The Texas State Library and Archives Commission met on February 18. The Commission took up a number of items on the topics of contract renewals, archives, and School Library Programs. This report focuses on discussions concerning TSLAC’s book review standards and guidelines. The meeting’s agenda can be found here.

This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight of the discussions on the various topics taken up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the discussions but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer and the desire to get details out as quickly as possible with few errors or omissions.


Agenda Item 4: Public Comment

Mary Woodward, Texas Library Association

  • By implying that books are inappropriate, taken focus away from educating students
  • Librarians spend time/effort seeking books that reflect diversity of the community
    • The threat from school boards undermines their efforts
  • Will cause librarians to shy away from materials that are deemed inappropriate by some but needed for other students
  • Students exercise imagination and build empathy for others through books


Jill Bellomy, Chair of Texas Association of School Librarians

  • Students in schools with libraries have better test scores
  • Middle school students are figuring out who they are and forming their values so access to a wide variety of books is important
  • Students in high poverty areas are more likely to graduate when the schools have certified librarians
  • Administrators and school boards must trust librarians to build collections


Robin Cashman, Texas Library Association IFC Chair

  • It has been difficult to get the right book into kids’ hands; collection development isn’t “one size fits all”
  • Now librarians are spending three times as much time researching books and/or wasting money on books students have no interest in reading
  • Made an LGBTQ+ list but is afraid to be on the news because of parental controversy
  • How can kids begin to understand different ways of life if they can’t read about it?
  • When parents make decisions on behalf of all children instead of just their child is when the problem arises


Wendy Woodland, Texas Library Association

  • Providing a framework for collection development
  • Need a transparent process for reviewing library program standards
  • Look forward to working with TSLAC


Agenda Item 9: Libraries and Talking Book Program Committee Update

  • Subcommittee met in December to discuss policies for school libraries and reallocation of ARPA funds and have a couple recommendations:
  • Rescind November 5th TSLAC order due to timeframe issues and could fund the project in another way
    • Did not seem feasible to enter into contracts at this time
    • Getting feedback from the broadband development office; could possibly fully fund that project
  • Approve target allocation of ARPA funds
    • Motion to approve the above recommendations passes
  • Recommend to continue to review proposed commission guidelines/review processes
  • Request staff to begin framing a process of a targeted review and possibly update standards; will discuss further at next meeting
  • Item would direct framing out a process to review the review standards and guidelines; these are/will be formed in conjunction with SBOE and TEA
  • Is a forward-looking item; large committee will review these standards to see if they need to be updated in any way
    • Will hear from multiple stakeholders
  • This process will take quite a while; at least “five to six months”
  • Staff will present this to TSLAC when it is prepared
  • Any draft approved by the commission will be posted for public comment; will then come back to the board to be approved as administrative rule
  • Motion to have staff begin updating the school library standards approved unanimously


Item 18. Future Meeting Dates

  • Future commissioner meetings: April 8, June 3, and July 29