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Would you agree with the proposal that we impose a limitation of 10 percent with respect to the amount of LSCA title I moneys that can be used for administrative services and indirect costs? Would you think it wise as another witness said, to mandate State matching moneys in respect of any of these programs?
Mr. MATTHEIS. Mr. Chairman, I would simply indicate that we must hold until the President's budget material comes forward. Then we will be happy to be in conversation with the committee with regard to amendments to the legislation if it were to continue.
Those concepts have some attractions in many respects to what some of our past desires have been, and I don't see any great difficulty in arriving at some mutually agreeable positions.
I think those are things that we can have a dialog on and resolve.
Mr. BRADEMAS. I appreciate that response very much. You know my own views on these matters. That I am in total disagreement with your general perspective doesn't mean we can't sit down and converse on ways in which constructively to amend any legislation we may report.
Let me ask you just a couple of other questions.
What is the problem, Mr. Mattheis, on the matter of the White House Advisory Committee appointees and its budget?
Mr. MATTHEis. I have none, Mr. Chairman. I am happy to defer to the able representative from HEW on my left, Mr. Hastings, with regard to that matter.
Mr. HASTINGS. I think Mr. Trezza's recounting comports with my understanding of what the facts are. I inquired about this recently myself. The Department has nothing to do with the appointment of those people as you know. Those are White House appointments, and I really don't know what the problem is.
I don't know of any problem except the budgetary problem, which Mr. Trezza expressed this morning.
Mr. BRADEMAS. Would you be kind enough, at the request of the committee, to make an inquiry of the White House and let us know?
Mr. HASTINGS. Yes. My understanding of the language in that statute is that it is permissive rather than mandatory, and I think perhaps the President may have decided he has more important things to do.
Mr. BRADEMAS. We may have to write in some mandatory legislation then when we extend this legislation, if that is the posture of the Administration.
I would like to think that we could be cooperative in these matters. That is legislation that had overwhelming support from Democrats and Republicans in the Congress. It was not a partisan matter at all.
Would you be kind enough, Mr. Hastings, to ask the White House if they would give us some information by the end of the week on what their plans are with respect to the President naming his nominees to the Advisory Commission.
Mr. HASTINGS. I would be happy to.
Why, in light of the testimony you have heard today, and in light of your earlier testimony with respect to the importance of cooperation, do you favor phasing out title III, the interlibrary cooperation program?
Mr. MATTHEIS. I think just from the general premise that in a little bit different way we would hope to carry out interlibrary cooperation under the new act. It is just a different way of doing the same thing. I think the intent would be there to continue it, but with a different mode.
Mr. BRADEMAS. What is the Administration's attitude or interpretation of the forward funding requirement in the General Education Provisions Act? Does it apply to the LSCA programs?
Mr. MATTHEIS. Mr. Chairman, as that question came up from some of the other people testifying, we had a little sketchy caucus and couldn't arrive specifically at where we are on that ourselves.
We have a difference, I believe, some feeling that it is covered and some questioning whether it is. I think the concept, however, is one that we have generally supported.
Mr. HASTINGS. It is my understanding the General Education Provision Act provides that authority for all educational programs and it is simply a question of the Appropriations Committee wanting to appropriate 2 years' funds in 1 year and OMB's willingness to request them, as well.
Mr. BRADEMAS. Perhaps you would like to take another more careful look at that.
Mr. MATTHEIS. This would be one of three or four factors we would be willing to discuss as we responded to the final activities of the committee.
Mr. BRADEMAS. Finally, let me say that I hope the fact you opened and closed your statement by alluding to the Administration's consideration of the Federal library program in the 1977 budget process is not solely designed to titillate, but to give encouragement that there may be a new look down there.
I see Secretary Rumsfeld went down to the White House and came away with $2.5 million after an hour or so of conversation so maybe you could pick up a few million dollars for libraries.
Mr. PRESSLER. I might start out by asking a question about the extent to which construction needs have been met in rural areas, such as South Dakota, where I come from, so far as libraries are concerned, and also the supply of books in some of the rural areas?
Mr. MATTHEIS. Mr. Pressler, I am not sure we could be all that specific. We could tell the degree to which the population across the Nation has been covered. I indicated in my remarks 95 percent of the population.
Mr. Hays, would you respond?
Our best information from the South Dakota State library agency is that there are still 20 applications on file now, which indicate if they had LSCA money, they would fund these programs. Nationally, the figure would be between 1,500 and 1.600.
Mr. PRESSLER. I know we have the book mobile project in some rural counties, but I don't know where we are going to get the money to do this from the Federal program.
What do you foresee in terms of some of these smaller population centers in Indian reservations and rural areas, being a little more specific? I don't see in the Governor of South Dakota's budget any provision for this. It is a matter of great concern to me-buying books and making information accessible to some of our rural schools and rural people.
Mr. Hays. Our Library Partnership Act maintains a focus of trying to show how these services can be provided in such areas as you mentioned.
What we are suggesting is that once that technique, that approach has been shown, we would hope State and local authorities would pick up and take care of the operational costs.
Mr. PRESSLER. That dosn't have any money for construction, does it? Mr. Hays. No; it does not, sir.
Mr. MATTHEIS. I think, Mr. Pressler, in a number of other programs that we have, one would want to look very carefully before one felt we wanted to go on to the point of construction in some of our very sparsely settled areas across the land, in Alaska for instance.
I think what we really want to do and what the program that we are proposing would do, would be to try to work out some new, innovative and creative ways of meeting the needs of sparsely settled populations. It is a great need, and there is no question about that.
We have some reservations about the literally exorbitant dollars that would be required to build facilities where there aren't very many people. One new way, which we haven't in fact used that well but we are beginning to, is using technology in various ways. It has not provided the answers yet, nor do we have the answers, but we hope that some project grants out of this new legislation we are requesting would get at some of them.
Mr. PRESSLER. I concur that the cost of construction in these sparsely populated areas is very high. I remember, though, as a young person growing up in South Dakota getting a list of books that one could order through the mail from the State library. That program seems to have been discontinued, but I do think that is one area in which we will need to be a little more vigorous, at least in my State.
Another thing is the Presidential Advisory Commission. Is the reason why there haven't been people appointed to that solely a matter of budget? Does appointing people cost money or has there been just a lag?
Mr. Hastings. I think there are two areas of budgetary implication. One is the actual cost of the conference itself; the other is the point which Mr. Trezza indicated he had been told by OMB, with which I concur, is that it is not likely we are going to have any vast new amounts of Federal money for library programs coming down the road in the immediately foreseeable future. Holding any such conference is simply going to result in recommendations that the Federal Government mount large now programs which are
Mr. PRESSLER. The Advisory Commission on Libraries could be appointed without having a conference, couldn't it?
Mr. MATTHEIS. I think one could, but the question would be what they would do. In going back to the budget, if I may, I think in the very difficult economic straits that we are finding ourselves in as we build the 1977 budget, the question becomes whether you are going to put your money in administration or in services. When we are talking about such an item as $3.5 million to do this activity versus putting it into services programs, those are the kinds of priority establishing activities that we are involved in.
Conferences such as this, worthwhile as they may be, when they are weighed against providing $3.5 million to å services program for people or children somewhere, just don't come out as high because of how tight things have gotten.
Mr. Hays. I would like to also add we realize how tight the money situation is at all levels. The priority is how to better utilize existing resources, how those could be shared, so we don't have to redo and duplicate.
In addition to your comments about innovative ways to provide service programs, these are the types of things that we tried to support in the past and we would like to continue to support them.
Mr. PRESSLER. What specific functions will be carried out under the administration's bill that could not also be carried out under title III of the current law?
Mr. MATTHEIS. I am not sure, Mr. Pressler, that there are any in that situation. The vice versa is what we are after. The present law on LSCA provides for a service activity and that is the major thing that would be left out of any new proposal. We would be moving away from services. Most of the things we can do under the present legislation, we are calling for in the new legislation. The major difference is in dropping off the service provisions under the present legislation.
Mr. Hays. If I could add on to the differences in title III provisions and the proposed legislation. The proposed legislation would change from a formula grant mode to a discretionary form.
The proposed legislation would not only provide a different vehicle for library support, but it would emphasize innovative and demonstration programs for disadvantaged and handicapped and other inadequately served populations.
Mr. PRESSLER. I guess this is philosophical. The other day we were voting on the military budget and with great reluctance, I voted against the whole thing. It seems to me we can come up with so many billion dollars so quickly for the military. As I see the situation in eastern South Dakota, in some of our rural areas and Indian reservations, where books which might inspire people are going unread and I have a great deal of difficulty cutting our budget in this particular
I think it is a people program, and I really hope that the administration will come to give it a little bit higher priority. I realize the difficulty you people are under here, but I really think we have to shift our priorities about a bit.
That is my view. I have no more questions.
Mr. BRADEMAS. Before the Chair calls on Mr. Lehman, I would just like to thank Mr. Mattheis and his associates, as I said, for the constructive responses they have given.
Although we may be in some fundamental disagreement on philosophy and financing, there are unquestionably areas in which we can work together. I am hopeful that we can do so.
Mr. LEHMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would just like to make two comments and get any reaction I can.
I am very much concerned about the dropoff in test scores on college entrances. They have been coming down steadily for 10 years, and last year was the biggest falloff. There have also been feature stories on why Johnny can't write. To me, it is a question of how can you tighten up library funds when the country is obviously in a decline evidenced by its reading and writing skills, at least in the young people.
The second thing is that I look at libraries now as a multiple discipline type of building rather than a place to check out and return books. It is a community function.
I think what we need also is for libraries to cooperate very closely with the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities to make their functions more efficient.
Those are what I guess, are my two comments. How can you really put a much greater priority than the falloff in reading and writing skills, and what can you do to implement an endowment grants program through the library program?
Mr. MATTHEIS. Mr. Lehman, if I might respond to all three of the issues very briefly.
First of all, on the scholastic aptitude tests and decline in those scores, I would almost be bold enough to make my own guesses as to what has caused that. Everybody else has made their guess at this juncture.
But it does appear that it is not altogether clear what has caused it. The chief reason right now, espoused by a number of people that I respect, would seem to be that a larger number of very brilliant young people are taking the tests in the junior year and are not repeating them in the senior year. That is why the senior year testing has dropped off so severely.
The fact of the matter is that the junior year testing, which then in effect gets at a more representative and comparative group, has not dropped off. It doesn't appear that there is really much cause for alarm in that drop in the scholastic aptitude test scores.
Mr. LEHMAN. I read every possible reason for it except that one, which sounds as if it is valid, as it obviously is, which would supply the total answer.
Mr. MATTHEIS. But there are some people, Mr. Lehman, that are really working, and we need to come up with more concrete evidence than we have at this juncture. This has been superficially done by many individuals in a few groups. There are a couple of sophisticated studies underway now.
The former Commissioner of Education and former Assistant Secretary of Education, Dr. Marland, at the College Entrance Examination Board, has appointed a task force under the leadership of Willard Wirtz, former Secretary of Labor, to look into the matter, and you can be sure we will have a report.
At this point, it does not appear to be a very negative one.
Mr. LEUMAX. I was thinking about the junior year. It is getting off the subject, but it does concern me. Obviously, the top 10 to 20 percent