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Answer. Under separate cover, we have transmitted to you the number of employees on board at GPO at this time. We have continued to cut staff in all areas of the Agency in order to reach the congressionally mandated number of FTE's3,383—a number we feel is dangerous for the Agency's effort to timely deliver and quality product to the Congress.
We have stated this fact in testimony before the Congress for the past two years. There is only one area in the GPO where there is any hint of under utilization. In the recently acquired computer-to-plate operation, we are working to provide cross training to those individuals who will be put out of their current positions by this new technology. In the next two years, we hope to be able to assimilate all of the effected men and women into new areas.
Because of the continued congressionally mandated reductions in FTE's, there are no additional under utilized workforces at GPO. Because there is no need whatsoever for a mandated “reduction in force-RIF,” we were not in a position to offer our employees the "buyout” that was authorized in the last year's appropriation legislation. Just the opposite is our need—rather than a RIF, we must have the ability to correctly and adequately staff our production and management functions to guarantee timely and quality products to Congress.
With 232 "fill actions” actively progressing toward fulfillment in GPO, it is vital that we return to the level of 3,550 FTE's authorized by Congress last year. We will continue to cut positions where it is possible. The record of our success in that field should not be ignored when considering our only request to take a "breather" from the cuts that have transformed GPO in the past two decades from a workforce of 8,500 to our current level. GPO will offer retraining opportunities to any employees that may become underutilized due to changes in technology and workload mix.
Question. GPO has been delivering depository library materials electronically for a number of years. How many depository libraries have no computer access?
Answer. Electronic distributions to the depository libraries consist primarily of online Government information products, typically accessible via the World Wide Web. A minor percentage of electronic distributions are CD-ROM products. Based on the results from GPO's most recent Biennial Survey of Depository Libraries, only 32 of the 1,358 responding depository libraries (2.4 percent) reported no plans to provide Internet access for the public by January 1, 1999. The same survey responses indicated that only 29 depository libraries (2.1 percent) lacked the capability to use CDROM's.
Question. At last years hearing we discussed the possibility of renting excess space at the GPO building to another government agency. Have you looked into that possibility?
Answer. We have no plans at this time to lease space in the main GPO building. As we indicated last year, the available space is limited, as are the opportunities for renting space. GPO is working with a landlord to return 25,000 square feet of leased warehouse space located in Laurel, Maryland.
STATEMENT OF JANET S. ZAGORIN, CHAIR, AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIA
TION STANDING COMMITTEE ON THE LAW LIBRARY OF CON
CONGRESS FROM UTAH AND MEMBER, AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIA-
GRESS Senator BENNETT. Our last panel is the American Bar Association, from which we have two witnesses: Ms. Janet Zagorin, who chairs the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress. She is accompanied by one of my constituents, former Congressman Bill Orton from Utah. He is a member of the Committee on the Law Library of Congress and has testified before us previously.
I assume that the clock has run and we don't have to swear you in at this time. (Laughter.]
Mr. ORTON. I think so. Yes.
Senator BENNETT. That was one of the more interesting experiences of my new chairmanship, where I didn't know how to do it. He should have handed me a piece of paper telling me how to do that.
We welcome you both and look forward to your testimony.
Ms. ZAGORIN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and Senator Feinstein. We are very honored to be able to speak to you this morning.
Senator BENNETT. We apologize for the length of your wait today,
Ms. ZAGORIN. That's fine. We are very grateful that you allowed us to speak once again. I am certainly honored that Bill is a member of our committee now and is going to participate in my testimony.
This committee has always been very supportive, the ABA is supportive of the Law Library of Congress. As I think you know, we have had a standing committee at the ABA for close to 70 years now to support the Law Library of Congress. So it is an enormous commitment on our part because we think that the Law Library, contrary to what some people may have thought, becomes a much more important part of our culture and plays a much more important role, particularly as we approach the Millennium. Technology and the need for information I think become much more powerful.
It is essentially your law library. It is the library across the street from you and for every member of Congress, and it is accessible to every member of State or Federal Governments and your staffs. I think most of you probably use it for some very, very sophisticated, confidential, timely, and critical information.
I think, as we see changes in information technology and as we see changes in just the role of government throughout the United States, as well as throughout the world, we think that the Law Library becomes the library across the street essentially for every citizen.
I mean, you and Bill come from a State that is very far away from Washington, D.C. And yet, I think the Law Library has as much impact there as it certainly has in the State where I live, in New York, or in California, if not more.
Senator BENNETT. California is even farther away. [Laughter.] Ms. ZAGORIN. And I learned that at the library. [Laughter.] But it is not really farther away in certain respects.
I know that you heard testimony this morning about numbers and about dollars. Bill and I really want to summarize my written testimony and make a couple of key points.
We think that the need to have access to what is there—and you can see that from the charts I provided to you—to what is the largest legal collection in the world is an unbelievable accomplishment of this democracy. It has been accomplished over 200 years.
It contains our failings, our weaknesses, from the slave codes of every jurisdiction to our greatest triumphs.
We think that we at the ABA are committed to making sure that this access to information for students, for senior citizens, whether they need to know about Medicare information, Congressional debate, access to information on foreign jurisdictions, this collection must be both maintained and enhanced.
In addition to being that kind of library for every citizen in the United States, I think that we have an opportunity here that goes way beyond what I think are very modest dollars. This committee was very, very supportive of our request for the Law Library last year.
But I think that the opportunity is, again, as we look around our world and look around our country, it is there. We want to show what the strength of a democratic Nation is and the rule of law. We believe very fervently that there is a nonpartisan and completely I think meaningful way to show that; that Congress is willing to open its Law Library to access by anyone, anyone who can get on the Internet and look at the Web page.
I think the more people who go on-line for information, from school children to people in China, to people around the world who are looking for models for the rule of law, models for democracy, show that it speaks volumes that this Congress allows—I mean, obviously, not your confidential CRS reports—but people can get on and see the Law Library of Congress.
We provide in this country access to every statute, every decision, regulations, Congressional debate, amendments to bills, and access even to the foreign law collection of the United States as well. It becomes a very powerful tool without a lot of statement.
I mean, we no longer do at the State Department some of the publications that many of us believed were a very valuable expression of the rule of law and models.
I think that if the Law Library of Congress expands its role in GLIN, about which you probably heard this morning, the Global Legal Information Network which brings countries together, increases the digitized material that is available from our historic collections and on-line currently on the Web page, this costs some money—to digitize and provide information. Many of the agencies that you heard from are putting their material there. It is all in the Library of Congress. It is all at the Law Library.
We would like to be able to see that immediately up on their Web page:
I think that it has a very, very deep and resonant impact on our citizenry to say that this is a democracy, this is what it means, you see the good and the bad.
I think the request of this hearing has been fairly modest for what we believe is an impact that can go well beyond the dollars.
So I think Bill might have a word or two to say. But we really would appreciate it if you would support the Law Library's request.
[The statement follows:)
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JANET S. ZAGORIN Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, the American Bar Association (ABA) appreciates the opportunity to speak in support of the fiscal year 2000 Legislative Appropriations budget. My name is Janet Zagorin and I am Chair of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress. Accompanying me is Bill Orton, former Member of Congress from Utah, and a member of the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress. We are here at the request of Philip Anderson, President of the Association. In my non-volunteer life, I am a law librarian. I am currently the Director of Practice Development at the law firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. I appreciate the opportunity to testify on behalf of the ABA in support of the budget request of the Library of Congress and its Law Library.
The American Bar Association is the world's largest professional organization representing a large and diverse voluntary membership of over 400,000 attorneys nationwide. The ABA created the Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress in 1932, as a measure of its dedication to preserving our nation's Law Library and its vast collection of legal literature and sources. Since its inception, the Standing Committee has consistently acted as the Association's liaison and voice of the legal profession concerning the continued development and operation of the Law Library of Congress.
On behalf of the Association, I commend the Congress for having established one of the most prestigious and comprehensive legal collections in the world. This year, the Law Library has asked for a modest increase in its funding, which we believe is the minimum appropriation required if the Law Library is to continue to provide first-rate research service to Congress, maintain its role as an innovator in the delivery of electronic information, and preserve its treasures for future generations.
I know that you are facing many difficult choices as you contemplate the Legislative Branch budget, but I hope that you will spare our nation's Library in those efforts. As in recent years, the Library has requested only the vital essentials and a reasonable increase to continue to meet the demands of its strategic plan and a rapidly changing world. The Law Library, likewise, must be able to continue to maintain its role as the ultimate legal resource center for our citizens. In spite of shrinking resources, the Law Library continues to provide service to the public at large in American law through its reading room, and on foreign and comparative law on a priority basis through legal specialists in its research directorate. An enhanced web site for the Law Library to further facilitate access to legal reference services is being developed.
The Law Library is extremely grateful for the support of the Committee on Appropriations. As you may be aware, in the past, the Library has undergone significant reductions in staffing and services. While the funding the Law Library received last year enabled the Law Library to maintain and improve certain areas, the Library is still forced to confront the considerable downsizing that took place in previous years. We ask for Congress' continued support in granting the Library the resources it needs to develop, maintain, and preserve its collection and its reference services, and to prevent further erosion of its workforce.
Faced with the necessity of developing a leading presence in the electronic age while maintaining its preeminent legal collection, the Library of Congress must