Librarian of Congress James H. Billington

Testimony to Congress

Statement by James H. Billington
The Librarian of Congress
Before the Subcommittee on Legislative Appropriations
Committee on Appropriations
United States House of Representatives
FY 2003 Budget Request
April 24, 2002

I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the Library of Congress budget request for fiscal 2003. The tragic events of September 11, 2001, and subsequent anthrax incidents have underscored the importance of the Library's historic mission of making its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and sustaining and preserving a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations. Since September 11th, the Library has provided legislative support to the Congress on issues of terrorism, emergency preparedness, anthrax in the mail, civil defense, and many other subjects. In collaboration with other archival institutions and private organizations, the Library has helped to capture important digital information and has documented for listeners the thoughts and feelings expressed by citizens, matching our efforts following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The Library has also provided administrative assistance to the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Congressional Budget Office, and the Supreme Court following the discovery in mid-October of anthrax in the mail system. The Library provided emergency work space for staff, communications and computer access, and technical assistance with mail handling.

At the start of the new millennium and the Library's third century, the Library faces a host of new challenges: bringing in materials when delivery by mail poses potential new threats to safety; registering digital copyright claims; and acquiring, preserving, and ensuring rights-protected access to the proliferating materials that are produced only in digital format and are playing an increasingly important role in the commercial and creative life of the United States. We must continue to add to the Library's collections some three million artifactual items annually and at the same time harvest the exponential growth of electronic materials. The Library's fiscal 2003 budget accordingly requests additional funds both to support our growing traditional collections and to accelerate our plans and programs for obtaining materials electronically.

The Library of Congress is fundamentally different from any other institution in the legislative branch of government. The Library serves not only the Congress but the nation with the most important commodity of our time: information. The Library's first priority is to make the world's knowledge available and useful to the United States Congress. This primary purpose can continue to be realized only if the Library can acquire, secure, preserve, and make accessible its uniquely universal collection. In the digital era, this requires creation of a national digital library collection while sustaining the traditional library of books and other artifacts.

The Library seeks support in its fiscal 2003 budget request not for any new function, but simply for the resources needed to perform our historic mission in a radically changing environment.

For fiscal 2003, the Library of Congress requests a total budget of $572.7 million ($536.1 million in net appropriations and $36.6 million in authority to use receipts), a net increase of $56.3 million above the fiscal 2002 level. The requested increase includes $46.2 million for mandatory pay and price-level increases, and $34 million for program increases, offset by $23.9 million for nonrecurring costs. Of the $46.2 million requested for mandatory pay and price-level increases, $24.6 million, or 53 percent, is related to the Administration's new legislative proposal to fund health and retirement benefits entirely in agency budgets. Excluding this mandated legislative proposal, the Library's fiscal 2003 budget request is a net increase of 6.1 percent above fiscal 2002.

Requested funding will support 4,358 full-time- equivalent (FTE) positions, an increase of 169 FTEs over the fiscal 2002 target of 4,189. To ensure that the Library's workforce can meet the needs of the agency and its customers, the Library is assuming staffing at the fiscal 2002 target level and requesting the additional FTEs largely to support the maintenance and security of the Library's artifactual collections, which continue to grow at the rate of approximately three million items per year.

We deeply appreciate the Congress's approval of fiscal 2002 supplemental funds to address recovery from the anthrax closure and unplanned costs to ensure continuity of operations in the event of any future incidents. Further fiscal 2002 supplemental funds are required for the Copyright Office because of continuing delays in receiving U.S. Postal Service mail.

New protocols for mail delivery have had a profound impact on many business processes in the Library. Anthrax concerns severely delayed processing copyright registrations, acquiring materials for the collections, and communicating with many domestic and foreign partners. These delays have challenged the Library to conduct much more of its business electronically and to put in place safe mail handling procedures for artifactual materials. The Library will continue to receive approximately one million mail items each month for the foreseeable future. Because of delays in mail delivery, the Library is requesting additional supplemental funding of $7.5 million, which is required to make up for a projected 35 percent fiscal 2002 shortfall in copyright registration receipts. The Register of Copyrights has provided further information in her statement regarding this supplemental appropriations request.

The Library's fiscal 2003 budget reflects the higher costs of this new world environment, where major additional steps must be taken to ensure the safety of staff, facilities, and the mail. The Library proposes to retain $8.6 million in its fiscal 2003 budget base from the fiscal 2002 emergency supplemental appropriation to fund prospective new mail handling costs.

The fiscal 2003 budget request supports the Library's ongoing priorities of (1) service to the Congress; (2) acquisition, security, and preservation of materials; and (3) comprehensive access to our collections. The budget request is needed to fund the following major initiatives (which I address in more detail later in this statement):

  • Digital Futures Increases ($16.5 million and 35 FTEs)
    The Library's digital futures budget request for fiscal 2003 covers the third year of building support for the National Digital Library (NDL) and provides for the Law Library's electronic initiatives.
  • Collections Access, Preservation, and Security Increases ($8.7 million and 118 FTEs)
    The Library's massive collections of more than 124 million items require additional resources to provide for their security, to store and preserve them for future generations, and to facilitate access to them.
  • Infrastructure Support Increases ($5.3 million and 4 FTEs)
    The Library's programs require additional infrastructure support, including a new central financial management system, an educational outreach initiative, safety services modernization, and additional capacity for the Office of Inspector General.
  • Copyright Office's Reengineering Plans ($1.4 million)
    The Library is requesting the use of available receipts from the no-year account to fund the Copyright Office's ongoing reengineering program.
  • Congressional Research Service Capacity Increases ($1.4 million and 12 FTEs)
    The Congress must have available the policy expertise and information resources needed to address key public policy issues. CRS is requesting new analytical and informational capacity in two critical areas affecting the lives of almost every American: (1) terrorism and homeland security, and (2) issues resulting from the aging of the U.S. population.

The Library of Congress Today

The core of the Library is its incomparable collections and the specialists who interpret and share them. The Library's 124 million items include almost all languages and media through which knowledge and creativity are preserved and communicated.

The Library has more than 28 million items in its print collections, including 5,706 volumes printed before the year 1500; 12 million photographs; 4.9 million maps; 2.5 million audio recordings; 877,000 motion pictures, including the earliest movies ever made; 5 million pieces of music; and 55.2 million pages of personal papers and manuscripts, including those of 23 U.S. presidents as well as hundreds of thousands of scientific and government documents.

New treasures are added each year. Notable acquisitions during fiscal year 2001 include: copies of 15,000 Arabic manuscripts held by the British Library; the collections of Patrick Hayes and Evelyn Swarthout and Frederick Loewe; and the archives of Theodore Presser. They also include the letters of Leon Bakst and a host of great musicians: Irving Berlin, Johannes Brahms, Aaron Copland, Marilyn Horne, Otto Klemperer, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Franz Liszt, Felix Mendelssohn, Ned Rorem, and Arnold Schoenberg.

During fiscal year 2001, the Library also reached an agreement to purchase the only known copy of the map that has been called "America's birth certificate." Compiled by Martin Waldseemüller in 1507, this is the first document of any kind to refer to the New World as "America" and to depict a separate Western Hemisphere with the Pacific as a separate ocean. The map will be on permanent display in the Thomas Jefferson Building.

Every workday, the Library's staff adds more than 10,000 new items to the collections after organizing and cataloging them. The staff then shares them with the Congress and the nation - by assisting users in the Library's reading rooms, by providing on-line access across the nation to many items, and by featuring the Library's collections in cultural programs.

Every year the Library delivers more than 710,000 research responses and services to the Congress, registers more than 600,000 copyright claims, and circulates more than 23 million audio and braille books and magazines free of charge to blind and physically handicapped individuals all across America. The Library annually catalogs more than 270,000 books and serials and provides its bibliographic record inexpensively to the nation's libraries, saving them millions of dollars annually.

The Library also provides free on-line access, via the Internet, to its automated information files, which contain more than 75 million records - to Congressional offices, Federal agencies, libraries, and the public. The Library's Internet-based systems include major World Wide Web (www) services (e.g., Legislative Information System, THOMAS, America's Library, Global Legal Information Network, the Library of Congress Online Public Access Catalog, and various file transfer options.

Library of Congress programs and activities are funded by four salaries and expenses (S&E) appropriations supporting congressional services, national library services, law library services, copyright administration, services to blind and physically handicapped people, and management support. A separate appropriation funds furniture and furnishings.

Back to top

National Digital Library

The Library is requesting a $12.9 million and 25 FTE increase to support the NDL, which consists of two major components:

  1. Technology Backbone
    The Library is requesting $7,392,000 and 17 FTEs to: (a) identify Library of Congress preservation standards and protocols that can support a national digital information infrastructure and preservation strategy ($815,000); (b) develop digital repository architecture and research and test alternative strategies for long-term preservation of Library of Congress digital content ($1,500,000); and (c) implement a flexible, yet sufficiently sound technical infrastructure to protect the Library's multimillion dollar investment in digital content and access services ($5,077,000). A robust technology backbone at the Library is required to support the acquisition of born-digital items, provide efficient access to digital materials, and maintain and preserve the digital items for the future.
  2. Digital Access, Services, and Tools
    The Library is requesting $5,544,000 and 8 FTEs to: (a) improve access services to both on-site and remote library users ($544,000); and (b) continue to support the development of a high-speed data transmission capability between the Library's digital content and western North Carolina ($5,000,000).

The fiscal 2003 NDL budget request of $12,936,000 is for the third year of the Library's plan for building resources required to support the Library's digital services. (This request is separate from, but complementary to, the special appropriation of $99.8 million to develop and lead a national strategy for the long-term preservation of digital content. In accordance with the provisions of that December 2000 special appropriation, the Library is now formulating an implementable national strategy for the life-cycle management of digital materials as part of the national collection.)

The fiscal 2003 NDL budget request is designed to make sure that the Library's present operating environment and associated digital infrastructure can be scaled in the future to support and sustain the national digital information strategy that is being concurrently formulated. It is already evident that major enhancements will be needed, for the Library, and that delay will lead to the loss of important but often ephemeral digital materials. (The average life of a Web site today is 44 days, and a growing amount of important material is being lost forever.)

The objective of the National Digital Information Infrastructure Preservation Program is to encourage shared responsibility and to seek solutions for:

  • the continued selection, collection, and organization of the most historically significant materials, regardless of evolving digital formats;
  • securing the long-term storage, preservation, and survivability of those needed digital materials; and
  • ensuring rights-protected access to the growing electronic historical record of the American people.

The Library is encouraged by the level of support it has received for this critical national program. However, we need to ask for an extension on the March 2003 deadline for the $75 million match. We have been advised by the people who we hope and believe will help us in the private sector that now is not the best time to raise private funds for this national program. The completion and approval of the program plan is an important first step to help engage the industry in making private contributions because most of the matching funds will be in the form of in-kind contributions. We will continue to collaborate with a wide variety of institutions in the information community, as mandated by the Congress in the special appropriation. We will forward our plan to the Congress later this year.

Collections Security, Access, and Preservation

A primary mission of the Library is to secure, preserve, and provide access to its vast and largely unique and irreplaceable artifactual collections. The Library is requesting $8.7 million and a 118-FTE increase for collections access, preservation, and security. Components of the increase are:

  • $2,615,000 and 60 FTEs to secure the collections by improved inventory management
    The Library's collections security plan requires tracking incoming materials using the Library of Congress Integrated Library System (LC ILS). The LC ILS replaces multiple stand-alone legacy systems and permits a greater level of control over the collections. However, additional staff are required to achieve this strengthened level of control through the application of bar codes matched to LC ILS records. The fiscal 2003 budget requests support four security initiatives that will capture data for 1,562,000 new items at the point of entry; ensure that LC ILS records are updated as the status of approximately 75,000 serial items changes annually; provide for on-line serials check-in for foreign collections (by converting 10,000 manual records in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean to electronic files); and enable the Library to secure 65,000 new sound recordings received annually.
  • $1,475,000 and 14 FTEs to eliminate the backlog of serials materials
    Security concerns have created new mail processing protocols. These have added not only a backlog, but another expensive step to the acquisitions process. The Library must now assess the condition of collection materials following their irradiation -- requiring additional staff resources. The backlog (arrearage) has a direct impact on research services to the Congress in science, technology, and business, because these disciplines rely heavily on journal literature, where the newest research is published. Therefore, it is critical that the Library's arrearages in periodicals be addressed and eliminated as soon as possible.
  • $2,288,000 and 35 FTEs to prepare collections for secure off-Capitol Hill storage
    Funding is requested to support a three-year plan for the preparation, packaging, and stabilization of select rare and special collections in advance of their relocation to the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center (NAVCC) and to Ft. Meade, Module 2. Module 2 is designed to store books and rare and fragile items from the Library's special collections. Because of the diversity of formats and types of material that will be moved to off-site storage, careful planning and preparation of collections before the move is essential. Sound recordings, moving image materials, paper records, and bound items must be carefully reviewed as to their condition and readiness for transport. Special collections materials (e.g., fragile manuscripts, oversized maps, rare books, and collections of ephemera in many formats) must be carefully packaged to prevent damage. This preventive work not only reduces the risk of items being damaged in transit, but also ensures that the collections will be reviewed, inventoried, packaged, and labeled correctly, and will arrive at the new facilities ready for use.

    Our forthcoming preventive conservation effort will focus on treating first those collections most in need of cleaning, basic packaging, minor mending, and labeling. This action will ensure that the approximately 3-4 million audiovisual items destined for NAVCC, and the millions of rare and fragile items bound for Ft. Meade, Module 2, arrive at those facilities clean, intact, preserved, and ready for use. Funding for this initiative is crucial to providing sustained congressional and public access to America's most comprehensive collection of audiovisual resources and rare and special collections. Without funding, the movement of these at-risk, unpackaged collections into the new facilities will risk degrading many materials and will create an instant preservation arrearage, that in the initial years of residency in the new facilities, seriously delaying access by the Congress and the public.
  • $895,000 to support the third of five increments required in our 30-year (one generation) mass deacidification program
    A priority of the Library's preservation efforts is the deacidification of a significant portion of materials printed on high-acid paper, which has dominated printing since the middle of the 19th century. The Congress approved the first two increments of this critical preservation program as part of the fiscal 2001 and 2002 budgets, and the Library requests a planned increase of $895,000 to continue to scale up to $5.7 million by fiscal year 2005. By 2005, the Library plans to have reached the capacity to deacidify annually 300,000 books and 1,000,000 manuscript sheets.
  • $789,000 to support the Lewis and Clark exhibition
    In fiscal 1999, the Congress appropriated $250,000 to begin work on planning the Library's portion of the national celebration of the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition. In fiscal 2003, the Library is requesting $789,000 in no-year funds to complete the bulk of locating exhibition material, conducting research, convening advisory panels, for designing and preparing a presentation and accompanying materials for the nationwide commemoration, and for sending a smaller version of the exhibition to at least three sites in the Midwestern and Western United States. The exhibition, set to open in the summer of 2003, will bring the Library's collections on Western exploration to the public's attention, highlighting the impact of early exploration on the United States.
  • $476,000 and 6 FTEs to support the Veterans History Project (VHP)
    In fiscal 2002, the Congress approved $250,000 to begin this massive project. The Library had already raised private money and solicited volunteer help to launch the project, but now needs additional support to implement fully the Congressionally mandated program. The funds are needed for expanding public and partner engagement through instructional materials and training workshops, digitizing the best portions of interviews and materials received, reformatting and preserving materials received, and supporting local efforts in Congressional districts.

Law Library

The Law Library of Congress has the largest collection of legal materials in the world and a unique body of lawyers trained in foreign legal systems. They supply legal research and analysis, primarily for the Congress, on the laws of other nations and on international and comparative law. Law Library specialists cover more than 200 jurisdictions representing the vast majority of the sovereign entities of the world that issue laws and regulations. In addition to the Congress, the U.S. Courts, and the executive branch, the legal community depends heavily on the Law Library. The Law Library's staff of American-trained attorney- librarians provides reference services to the U.S. Congress whenever either chamber is in session (as mandated by 2 U.S.C. ' 138).

The Library is requesting a program increase of $3,063,000 and 6 FTEs to create a fully functional Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) system with better security, multilingual search capabilities, and the ability to incorporate additional categories of legal information, such as court decisions. For 15 countries, GLIN already provides timely access to primary sources of law, including born- digital primary sources. These nations send the Law Library digital versions of their official texts of laws together with a summary analysis and finding aids that help access this material and enables the Law Library to provide the Congress with quality service. The Law Library will be seeking $12.7 million over a five-year period to expand GLIN to a core of the 50 countries of most interest to the Congress, including retrospective materials for Latin American nations dating back to 1950. This is especially important for Law Library attorneys responsible for 29 Spanish and Portugese- speaking jurisdictions of Latin America.

The Library is also requesting: $248,000 and 2 FTEs to increase the Law Library's capacity to meet the legal research needs of the Congress for Spanish/Portuguese and English-speaking jurisdictions; $213,000 and 2 FTEs to establish an Electronic Reference Unit to respond to the growing demand for digital services; $124,000 and 3 FTEs to implement inventory management elements of the Law Library's collections security plan; and $36,000 to establish a training center with specialized translation and vernacular language capabilities. Funding the full request of $3,684,000 and 13 FTEs will secure the Law Library's electronic future, and its ability to supply quality and timely service to the Congress.

Infrastructure Support

The Library is requesting $5.3 million and a 4-FTE increase to improve infrastructure support, which consists of four components:

  • $4,250,000 to replace the Library's central financial management system
    The Library proposes to replace its aging mainframe-based financial management system with more modern server-based technology to maintain and improve financial management support, including program-based budgeting, access to financial information, and handling additional electronic transaction processes (e.g., the capability to receive and route documents electronically and expand electronic commerce). The Library proposes to proceed with a joint procurement effort with other legislative branch agencies during fiscal 2002 and to implement a cost-effective system over several years.
  • $504,000 for Educational Outreach
    The Library has become a world leader in providing high quality educational material free of charge on-line. These content-rich materials range from the papers of the Founding Fathers and other important historical figures, such as Frederick Douglass and Alexander Graham Bell, to the basic drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address. But there is a need to educate the public about the ready availability of these resources with broadcast-quality communications equipment and to support the expenses associated with projected special events in Congressional districts that will involve Members of Congress and representatives of the Library in highlighting constituent services that the Library is engaged in, such as the educational resources for all ages on our Web site. The astonishingly successful National Book Festival, led by Laura Bush, has created new possibilities for reading promotion. The First Lady has expressed a willingness to extend the message to local libraries and schools. Possible events with the Librarian of Congress and Members of Congress in local settings could include the First Lady and/or local governmental and civic figures.
  • $190,000 for Inspector General Computer Security Audits
    The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is requesting an increase of 2 additional FTEs to provide oversight of the Library's information technology (IT) security program. With the additional resources, the OIG would perform a top-down audit of agency-wide policies and the security management structure for information technology. The OIG would conduct reviews of system-specific policies, procedures, and management, including operational (people) and technical (computer) controls. Four IT security reviews would be conducted annually.
  • $308,000 and 2 FTEs for Safety Services Modernization and Training
    The Library needs to upgrade its Safety Services Division to meet new legal and mission-critical requirements. The division is responsible for assessing the workplace for environmental health factors such as air and water quality, for ergonomic issues, and for chemical/biological exposure to anthrax and other potential pathogens. The division is also responsible for defining and coordinating required safety training for more than 4,300 employees. In its January 2001 report, the Office of Compliance reported weaknesses in the fire safety programs of both the Library and the Architect of the Capitol. The Library has made progress, but needs additional resources to address both the many safety requirements of the Congressional Accountability Act and the new needs resulting from the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Copyright Office

The Library's Copyright Office promotes creativity and effective copyright protection -- annually processing more than 600,000 claims. The office annually transfers more than 700,000 works, with an estimated value of $32 million, to the Library. The Office also annually records approximately 15,000 documents with more than 300,000 titles and responds annually to more than 340,000 requests for information.

The Library requests an increase in the Copyright Office's Offsetting Collections Authority from $21,880,000 to $23,321,000. The $1,441,000 increase in Offsetting Collections Authority is based on projected annual registration receipts of $21,500,000 supplemented by $1,821,000 from the Copyright Office no-year account.

The Copyright Office proposes that the increase in receipts be used to support information technology and business process reengineering initiatives. While the fee receipt forecast for fiscal 2003 is the same as fiscal 2002, the recent anthrax incidents impacting legislative branch mail operations have dramatically reduced Copyright Office deposits and service fees. Mail delivery has been disrupted for more than six months. Until mail delivery has been restored fully and delayed mail processed by the office, the Copyright Office's fee projection will be subject to wider fluctuations than in the past. Given the uncertainty of the situation, the Copyright Office is requesting a fiscal 2002 supplemental appropriation of $7.5 million to make up for lost receipts. Depending on the ultimate outcome of the collection of fees, the Copyright Office may need to use more funds from the no-year account than previously planned, and the fiscal 2003 budget may also require amendment.

The Register of Copyrights delivered a revised schedule of fees and accompanying analysis to the Congress on February 28, 2002, to be effective

July 1, 2002 (unless the Congress enacts a law objecting to the new fee schedule). The new fee schedule does not change the $30 fee for a basic claim in an original work of authorship, but a number of other fees are increased. While the new fee schedule may ultimately generate a $1 million increase in receipts, the Copyright Office is not recommending any change in the fiscal 2003 budgeted receipt level of $21.5 million, because information is not available at this time to warrant a change.

Back to top

Congressional Research Service

As a pooled resource of nonpartisan analysis and information, CRS is a valuable and cost- effective asset to the Congress. To carry out its mission, CRS staff provide a great diversity of analytic and research services, including close support to the legislative process through interdisciplinary reports and consultations, analyses of alternative legislative proposals and their impacts, assistance with hearings and other phases of the legislative and oversight processes, and analysis of emerging issues and trend data.

In order to continue serving the Congress at the highest level, CRS is requesting additional capacity in two critical areas that will affect the lives of almost every American: (1) terrorism and homeland security, and (2) issues resulting from the aging of the U.S. population.

CRS is requesting $572,000 and 5 FTEs to acquire new analytical and informational capacity to assist the Congress in grappling with terrorism and broader homeland security issues that are likely to be at the center of congressional attention for years to come, and for which CRS does not presently have adequate resources and expertise. This funding will support four senior analysts and one senior librarian to provide intellectual resources for the Congress in the areas of Islamic and Arabic Affairs, Public Health (Epidemiology), Infrastructure and Systems Analysis, Science and Technology (Biochemistry), and Comparative Religion. Given the profound effects the September 11 attacks have had on virtually all aspects of American government and society, this additional expertise is needed to support the Congress.

CRS is also requesting $849,000 and 7 FTEs for the salaries and benefits of seven senior analysts to build the service's capability to assist the Congress in issue areas affected by the aging of the United States population. These issues will have major impact on the economy, the health-care system and on a wide range of social policies and services. This request would enable CRS to acquire new competencies in genetics, gerontology, the economics of aging, and the economics of health care, as well as actuarial and demographic expertise -- and would allow CRS to build its overall capacity to support the Congress in science and technology. The added expertise we are requesting in epidemiology, biochemistry, genetics, bioethics, and pharmacology will better equip CRS to address a wide range of legislative issues, from global warming to stem cell research. The Library is the nation's leading scholarly repository, which this new expertise will be able to mine for the Congress.

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

The Library administers a free national library program of braille and recorded materials for blind and physically handicapped persons through its National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). Under a special provision of the U.S. copyright law and with the permission of authors and publishers of works not covered by the provision, NLS selects and produces full-length books and magazines in braille and on recorded disc and cassette. Reading materials are distributed to a cooperating network of regional and subregional (local, nonfederal) libraries, where they are circulated to eligible borrowers. Reading materials and playback machines are sent to borrowers and returned to libraries by postage- free mail. Established by an act of Congress in 1931 to serve blind adults, the program was expanded in 1952 to include children, in 1962 to provide music materials, and again in 1966 to include individuals with other physical impairments that prevent the reading of standard print.

The fiscal year 2003 budget maintains program services by funding mandatory pay and price- level increases totaling $1,954,000. Funding the fiscal year 2003 increase is necessary to ensure that all eligible individuals are provided appropriate reading materials and to maintain a level of sound reproduction machines able to satisfy basic users' requirements without developing waiting lines. The budget also supports the exploration of alternative digital technologies, which will ultimately lead to a new delivery system to replace the current analog cassette tape technology.

Library Buildings and Grounds

The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is responsible for the structural and mechanical care and maintenance of the Library's buildings and grounds. In coordination with the Library, the AOC has requested a capital budget of $15,163,000, an increase of $4,263,000. The AOC capital budget includes funding totaling $6,600,000 in appropriations for five projects that were requested by the Library.

The largest Library-requested project, amounting to $5.5 million, is for the National Audio- Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia. During fiscal years 2000-2002, the Congress approved the first three increments ($11.6 million) of its matching appropriated share. The fiscal 2003 budget request continues to build toward the Federal share of $17.1 million (including an increase of $600,000 needed for higher oversight and monitoring costs). Assurance of the government support is critical in leveraging the far larger amount (which has now increased to well over 75 percent of the total) that we are raising privately for this project.

The four other Library-requested projects support the preservation of the Library's collections and space modifications in the James Madison Building. Library-requested projects are prioritized based on critical need and in accordance with both the security needs and strategic plan of the Library.

The Library has been seeking off-Capitol-Hill storage for its growing collections for more than a decade. The availability of the first book storage module at Fort Meade, Maryland is now far behind schedule. The Library's existing storage facilities are extremely overcrowded. Many books cannot be shelved, posing security, life safety, and preservation problems. In a letter dated April 12, 2002, the Architect states: "It is my expectation that the contractor will complete his work in May and that the remaining work will be complete in July." The Library will continue to work with the Architect to resolve remaining issues for module one to ensure occupancy in an expeditious manner.

The Architect did not request fiscal 2003 funding for the construction of book-storage module two at Fort Meade, Maryland, and for the design of modules three and four. The Architect has now indicated, in his letter of April 12, 2002, that he intends to request funding for these critical items in his fiscal 2003 budget. The Library supports fully this change. A program of additional storage space at Fort Meade, Maryland in regular, dependable increments is essential for adequate storage of the Library's collections.

Automated Hiring System

To resolve outstanding motions pending in the District Court related to the Library's hiring and selection procedures for professional, administrative, and supervisory technical positions, the Library implemented a new hiring process, including an automated hiring system. The motions were resolved when the court adopted the Joint Report of the parties, which included the new automated competitive hiring process. The Joint Report stipulated that the new hiring process would be in place no later than March 1, 2001.

Implementation problems associated with the Library's automated hiring system, AVUE, prompted me to ask the Library's Inspector General (IG), on July 30, 2001, to undertake a programmatic audit of the system. Prior to receiving the final IG report, the Library took steps to implement improvements, including appointing a new project manager. The IG report, dated February 12, 2002, covered only the initial period of implementation (March 2001 through October 2001), and made recommendations to improve the automated hiring process and to evaluate other alternative systems.

The Deputy Librarian, the Library's Chief Operating Officer, has organized a project management team to address the IG's recommendations and has asked for an extensive review of the Library's requirements for a content-valid, automated hiring system. In the short term, the project management team is working with the vendor to resolve processing issues and to improve the timeliness of recruitment actions. In the long term, the project management team's evaluation of alternatives will help guide further action. The Library will take the necessary steps to ensure that our hiring system meets both competitive selection requirements and timeliness goals. So far this fiscal year, the Library has made 165 selections using the new process. We believe the pace of recruitment is rapidly gaining momentum, and we expect to fill most of our remaining vacancies by the end of this fiscal year.


"Every day in America is a new beginning," President Reagan used to say. "We are a nation that never becomes, but that is always becoming." With Congress's support, the Library of Congress has become the most universal collection of information and knowledge in the history of the world, far more comprehensive even than that of the ancient library of Alexandria. Its superbly qualified staff now serves the Congress with public policy research service and a Law Library that are the world's largest; the nation's libraries with cataloging data and material for the blind; the general public with 21 public reading rooms here and with on-line digital materials everywhere; and the nation's authors and creative artists with the administration of the copyright laws.

Now the Library faces a new challenge to extend its traditional function beyond artifactual to electronic collection and preservation. We will deliver a National Digital Information Infrastructure Preservation Program plan later this year that builds a wide variety of new national and international networked relationships. These relationships will broaden the Library's reach and support in new ways America's role as a leader in the community of nations.

Maintaining our artifactual collections and at the same time building for a networked digital future requires additional resources. If America is to remain strong, free, and capable of growth and innovation, we must preserve the knowledge of the past, gather in the information of the present, and help develop wisdom for the future. The Library has an important catalytic role to play in the new, networked environment. We can and must fortify and stimulate the research and dissemination of knowledge as America becomes engaged in complex international issues and conflicts.

The Congress deserves great credit for supporting all the work that the Library of Congress is doing to preserve and make accessible the nation's creative heritage and the world's knowledge. Consistently for 202 years, on a bipartisan basis, our national legislature has been the greatest patron of a single library in the history of the world.

With congressional support of our fiscal 2003 budget, the Library of Congress will continue its dedicated service to the work of the Congress and to the creative life of the American people.

On behalf of the Library and all its staff, I thank this Committee for its support, and look forward to working for and with the Congress in the Library's work of acquiring and transmitting knowledge for America.

Back to top