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The direct appropriations request is $480.1 million. The Library is requesting funding for 121 additional employees. I have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Billington not only in the last 2 years as Chairman, but in my first year on the Appropriations Committee in 1993 and 4 years as a member of the legislative branch subcommittee. What Dr. Billington and his staff are able to do at the Library of Congress is amazing, not just for the Congress, which is what the Library was intended for, but it also serves the entire country. And many of us know inside our districts and our States how much we rely on the Library of Congress as the greatest library in the world and leading library in the world, with Dr. Billington's leadership.
All Members of Congress are especially thankful for that work. And we have an opportunity, I think, especially with the technology and our ability to work with that technology, to expand works in other libraries around the country through the Library of Congress and with the new digitization program.
Dr. Billington, would you introduce your staff? And if you have a prepared statement or other statements that you would like to make-we will do that at this time.
I want to also welcome Dan Mulhollan, who is Director of the Congressional Research Service, we are also happy to see you today, and enjoy working with you in the fine job you have done with the CRS over these years.
Dr. BILLINGTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Scott, Deputy Librarian of Congress is here with me and is our chief operating officer at the Library. I think all of the other colleagues here have been previously introduced and presented. The only change this year is that Laura Campbell is now Associate Librarian for Strategic Initiatives. She was in charge of the National Digital Library and now has assumed this higher position as Associate Librarian for Strategic Initiatives, which is a Library-wide responsibility recommended by the National Academy of Sciences study, She came to the Library originally from the private sector—and did a great job building the National Digital Library. I think all of our other colleagues you know.
And as far as opening statement is concerned, I have submitted a statement for the record, Mr. Chairman. I would be happy to make one, but I think with this distinguished array, I would be happy to just begin immediately answering your questions.
Statement of James H. Billington
The Librarian of Congress
Committee on Appropriations
June 26, 2001
The Library celebrated its bicentennial in 2000 by focusing on the future. The
Internet has added a new dimension to the Library's historic mission of sustaining and
preserving a universal collection and making its resources useful to the Congress and
the American people. The new digital communications offer this unique institution
extraordinary opportunities to achieve new levels of service to the Congress for its
legislative work and to citizens in search of knowledge in every Congressional District.
The Library created for its bicentennial an on-line library of more than five million
historically significant digital items that are now available free of charge on the Internet
to people wherever they live. More than 120 million Americans now have personal
Internet access, and 95 percent of K-12 schools and most public libraries can provide
access for those who cannot afford personal computers. The Library of Congress
received almost one billion electronic transactions in 2000.
We deeply appreciate the Congress's approval of the Library's fiscal 2001
budget, including permanent status for the 84 positions that made possible our award
winning National Digital Library (NDL) Program. This action permits us to retain for our
broadening digital future the innovative talents, technical expertise, and Library
experience of those who will be able to help us face the massive challenges that lie
ahead: incorporating digital material into our universal holdings, ensuring their long-term
preservation, and making them accessible to the Congress and the nation. The Library,
at the same time, must sustain its traditional artifactual collections (the amount of print
materials also continues to grow worldwide) and move its services to the Congress and
to the Copyright community rapidly into the electronic age. All this and more we must
do with a staff considerably smaller than a decade ago.
Our NDL efforts have won many awards and widespread praise. Joyce
Valenza, a librarian at Springfield Township High School in Pennsylvania, states: "I use
the American Memory Web site to bring an immediacy to history that kids can't get from textbooks." Richard Geib, a history and English teacher at Milkin Community High
School in Los Angeles, writes: "I am a teacher who has found your site ENORMOUSLY
helpful in presenting/building digital lectures for my students. I cannot remember the
last time I derived such direct benefit from my tax dollars!"
Building on such success, the Library launched on April 24, 2000, its two
hundredth birthday, a new Web site (AmericasLibrary.gov) designed to introduce
children and families to American history. This site -- which is recording more than eight
million electronic hits each month -- is being promoted by the first pro bono campaign
for a library program ever conducted by the Advertising Council. With virtually all K-12 public schools now connected to the Internet, the Library is positioned to make a major contribution toward the nation's educational development and future productivity.
The Library's main priority in the digital arena is to help the Congress and
generations of researchers quickly gain access to relevant and verifiable information in
digital formats, while ensuring that the rights of content creators and producers are
respected. The exponential growth of the Internet is fostering an explosion of material
that increasingly is produced only in digital formats. These so-called "born digital” works
are growing so rapidly that an international consulting firm, Accenture (formerly
Andersen Consulting), predicts that the sale of e-books will reach $2.3 billion by 2005.
The Library is facing the massive challenge of applying its traditional strengths of
acquiring, preserving, describing, and making accessible knowledge and information to
the rapidly growing but often ephemeral mass of material produced only in digital form.
The Library must apply its unique experiences and resources for organizing knowledge
and information with in-depth subject and language expertise to the unstructured and
unfiltered world of the Internet if it is to continue informing and serving the Congress and
As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2001, the Congress provided to
the Library a special $99.8 million appropriation to develop a cooperative nationwide
collection and preservation strategy for digital materials. In collaboration with other
Federal and nonfederal entities, the Library is mandated to develop a phased
implementation plan that will lead to a national strategy for a network of libraries and
other organizations to share responsibilities for collecting, maintaining, and providing
permanent access to digital materials. The plan will also develop, in concert with the
Copyright Office, strategies for defining national policies and protocols for the long-term
preservation of digital materials and for the technological infrastructure that will be
required for the Library to play its key role in the collaborative national network.
This new congressional direction recognizes that the Library must integrate the
new Internet/digital medium into its historic mandate to preserve and provide access to
the record of human experience. Of the total appropriated, $75 million is to be made
available as this amount is matched by nonfederal donations, including in-kind
contributions, through March 31, 2003.
Two years ago, I commissioned an independent study by the National Academy
of Sciences (NAS), a private, nonprofit science and technology research organization, to
provide an outside assessment of our technology efforts and general advice on an
information technology path for the Library in the next decade. Experts on the
Computer and Science Telecommunication Board of the National Research Council of
NAS produced in July 2000 their report, LC 21: A Digital Strategy for the Library of
Congress. It suggested that the Library “needs to be more proactive in bringing
together stakeholders as partners in digital publishing and digital library research and
development." The report called for the Library to assume leadership in many areas,
such as supporting and promoting research and development in digital preservation,
coordinating metadata standards for digital materials to extend and transform
cooperative cataloging in the Internet context, and helping the U.S. library community
work with electronic publishers and others to resolve the legal and technical questions
that relate to digital works.
The Library's fiscal 2002 budget recognizes the Library's special, new
congressional mandate to develop a national digital infrastructure and preservation plan
in collaboration with other Federal and nonfederal entities for the Congress and the
nation. At the same time, the Library must continue to construct the digital-repository
architecture and basic technology infrastructure that will enable us to preserve current
and future digital assets – building on many of the NAS recommendations.