The 82nd session of the Texas state legislature is now developing a budget for the FY2012 -2013 biennium. The proposed budget will eliminate or drastically reduce state funding for library programs, including K-12 Databases, TexShare, LoanStar Libraries, and other statewide programs. (See more at TxLA.org)
In addition to the general revenue funds, Texas libraries also receive substantial funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency funded via the LSTA. To receive this money, the state of Texas must meet a basic match for support of library services and a maintenance of effort (MoE) requirement. The proposed state budget for 2012-2013 would fail to meet the MoE requirement, causing a drastic reduction in the funding from IMLS.
The federal funding which is in jeopardy supports
- The Texas Library Systems (of which NTRLS is one)
- Statewide grants for cooperative and educational programs, including workforce training
- Inerlibrary Loan
The future survival of NTRLS (and all the Texas Library Systems) is dependent on the outcome of several events:
- The final house version of the state budget (passed on April 3, 2011)
- The final senate version of the state budget
- The finalized conference committee version of the state budget
- The Governor's approval of the state budget
- TSLAC's decision as to how to apportion its allocated state and federal funds among its various programs.
In summary, we do not expect to know before late July or August 2011 what level of funding NTRLS will have for FY2012 (which begins in September 2011) and 2013. It might not be funded at all, or it might receive a System Grant sufficient to support three to four staff members (at reduced salaries). Other grants may or may not be funded, depending on TSLAC's decision. (As a reminder, in FY2011 NTRLS received the System Grant, the TANG grant, the SYNG grant, the Library Cooperation Grant, and the Library Special Projects Grant, supporting a total of eight full-time and three part-time employees.)
North Texas Library Partners is a nonprofit corporation that administers the NTRLS grant-supported programs and services. As a separate nonprofit entity NTLP can continue to exist even without NTRLS, if alternate funding sources can be located. We are currently exploring avenues that could allow NTLP to continue providing programs and services (probably at a reduced level) to benefit libraries in our region, even if state and federal funding fails.
The NTLP System Assembly will meet on Friday, July 29, 2011 at the Bedford Public Library. By that time we hope to know more about the state budget and the funding level for NTRLS. At this meeting System Assembly Representatives will be asked to vote on bylaws changes that will help NTLP function independently of the state-supported systems program.
For updates on the budget and other activity in the Texas legilature, see TLA's TexLine
If you have any creative ideas about preserving regional support for libraries in Texas, feel free to contact us.