The Texas state budget for the 2012 - 2013 biennium closed its projected deficit partly with deep cuts to education, outdoor recreation, history, the arts, and libraries.

The budget for the Texas State Libraries and Archives Commission (TSLAC) was cut by nearly two-thirds, with the most dramatic reductions concentrated in the divisions that serve libraries in the state - the Library Development Division and Library Resource Sharing Division.  The result was an 88% cut to state funding for TSLAC's programs supporting Texas libraries.

The cuts include the total elimination of funding for the Loan Star Libraries program, which provided direct aid grants to public libraries throughout the state. Texas public libraries have relied on this funding in the past to provide additional or improved services beyond the level that can be funded by local government or the community.  Funding for the TexShare database program was reduced, and fees to libraries were increased.  TSLAC scaled back its own staffing dramatically.

In addition, the federal funding TSLAC receives each year from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) was reduced because of Congressional action, and will be further reduced in future years because the level of state funding no long meets the federal requirements for maintenance of effort.  LSTA funds support the statewide interlibrary loan project and the state's regional library systems (of which NTRLS is one).  The regional systems program will receive reduced funding in 2012 and will be eliminated in 2013.

References:

     Texas Governor Signs Budget Cutting State Funding for Library Services by 88 Percent from LibraryJournal.com, July 29, 2011.  (The article includes a copy of the 22 June 2011 memo to Texas public library directors from the Texas State Librarian.)

     Texline 283: Special Session Review and TSLAC Update from TxLA.org, June 29, 2011.

     Texas parks, libraries, arts, historical sites faciing deep budget cuts from Star-Telegram.com on June 11, 2011.