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have adequate funding to remain a leader in serving the Congress and the nation. While the Library is a critical resource available to every citizen of our country, immediate access to the great resources of the Law Library should be made more available to everyone from isolated senior citizens to urban school children—via the internet. This, however, can only be accomplished by increased funding for the Law Library's technical support team. Even with the generous funding Congress granted last year, the Law Library is unable to achieve the level of research services it believes Congress deserves and requires. For example, the Law Library must support its entire research program with a staff of seven, and the largest legal collection in the world has only two part-time staff responsible for the filing of one million loose-leaf pages annually. We believe that proper funding for the Law Library's technical support team and computer systems is vitally important to ensure the integrity of the Law Library's collections and to provide Congress with the services upon which it must depend!
Fiscal year 2000 will be a "Year of Great Transition,” for the Library of Congress. One of the Library's building blocks for this transition is the expansion of the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN). GLIN is the digital future of the Law Library. What began as a simple card file over fifty years ago has grown into an international network of the world's legislative bodies sharing via the Internet the full text of their nation's laws and regulations. The GLIN database contains information on over 70,000 laws and regulations from 46 countries, and provides Congress with a direct link to foreign, comparative, and international laws.
The Law Library is also contributing approximately 40 percent of the digital information to the Library's National Digital Library program. Through a program entitled, A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation, the Law Library is making available through the Internet the debates and documents of the first 42 Congresses including debates on ratification of the constitution, the records of the federal convention, and the debates and laws of the Continental Congress. The ABA hopes that you will approve the budget request which will enable the Library to continue adding Congressional records to the internet. The funding requested for the Library's automation projects, including GLIN, will undoubtedly strengthen an enhance its efficiency and effectiveness internally and globally, in serving the Congress, in expanding public access to its invaluable collections, and in sustaining its role as the leader and progressive host of this vast knowledge.
Giving the Library of Congress and its Law Library the support it needs to preserve the knowledge and ideas, that sustain us as a community and a nation, would be a significant gift to our country and to the Library in its bicentennial year, which will be celebrated in 2000. It is the oldest Federal cultural institution in our country, serving Congress as its priority client, all Federal Agencies, as well as state and local governments. But it is also important to remember that the nation at large is served by the Library. As technology and the information age advance, new opportunities to serve Congress and the nation are available, but at the same time new challenges exist that make support for the Library even more crucial. At this critical time, it is imperative that we continue to support this great institution as we move into the new millennium.
In this turbulent and challenging world, the Law Library represents a powerful reaffirmation that we are a democratic nation of laws and that access to our laws is and should remain open and free. Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, the American Bar Association appreciates your courtesy in allowing me to appear before you today. We hope that you will look most favorably upon the budget request of the Library of Congress and its Law Library.
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Harvard (1,902,039) Columbia (949,810) University of Texas
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Senator BENNETT. Thank you.
Mr. ORTON. Thank you, Senator Bennett and Senator Feinstein, first for the privilege of speaking with you for just a few minutes and second for your historic support of the Library of Congress and the Law Library of Congress in particular.
We thank you for the generosity that the committee has shown over the past few years.
I recall when I first came to Congress that we had an annual deficit of over $350 billion. We are now in a surplus.
To do that, to get there, the Congress had to cut budgets. There has been an impact for those budget cuts
The Law Library of Congress, I think we all can be very proud of them for what they have been able to accomplish with the few resources that they have. But just practically speaking, if you were to grant them their entire budget request this year, it still would not put them back to the level of staffing at which they were in 1994, when we started cutting those budgets dramatically.
As a practical matter, to show you the impact of those staff reductions, the law is an ever-changing field. To keep up with the law, many services that report the various changes in statutes, cases, regulations, et cetera, issue weekly and oftentimes daily update sheets.
Those sheets come into the Library of Congress and if they are not posted, you don't have the current law.
They are, right now, millions of pages behind in posting those updates, simply because they do not have the clerical support to do If you don't have a current statute before you, you cannot rely on the accuracy of the information you are getting from your own library.
So it seems to me that you have two choices: either abolish the library or fund it adequately to provide you with current, up-todate information.
Senator BENNETT. Are you suggesting that the request we have gotten from the Library is too low and that we should increase it?
Mr. ORTON. Being out of Congress, I would even encourage vou to up it, you know, give them more than they asked to let them get back to the staff levels at which they have been previously.
They have a number of things going on beyond just operating the library, as well. Janet mentioned GLIN. You heard from both Dr. Billington and Dr. Medina previously. They have adequately laid out the background for their needs.
But as the American Bar Association, as a group of this culture and country who rely on the law, we rely on the Law Library as well and we would encourage you to fully fund them, to provide the request—it is the Congress' library—so that you can rely on it and know that you are getting current, up-to-date information. Then we, as the legal community, can rely upon it and all of your constituents and our colleagues and citizens in this country all can rely upon that library.
So we thank you for what you have done in the past and urge you to meet the needs that they have submitted.
I don't know if you have any questions.
Senator BENNETT. I think you have made the case in very compelling fashion. We appreciate your interest and your time to come in here to do this.
Mr. ORTON. Thank you very much.
Senator BENNETT. Do you have any further questions? If you do, you are presiding.
Senator FEINSTEIN. May I ask just one quick question?
Senator BENNETT. As I say, if you have further questions, then you are presiding. You can then take whatever time you want.
Mr. ORTON. And while you are presiding, you can up the request. Senator FEINSTEIN (presiding). All right, then. I will finish and
Ms. ZAGORIN. Thank you, Senator.
Senator FEINSTEIN. I have just a quick question. These other libraries, do they do the updates as well? And do they make it available to everybody?
Ms. ZAGORIN. Those are the five largest law library collections in the United States. As you see, the Law Library has the largest collection, built over 200 years, the smallest book budget and the smallest staff.
They all have the same access to materials. But they do not provide access to Congress. Nor do they provide access to citizens.
You may pay to use their libraries. If you are a wealthy law firm like mine or a corporation, you can have a subscription. They are not open to the public except for the depository part.
Senator FEINSTEIN. So does one have to pay to use the Congressional Library? No?
Ms. ZAGORIN. No. It is completely open. Any citizen anywhere, anybody, can come in.
Senator FEINSTEIN. Is it the only resource that is completely open?
Ms. ZAGORIN. Except for the public library system that you would have in each city or State.
Senator FEINSTEIN. Right.
Ms. ZAGORIN. They log on to this overall Web that the Library of Congress, the Law Library, has. But the Law Library is the only one that has complete access and has the collection that it has. You can even get reference help.
You may go to the Law Library or call up, or have your State library call, and get research—from anywhere.
Senator FEINSTEIN. I think you have made a good point. I would certainly be supportive of your request.
Ms. ZAGORIN. Thank you very much. We think it is so important.
Senator FEINSTEIN. I thank you very much for taking the time to do this.
Ms. ZAGORIN. It is important to all of us.
Senator FEINSTEIN. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 11:51 a.m., Wednesday, March 17, the subcommittee was recessed, to reconvene subject to the call of the Chair.)