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Mr. HOYER. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. HOYER. Just for a second. The gentleman will like what I have to say. I said it before, but Mr. Lewis and Mr. Fazio, during their tenure as essentially cochairs of this subcommittee one was a ranking member and one was a chairman-worked together as an extraordinary team and made a contribution to Capitol Hill and its organizational structure which will last for centuries and they should both be thanked by the American people. I mean that sincerely.
OFF-SITE STORAGE Mr. LEWIS. That was leading to a question about the Remote Storage Facility. Can you tell me how that project is going along and why it seems to be following the pattern of the Botanic Garden?
Dr. BILLINGTON. I am sorry?
Mr. LEWIS. Following the pattern of the Botanic Garden. In other words, it has taken a long time. Where is that facility? What is the story with it?
Dr. BILLINGTON. Are you
Dr. BILLINGTON. Fort Meade. Well, we hope that the first module will be ready by August and that we would start occupancy in October, but that is not at all certain. We are not sure about that.
Mr. LEWIS. We were going to get into the Botanical Gardens 2 years ago and so I am wondering about this. That is why I asked the question.
What is the problem at Fort Meade?
General SCOTT. I am not sure that I could give you all of the series of changes that have come about.
Mr. LEWIS. We tend to blame the Architect every time we have a problem. I just wonder if you have some idea of what is going on at Fort Meade, and I don't want you to respond for the record for this one, because it is pretty clear we have got a project there that is stumbling along. General SCOTT. Yes,
sir. In my recollection, we have had at least three changes as to when the completion date was going to be. I can't go into any more specifics as to why those delays occurred, other than the plans didn't meet certain specifications.
The current promised occupancy date is August, but we don't have any guarantees that it is going to happen in August. We have plans to occupy the building and items that we are ready to move out there; they are just on hold until we know whether the facility is going to be available or not.
Mr. LEWIS. From time to time, Mr. Chairman, we consider having building programs be contracted out to see if they might move along more swiftly than when carried forward by the Architect. I am reminded of the fact that some years ago we built an extension on the Cannon Building that was a temporary little building off the Cannon Building, and it was designed to kind of look like it so it wouldn't be too disruptive to that magnificent structure. That was about the way we handle our building programs and I would hope that the chairman would solve those problems in a businesslike manner between now and the time I get through with my ambassadorship.
Mr. TAYLOR. One of the things we did in last year's bill was to add a penalty clause on contractors that do not finish work on time.
Mr. LEWIS. That is a unique idea.
Mr. TAYLOR. Unfortunately, the Fort Meade facility construction contract started before we required the penalty clause and, therefore, it did not provide for a contractor penalty. The Botanic Garden is not either, but it was one of the reasons we did it. It does make a difference. Under the old law, if you started building a building, you could not charge more, however, you could take as long as you wanted to complete the project. But now we have a provision that we can penalize the contractor for failure to bring the job in on time.
Mr. LEWIS. Maybe we could at least bonus them on the Botanic Garden.
Mr. TAYLOR. Well, we hope that before cold weather that we will have it open.
Mr. LEWIS. I see.
Mr. TAYLOR. I have some questions for the record I will submit to be answered at this time. [The questions and responses follow:)
FORT MEADE STORAGE FACILITY We understand that you will begin to shift parts of the Library's collections to the Fort Meade storage facility this spring and summer. The committee directed in last years report that to the maximum extent practical, the Library was to employ students to support collections transfer and maintenance activities.
Question. What efforts have been taken regarding this directive? How many students have been employed for this project?
Response. The Library's staff for Fort Meade has not been hired yet as we are awaiting a firm occupancy date from the Architect of the Capitol. The Library's goal, once the occupancy date is firm, is to have staff report approximately four weeks in advance for orientation and training. We have identified activities related to the project, that are feasible for part-time students to perform, and will begin actively recruiting through local college campuses. These activities include establishing records in warehouse management database and boxing the material. We are currently conducting the preparatory work that requires staff with a knowledge of cataloging practices. Hiring students into selected positions will free up the Library's skilled staff to perform Fort Meade mission-related activities.
CULPEPER FACILITY Question. For the record, could you provide us with an update on the Culpeper facility?
Response. The new design is in its final preparation stage to be reviewed, for approval, by the Architect of the Capitol, the Library, and Packard Humanities Institute, who is the private sector sponsor. The design includes construction of a threestory building, adjacent to the existing building, to house all staff and laboratories. A separate structure is required to accommodate differing temperatures for climate control, between storage and staff space.
Mr. LEWIS. On a serious note, an additional serious note, yesterday Dan Mulhollan and I spent a little time together talking about be addressing. CRS does a fabulous job for us, but I have noted over recent years as I have learned to type, because we have to use a computer these days, that at a district office level, if you want to access the CRS system to get information from the Library or otherwise, especially from the Midwest, particularly the West, that there is a security requirement of confidentiality of these communications that makes the requests come all the way to Washington, then they have got to go all the way back through security and on to the District offices. It is such a lengthy process that sometimes the computer just doesn't work. It is so slow that there is absolutely no way that your district office staffs are going to be using these computer systems.
I mean, it is incredible that we have not come into the modern age. If this problem is affecting West Coast offices, it probably affects most of the 435 offices. I would hope that the Leg branch would help CRS make this a priority and find a solution. I must say that Dan was very forthcoming in that discussion, and so I am confident that we are going to see some thought applied as well as perhaps a solution, but it is a problem we should know about.
Mr. TAYLOR. Right. In the supplemental, which was passed in the House and now is over in the Senate, we have provided funds to address that problem, and I hope we can make some progress during this Congress.
Mr. LEWIS. Well, I have had an opportunity to work in many a way with Ms. Dawson, and she is always well ahead of me.
Mr. MORAN. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. MORAN. May I just suggest the chairman address the historical records questions to me. Let me just say I am aware of what Mr. Lewis has contributed to the legislative branch buildings and personnel and vision, and I am very appreciative of it. We obviously stand on his shoulders. And also may I say it is somewhat inspirational to see the former ranking member of the legislative branch is now the Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which I find to be of inspirational value as well.
Mr. HOYER. Good precedent.
Mr. MORAN. Yeah, good precedent, and I also appreciate his concern over the Botanical Garden. I think many of those flowers will be endangered species by the time that is completed, but thank you for your comments, Mr. Lewis.
Mr. LEWIS. Thank you very much, Mr. Moran.
Mr. LAHOOD. Mr. Chairman, Dr. Billington and General Scott were kind enough to come by my office also and visit with me, and I have no questions of them.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Sherwood.
COPING WITH RETIREMENTS AND SUCCESSION PLANNING
Mr. SHERWOOD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I had the privilege of chatting over the budget with these gentlemen also, and I appreciated that, but as I understand the function of the Library of Congress, of course there are two great functions. One is historical and archival, and the other is information providing, and as we digital one, I see a whole lot of problems and opportunities, and Mr. Lewis just commented on the slowness of some of our systems. And I would just like to ask, do we have enough in the budget, and is our management enough directed to make this great change that technology dictates? And also do we and I would like to put another component to that, and I think that is personnel. I think we have a system staffed with great institutional memory, because of the longevity of so many of our employees, and I would like to know about the thinking of transferring that institutional memory as we have retirements. And so if I can put those two to you, I would appreciate it.
Dr. BILLINGTON. Well, those are really extraordinarily good points. That touches on a couple of things central to this budget. First of all, we are very grateful that the 84 people who built the National Digital Library were transferred and accepted as those slots were given us last year by the committee. That was terrifically helpful, because these are people who have helped build something new into the system.
Further, we have 108 new FTEs that we are asking for this year. We realize that looks like a lot. It actually is very modest if you look at the National Academy recommendations. They recommended something that if we translated it into direct financial terms would have been astronomical, but we think that this is appropriate and this could get us there as rapidly as possible. There is no question that we need additional slots, and we are in the process of trying to retool and reshape a lot of our existing people.
We have been working on the succession problem. We have had a number of succession positions filled in CRS and Library Services. CRS hired 56 positions, Library Services hired 16, to develop staff mentoring relationships so that the institutional memory is transferred to people who at the same time bring in new skills.
What we are doing digitally is basically what we have done with traditional artifactual collections; that is to say, it is acquiring them, preserving them, cataloging them, making them accessible and deliverable and speeding up the delivery. All of this is part of the process. That is essentially what we have done before, but it is in a whole new area, and so you need the wisdom of the traditional functions, and then you need the innovative ability to deal with the new technology.
Regarding retirement I think somewhere between 8- and 900 people will be eligible to retire this next year. We normally have about 15.6 percent of the people who are eligible to retire who do retire annually.
So there has been a slight increase in the number of people that have retired, but it is not as dramatic as the numbers might suggest. Our staff do tend to stay on, and this gives us a great deal of continuity. But because you never know how this is going to play out and because there is going to be a very large number of people eligible to retire, increasingly so, there is just an absolute need for people to come in before those people retire so that that wisdom is maintained and at the same time to bring in the fresh talent.
COMPETING WITH THE PRIVATE SECTOR SALARY SCALES
General SCOTT. I would just add that one of the difficult challenges is to be able to find the people who have the technical knowledge and then to be able to pay them comparable to what the civilian industry is paying them. That is one of the challenges that we are facing when we look for people who have the knowledge of the new technical storage capacities, this digitally-based, and that is something that we are continuing to struggle with.
Dr. BILLINGTON. I want to just pay tribute to our technical people, because they have done tremendous work in keeping up with this exponential growth, because we had a billion electronic transactions last year. Our electronic transactions, unlike banks and other institutions, contain a great deal of data. These are very data-heavy transactions. There is a tremendous burden here, and we really can't pay competitive salaries with the private sector. This is definitely a problem, but the dedication and the hard work of the people who have made it possible to field a billion transactions in a year and to keep getting out so much material is really extraordinary. That is why we do need this additional infrastructure.
If we are talking about infrastructure, we are talking about two things, both storage capacity, these expensive technical things, and we are mainly talking about people, and that is what is so essential.
Mr. SHERWOOD. Thank you.
Mr. TAYLOR. Dr. Billington, you are requesting about $2.1 million to begin an eight-year project to inventory the 17 million books and bound periodicals in the Library's collection. It was our understanding that one of the benefits of the Integrated Library System would be for the first time the Library could maintain inventory control over its collection. Has the Integrated Library System proven to be ineffective in this regard, or would this inventory project be accomplished as part of shifting to the Fort Meade storage facility?
Dr. BILLINGTON. No. It is not at all. The Integrated Library System has created a means and a mechanism by which it is possible to gain inventory control. This has been a constant concern of audits and reviews of the Library-item-level inventory control.
The Integrated Library System has made it possible for the first time to do this, but in order to do it, you have to check what is on the shelf. There has to be a one-time, basic inventory, which is very labor-intensive work. The Integrated Library System has given us a tool with which to do this, and that is why this is so important, because it will give us total inventory control, which we have never really been able to have before. This is a process that involves 17 million printed items, books and periodicals that have to be inventoried.
Mr. TAYLOR. I have a question I will submit for the record. [The question and response follow:]
INVENTORY CONTROL You are requesting funding ($2.1 million) to begin an eight-year project to inven