texas.
General information about the TexShare program can be found here: http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/texshare/#.
The complete menu of TexShare databases is here: http://www.libraryoftexas.org/?page=texshare.
Susan Hunnicutt, Special Projects Librarian