During the first annual Children's and Youth Librarians Conference of North Texas in 2007, NTLP (then NTRLS) staff became aware of a need for a regional network for all library staff and supporters sharing an interest in the conference theme. That idea led to the creation of four Special Interest Groups for Library Youth Services, Library Technology, Library Supporters, and Library Program Planners.
NTLP had always served public libraries in its geographic area, but in recent years the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) had encouraged the regional library systems to also assist other types of libraries including academic, school and special libraries. Since a structure for serving multi-type libraries already existed in the Texas Library Association's districts, NTLP proposed the SIGs as a way to utilize the synergy existing between the two organizations.
As a result, NTLP partnered with TLA District 7 to establish Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for the purpose of networking among peers with similar interests. Interest Groups were created for Library Technology, Library Supporters, Children and Youth Librarians and Library Program Planners.
Each SIG has a website, including a page of links to related resources, and an email discussion list where subscribers can share information. For details, see each SIG's website.
Technology - This SIG focuses on library technology. Any District 7 member who is interested in technology is invited to participate in this SIG. The SIG website is located at http://www.LibraryTechNetwork.com.
Library Supporters - This SIG focuses on library supporter issues including library advocacy, fundraising, governance of support groups, etc. Members of friends groups and library foundations, library board members, volunteers, other lay supporters and library staff are invited to participate in this group. The SIG website is located at http://www.LibrarySupportersNetwork.com.
Library Program Planners and Presenters - This SIG focuses on library programs, the people who plan them and the people who present them. Any District 7 member who is interested in library programming, both children's and adult, is invited to join this SIG. The SIG website is located at http://www.LibraryPresentationsNetwork.com.
Children and Youth Librarians - This SIG focuses on children and youth issues in libraries. Any District 7 member interested in library services to youth and childrenis invited to join this SIG. The SIG website is located at http://www.LibraryYouthServicesNetwork.com.
In 2008 through 2011, each SIG was associated with an annual regional conference. The original idea for the SIGs developed from the regional conferences held by NTLP in 2007 and 2008, where many participants asked for a way to continue the networking started at the conferences.
Because of funding reductions future conferences have been postponed indefinitely.
Conference history is archived at the website for each SIG.
Because of funding reductions, the future of this project is uncertain. NTLP plans to maintain the SIG websites and mailing lists. If funding becomes available, NTLP hopes to increase the online networking functions for each SIG, adding features such as a discussion forum, peer networking, online chats, blogs, wikis, and other Web 2.0 innovations.