Texas State Library and Archives Commission:
An Inventory of State Library and Archives Commission Meeting Files at the Texas State Archives, 1909-2005
The modern history of the Texas State Library begins with the creation of the Texas Library and Historical Commission in 1909 (House Bill 142, 31st Texas Legislature, Regular Session). The Commission was charged with the control and administration of the State Library whose functions would include historical work, legislative reference, and encouragement of library development in Texas. E. W. Winkler was appointed State Librarian at the Commission's first meeting, March 29, 1909.
Gradually, all the Commission's mandates have been addressed. Historical work began with Cadwell Walton Raines in 1891, who as State Librarian began to rebuild the State Library's holdings, destroyed by the Capitol fire in 1881. Legislative reference formally got under way in 1910 with the appointment of a Legislative Reference Librarian. In 1916, the Library offered twelve different traveling libraries to communities in Texas to concretely demonstrate the value of libraries. In 1917, an effective county library law was passed; and, in 1920, the first county library was established. In 1927, the position of Library Organizer was created. Books for the blind were available through the Library in 1919.
An estimate of the Library's holdings in 1931 specified 88,800 bound volumes, 85,000 pamphlets, and 85,000 manuscripts. The Depression was a time of salary reductions, little book buying, and curtailed extension activity.
Following World War II, the State Library entered a period of expansion to meet the increasing demands placed on it by the public and by state government. The Library responded with greatly increased budget requests for new programs to meet these needs.
In 1956, the Archives Division was forced by the crowded conditions in the Capitol Complex to move to a quonset hut at Camp Hubbard. The Library and its friends had long been seeking a separate and appropriate building for the Archives and Library, and the move to the quonset hut was a rallying point. Funds were appropriated in 1957 and the Library moved to the newly constructed Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building in 1961.
When created in 1909 (House Bill 142, 31st Texas Legislature, Regular Session), the Texas Library and Historical Commission was composed of five members: the Superintendant of Public Instruction, the chairman of the University of Texas History Department, plus three public members appointed by the governor, with concurrence of the Senate, for two-year terms. In 1919 (Senate Bill 88, 36th Texas Legislature, 2nd Called Session), the composition of the Commission was changed to five public members appointed by the governor for 6-year terms. In 1953 (House Bill 762, 53rd Texas Legislature, Regular Session), an extra member was added, bringing the number up to six. In 1979 (House Bill 1429, 66th Texas Legislature, Regular Session), the name of the commission was changed to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, still composed of six members. In a statewide move to prevent tied votes in boards containing even numbers of members, an additional public member was added in 2003 (Senate Bill 287, 78th Texas Legislature, Regular Session), raising the number to seven.
The Commission appoints the State Librarian and Director who serves as the executive officer of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission as well as the executive and administrative officer of the agency. Duties of the State Librarian and Director are to record the proceedings of the Commission and keep account of its financial transactions; approve expenditures made in connection with the State Library; have charge of the State Library and materials contained therein; demand and collect records of state agencies and officials not connected to their current duties; endeavor to collect manuscript records in the hands of private individuals; procure archives of the state which have been removed, including those found in Mexico and other states; preserve historical relics and memorabilia which come into possession of the State Library; give proper attention to the care and availability of the archives in custody of the State Library; make a biennial report to the Governor; and ascertain the condition of all public libraries in the state and report the results to the Commission. Additionally, the State Librarian and Director is authorized by law to transfer, dispose, or otherwise destroy records in his custody which have no permanent value.
The State Librarian and Director oversees the operations of the divisions in the State Library through which his duties and responsibilities are carried out. Divisions as of 1984 were Administration (includes offices of the State Librarian, Assistant State Librarian, and publications), Administrative Services (includes personnel, accounting, building services, purchasing, and a print shop), Archives (administers the permanently valuable official records of the state and related historical materials), Data Processing (provides computer operations and assistance to the divisions), Blind and Physically Handicapped (provides materials for blind and disabled patrons), Information Services (includes genealogy, reference, U.S. and Texas documents programs, and technical services), Library Development (works with public libraries to secure funding, etc.), Local Records (operates a depository program for county records), and Records Management (provides records management assistance to state agencies and ensures records are sent to the Archives for permanent storage or are disposed of due to a non-permanent value).
By 1995, the divisions had been condensed into Administrative Services, Automated Information Systems, the Talking Book Program (providing services to all disabled Texans), Archives and Information Services (combining the majority of the old programs of the Archives and the Information Services and managing Regional Historical Resource Depositories), Technical Services (responsible for acquisitions, cataloging, processing and binding of library materials), Statewide Library Development (to promote and improve Texas libraries), and State and Local Records Management. Since 1995, the Executive Office has been the unit incorporating the Public Information Office and the offices of the Assistant Librarian and the Director and Librarian.
(Sources include previous finding aids, Texas Government Code, Chapter 441, and the enabling legislation.)
The mandates of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission include the following: to preserve the record of government for public scrutiny, to secure and make accessible historically significant records and other valuable resources, to meet the reading needs of Texans with disabilities, and to build and sustain statewide partnerships to improve library programs and services. The functions are documented in the minutes, agenda, and other meeting materials of the governing body--the Texas Library and Historical Commission (1909-1979), and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (1979-2005).
Minutes of the Texas Library and Historical Commission date 1909-1979; minutes of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission date 1979-2005; agenda are filed with the minutes dating 1988-2005; and indexes of minutes date 1951-1993. Minutes are created to document in a thorough but usually summary fashion the official actions of the commission in its meetings. Agenda inform the public as to what will be discussed and/or decided at each commission meeting. These discussions and actions include, but are not limited to, the following: budgets, internal audits, legislation, long range plans, proposal and adoption of administrative rules, committee reports, construction projects, loans of archival records and their return, regional historical resource depositories, state and national conferences on library and information services, agreements with state universities and other repositories in the state regarding records of certain governors, adoption of state and local government records retention schedules, appointments to the Library Systems Act Advisory Board and the Library Services and Construction Act Advisory Council, etc. Occasional supporting documentation found in the minutes includes correspondence, resolutions, presentations, etc. The supporting documentation currently dates 1989 and 1995-2001, and includes drafts of minutes and agenda, correspondence, proposed and adopted rules and amendments, presentations, legislative appropriations requests, operating budgets, strategic plans, etc.
Also included is one set of minutes, dating December 1973, for the Texas State Board of Library Examiners.
To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.
Restrictions on Access
Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.
Restrictions on Use
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted and may be freely used in any way. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).
(Identify the item), Texas State Library and Archives Commission meeting files. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession numbers: 1998/158, 1999/158, 2000/087, 2000/102, 2000/200, 2001/040, 2002/117, 2002/138, 2003/093, 2004/057, 2004/177, 2005/072, 2005/132, 2006/208, 2008/099
These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by Administrative Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission on June 9, 1998; May 27, 1999; December 28, 1999; January 21, 2000; August 29, 2000; October 18, 2000; April 1, 2002; May 31, 2002; December 23, 2002; November 14, 2003; December 20, 2004; March 29, 2005; January 25, 2006; and February 26, 2008; and by the Texas Legislative Reference Library on June 23, 2004.
The meeting files of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission have always been in the custody of the agency.
Tony Black, February 2006, February 2008
Minutes dating 1909-1979 have been microfilmed (listed in the inventory below).
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission periodically mounts its agenda and minutes in HTML format on the agency website (http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/agency/commission/meetings/index.html). As of March 2008, this includes agenda for January 1999-August 2007, and minutes for January 1999-June 2007.
Detailed Description of the Records