Librarian of Congress James H. Billington

Testimony to Congress

Statement by James H. Billington
The Librarian of Congress
Before the Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
FY 2004 Budget Request
April 10, 2003

I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the Library of Congress budget request for FY 2004. The Congress of the United States has created the largest repository of human knowledge in the history of the world and has preserved the mint record of American intellectual creativity. The Library's 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 is more important than ever in today's environment.

The Library is supporting the war effort by making available to the Congress information resources that continue to gain in importance as a critical strategic asset as people are turning to on-line digital resources for more and more information, and Congress and the nation are using the Library of Congress's expanding digital resources at an ever-increasing rate. The Library processed more than two billion electronic transactions on our Web sites in FY 2002, and that number seems likely to exceed three billion in FY 2003. Technology has made it possible for the Library to extend its reach far beyond the walls of its buildings in Washington to every corner of the world.

Our founding fathers linked governance to learning, and legislation to libraries, from the first time the Continental Congress convened-in a room opposite a library-in Philadelphia on Monday, September 5, 1774. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution was designed to promote "the progress of science and useful arts." The first joint committee of the Congress in the new capital of Washington, D.C., was created for its library. Congress created the world's first nationwide network of library-based higher educational institutions in 1862 when the Morrill Act built land grant universities-underscoring the basic Jeffersonian belief that democracy, to be dynamic, had to be based on more people using knowledge in more ways.

The Library of Congress is uniquely positioned to support the work of the Congress and the creative dynamism of America in the early 21st century. Three central features of the Library point the way.

  1. The Library of Congress (through its Congressional Research Service and Law Library) provides the principal research support for the Congress. The Library also serves the American people, along with other institutions, as a source of knowledge navigation for the increasingly chaotic profusion of information and knowledge flooding the Internet.
  2. The Congress's Library is America's strategic reserve of the world's knowledge and information. With more than 126 million items in its collections, the Library is the only institution in the world that comes anywhere close to acquiring everything important for America (except for medicine and agriculture, which have their own national libraries) in whatever language and format it is produced. The Library's unique web of international exchanges, and of overseas procurement offices (Islamabad, Cairo, Jakarta, New Delhi, Nairobi, and Rio de Janeiro), together with purchases and its U.S. copyright deposits, generate an estimated inflow of 22,000 items a day, of which we retain 10,000.
  3. The Congress's Library is the central hub of two important knowledge networks: America's national network of libraries and other repositories, and an international network of major libraries. The Library of Congress is recognized as a leading provider of free, high-quality content on the Internet. Just as the Congress endorsed the Library of Congress providing other libraries its cataloging data for print material in the early 20th century, so it has now mandated its Library in the early 21st century to create the metadata and plan for a distributed national network for storing and making accessible digital material.

The Library is a knowledge center for accumulating information and helping distill it into scholarly knowledge and practical wisdom. We are constructing a national collaborative effort, at Congress's behest, to preserve digital materials for our national information reserve. The Library submitted a National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) plan to the Congress for establishing a national network of committed partners who will collaborate in a digital preservation architecture with defined roles and responsibilities. The plan was approved in December 2002, and the Library now plans to launch practical projects and research that will develop a national preservation infrastructure. Funding for the NDIIPP plan has already been appropriated by the Congress. Most of it will require matching private sector contributions.

Thanks to the continuing support of the Congress, its Library is in a position both to sustain its historical mission in the new arena of electronic information and to make major new contributions to the global and domestic needs of the United States in an increasingly competitive and dangerous world. In the new networked world, the Library must combine leadership functions that only it can perform with catalytic activities relying on new, networked partnerships with both other nonprofit repositories and the productive private sector. The Library will need the staff, the structures, and the focus to perform only those roles that are central to its mission and which it is uniquely equipped to perform. To do so the Library must sustain most of its present operations but at the same time face three major changes that will reach across all aspects of the Library in the next decade.

  1. The Library's marvelous workforce must to a large extent be retrained or renewed. Facing a disproportionately large number of experienced personnel at or nearing retirement age, we must create a workforce that will in the aggregate provide an even greater diversity of both backgrounds and technical skills. The staff for the 21st century must include highly skilled and well-trained experts in both new technologies and the traditional scholarly and substantive subjects required by the richness and variety of the collections. This personnel need is, in many ways, the most important single requirement the Library will face in the next decade.
  2. The Library will have to create new structures, both technical and human, of sufficient flexibility to enable the Library to deal with the fast-moving ever-changing electronic universe, and to integrate digital materials seamlessly into the massive analog collections of the Library. These structures must be set up in such a way that they can work effectively in an increasingly distributed and networked environment, and simultaneously guarantee fast and full global coverage for the Congress. The Library has been largely able to provide information in the analog universe; but it may have to share this responsibility with others in the digital network if they can guarantee quick responses to Congressional and CRS requests.
  3. The Library must concentrate more of its overall energies and talents on developing the deep substantive scholarly expertise that will enable the staff to navigate, authenticate, and analyze knowledge for the Congress and the nation. It will be important in the future not only to provide access to the Library's collections, but to extend and deepen the objective guidance that both the Congress and the scholarly world will need in confronting the inundation of unfiltered electronic information.

For FY 2004, the Library continues to face daunting challenges in: (1) implementing security measures and a police force merger; (2) acquiring, preserving, and storing-and ensuring rights-protected access to-the proliferating materials that are produced in both analog and digital formats; (3) planning to replace the 42 percent of our current staff who will become eligible to retire between now and the end of FY 2008; and (4) changing the Library's operations by incorporating constantly evolving methods for communicating information.

The Library's budget request is driven primarily by our mission to acquire, process, make accessible, and store some three million new artifactual items annually, while at the same time harvesting the exponential growth of electronic materials. Additional FY 2004 budget resources are needed mainly for managing our growing collections, incorporating rapidly changing technology into our operations, and covering mandatory pay raises and unavoidable price increases. The Library seeks support in its FY 2004 budget request not for any new functions, but simply for the resources needed to perform our historic service in a radically changing environment.

To meet these challenges, the Library requests additional FY 2004 budget funds to improve physical security and support collections security and management (including the construction of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center at Culpeper, Va.); to support the Copyright Office's reengineering efforts; and to enhance access to Congressional Research Service (CRS) products and increase CRS research capacity in critical areas.

For FY 2004, the Library of Congress requests a total budget of $576.6 million ($540.1 million in net appropriations and $36.5 million in authority to use receipts), a net increase of $44.5 million above the FY 2003 level. The requested increase includes $23.6 million for mandatory pay and price-level increases, and $48.3 million for program increases, offset by $27.4 million for nonrecurring costs. The Library's FY 2004 budget request is a net increase of 8.4 percent above FY 2003.

Requested funding will support 4,365 full-time-equivalent (FTE) positions, an increase of 124 FTEs over the FY 2003 target of 4,241. The Library is assuming staffing at the FY 2003 target level and requesting the additional FTEs largely to implement security standards and to support the Library's massive artifactual collections.

The FY 2004 budget increase is needed to fund the following major initiatives (which I will address in detail later in this statement):

  • Physical Security ($17.5 million and 62 FTEs)
    Additional police are required to staff new posts and implement Capitol Hill security standards. Funding is also required to implement the new alternative computer facility, a new public address system, and enhanced emergency preparedness procedures.
  • Collections Security and Management ($14.1 million and 30 FTEs)
    The National Audio-Visual Conservation Center (NAVCC) at Culpeper, Va., will enable the Library to redress significant limitations in its ability to store, secure, preserve, and provide access to more than 900,000 films and 2.6 million audio materials. The NAVCC will be constructed in two phases: in 2004, storage building and infrastructure; and in 2005, processing building and nitrate storage. Additional NAVCC funding of $11.1 million and 8 FTEs is required in FY 04 to maintain the construction schedule. It is essential to demonstrate this level of public support if we are to secure the unprecedentedly large private-sector support that we expect to receive when this facility is conveyed to the U.S. Government. The Library also requires $3 million and 22 temporary FTEs to improve the collections security and management of its other vast collections, including reducing the arrearage of unprocessed items.
  • Copyright Office ($7.8 million)
    Funding is required to restore the one-time $5.7 million FY 2003 base reduction resulting from the availability of FY 2002 supplemental no-year funding, and $2.1 million is required to support the ongoing reengineering project.
  • Congressional Research Service ($2.7 million)
    The Congress must have uninterrupted access to the policy expertise and information resources needed to address key public policy issues. CRS is requesting additional resources to ensure continuity of business operations, to enhance capacity for database management, and to reform workforce practices that add incentives to encourage staff retention, which in turn will enhance the quality, access, and timeliness of its Congressional research and information services.
  • Other Core Programs and Mandated Projects ($6.2 million and 28 FTEs)
    Several of the Library's core programs require additional resources, including the mass deacidification program, the Integrated Library System, the Law Library acquisitions program, the talking books program, the Office of Inspector General, and the Library's space management program. In addition, several congressionally mandated programs require the resources adequate to accomplish their assigned missions: the Veterans History Project; the Meeting of Frontiers program, the National Film Preservation Foundation, and the retail sales program.

Concurrent with the submission of this budget request, the Library has submitted an FY 2003 supplemental appropriations request of $7.4 million for two physical security items that are included in our FY 2004 physical security budget request of $17.5 million. If approved, the two items would immediately support our emergency management program and alternative computer facility, and the Library's FY 2004 budget request could be reduced by $7.4 million.

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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 126 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; 12.3 million photographs; 4.9 million maps; 2.6 million audio recordings; 900,000 motion pictures, including the earliest movies ever made; 5.1 million pieces of music; and 56.1 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 FY 2002 include: one of the earliest maps to identify the United States as an independent country (Carte des Etats De L'Amerique Suivant le Traite de paix de 1783, Dediee et presentee a s. Excellence Mr. Benjamin Franklin), with extensive marginal text reporting the military events of the American Revolution; the comprehensive papers of Jackie Robinson, including more than 7,000 items on all aspects of his life; 26 rare Afghan monographs smuggled out of Afghanistan during the Taliban era; 67 North Korean movies and additional North Korean videos; and the Prelinger Collection of more than 48,000 historical motion pictures, which brings together a variety of American ephemeral advertising, educational, industrial, amateur, and documentary films of everyday life, culture, and industry in 20th century America.

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 800,000 research responses and services to the Congress, registers more than 520,000 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 300,000 books and serials, providing its bibliographic records inexpensively to the nation's libraries, thus saving them millions of dollars annually.

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

FY 2002 Accomplishments

FY 2002 was an exciting year for the Library of Congress. Major achievements include the completion of the congressionally mandated National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program plan; the addition of 14 new multimedia historical collections to the American Memory Web site, increasing to more than 7.8 million the number of items freely available on-line; responding to the September 11th terrorist attack and subsequent anthrax incidents by providing focused research support for the Congress on terrorism and homeland security and by acquiring and preserving historically significant items for a worldwide record of the events and their aftermath; improving the security of the Library's people, collections, and buildings; reducing the Library's arrearage of uncataloged collections by more than one million items; and recording more than 2 billion electronic transactions on the Library's Internet Web sites.

Physical Security

The Library is requesting a $17.5 million and 62-FTE increase to support improved security of the Library's people, collections, and buildings. Components of the increase are:

  1. Police Staffing
    The Library is requesting $4.8 million and 54 FTEs as the first increment of increasing the Library's police force by 108 FTEs, including four support personnel. The increase in police staffing cannot wait until the merger with the Capitol Police is completed. Enhanced security and new posts require more police to ensure that all building entrances are staffed at the standard level, that new and enhanced exterior posts are staffed, and that overtime is not excessive.
  2. Alternative Computer Facility (ACF)
    The Library is requesting $2,759,000 and 2 FTEs for ongoing operational costs of the ACF, including hardware and software maintenance and networking and telecommunications costs. In addition, $1,863,000 is required for CRS to implement its portion of the ACF, including the purchase of hardware, software, and contract staff to plan, design, and establish data linkages with the Library's Capitol Hill computer center and to reprogram its request tracking system. The Library's computer operations remain vulnerable to a Capitol Hill disaster until the ACF is brought on-line.
  3. Public Address System
    To provide effective communications for all emergency situations, the Library is requesting $5.5 million to implement a public address system for its three Capitol Hill buildings and for the special facilities center. The current inadequate public address system is built into the existing fire alarm system, maintained by the Architect of the Capitol (AOC). While improvements to the fire alarm system are being considered; by 2007, the proposed upgrades would not meet the Library's current operational requirements. These include: communicating effectively in emergency and non-emergency situations; reaching all areas throughout the Library buildings; providing accurate and timely information; advising staff appropriately to mitigate risk and potential loss of life; and evacuating buildings expeditiously and in an orderly manner. To protect its staff and visitors in today's uncertain environment, the Library needs these improvements now.
  4. Security Enhancement Plan Additional Requirements
    The Capitol Hill security enhancement implementation plan approved by the Congress in 1999 called for the consolidation of the Library's two police command centers, the installation of a new intrusion detection system, and improved police communications. The Library is requesting $2.1 million and one FTE to meet additional requirements associated with these tasks, including $1 million for additional card readers and door alarms.
  5. Emergency Management
    The Library is requesting $511,000 and 5 FTEs to establish an Office of Emergency Management and create a medical emergency coordinator position. The part-time collateral duty for the Library's existing staff who perform emergency management responsibilities is inadequate for today's challenges. The office would coordinate emergency planning, training, and operations (response and recovery). The medical emergency coordinator would provide research, analysis, and interpretation of medical issues. Funding the Library's security request will enhance the Library's ability to protect its priceless staff and collections and lessen the vulnerability of the entire Capitol Hill complex by making the Library's security more compatible with that of the complex as a whole.

Collections Security and Management

A total of $14.1 million and 30 FTEs is requested for the preservation, security, and management of the Library's collections. Funding is requested for the following:

  • $11 million for the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center
    The National Audio-Visual Conservation Center (NAVCC) located in Culpeper, Va., will be a world-class, state-of-the-art conservation center that will, for the first time, consolidate and integrate the Library's Motion Picture, Broadcasting, Recorded Sound Division (MBRS) administrative, acquisitions, processing, storage, preservation, laboratory transfer, and reformatting activities in one central facility. Audiovisual materials contain an ever-increasing percentage of the historical record. Principally funded by what will be the largest private gift in the history of the Library, it is essential at this stage to demonstrate Congressional sustaining support for this largely privately funded public resource. The NAVCC will enable the Library to redress significant limitations in its current ability to store, preserve and provide access to its moving image and recorded sound collections in the following ways:
    • Collections Storage
      The Library's moving image and sound collections are currently housed in storage facilities in four states and the District of Columbia. When the NAVCC is opened, the Library for the first time will be able to consolidate all its collections in a single, centralized storage facility that provides space sufficient to house projected collections growth for 25 years beyond the NAVCC move-in date.
    • Preservation Reformatting
      The NAVCC Film and Sound & Video Preservation Laboratories are being designed to increase significantly the number of items preserved for all types of audiovisual formats. Without the NAVCC, the Library's current preservation rate would result in the preservation of only 5 percent of its total endangered sound and video materials by the year 2015. By contrast, we project that the new NAVCC laboratories will enable us to preserve more than 50 percent of these endangered collections in the same 10-year period after move-in.
    • Digital Repository and Access
      The NAVCC will also include a Digital Audio-Visual Preservation System that will preserve and provide research access to both newly acquired born-digital content, as well as analog legacy formats. This new system is contributing to the Library's overall development of a digital content repository and uses a new paradigm of producing and managing computer-based digital data.

    The bulk of the $11 million FY 2004 NAVCC budget request is for collections storage shelving. This includes $3.6 million for high-density mobile shelving that will be used to fill the large vault rooms in the main collections building and $4.1 million for special shelving to outfit the more than 120 smaller vaults that will be separately constructed and dedicated to the storage of nitrate motion picture film. The shelving will maximize storage capacity for the many moving image and recorded sound formats held by the MBRS Division. The FY 2004 request also includes $1 million for telecommunications equipment and cabling; $1,285,000 and 6 FTEs for digital preservation; $694,000 for security equipment; and $240,000 and 2 FTEs for administrative support. Collections shelving, security equipment, and telecommunications cabling and equipment (regular Library operational costs) are required to maintain the schedule for implementing this critical facility, which will ultimately hold more than 900,000 films and 2.6 million audio materials. The facility will be constructed in two phases: in 2004, non-nitrate storage building; in 2005, processing building and nitrate storage. Funding this year is critical to meeting this construction schedule as well as helping to finalize the private-sector investment in this facility, which is estimated to exceed $120 million. The AOC contribution of $16.5 million for the acquisition of the facility has already been appropriated, but the AOC requires $1.3 million in additional FY 2004 resources for operations and maintenance of the facility.

  • $1,900,000 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 Library has embarked upon a multiyear program to enhance the accountability of collections serials and several special-format collections. Additional contract resources are requested to check in serial issues as they are received, create item records for serials as individual issues are bound, barcode and link each self-contained serial volume and incoming non-rare monographs, and convert 10,000 Japanese, Chinese, and Korean serial titles from manual files to the LC ILS. Using the LC ILS, the Library also proposes to use contract resources to: establish on-line records for 2,500 American Folklife Center ethnographic collections; achieve effective tracking, circulation, and inventory control for the 850,000 items in the collections of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division; and prepare holdings records for nearly 250,000 manuscript boxes in the Manuscript Division.
  • $1,157,000 and 22 FTEs to reduce the Acquisitions Directorate arrearage
    The Library has not received a sizable infusion of new staff to help meet its obligation to reduce the arrearage for more than a decade. The current level of staffing will not permit the Library to meet the congressionally mandated arrearage reduction goals for FY 2004 and beyond. The Library is asking for a three-year extension in meeting its non-rare print and non-print arrearage targets, along with the temporary staff needed to meet the targets within the revised time frame.

Copyright Office

The Library's Copyright Office promotes creativity and effective copyright protection, annually processing more than 520,000 claims. Each year, the office transfers about 900,000 works, with an estimated value of more than $30 million, to the permanent collections of the Library. The office also records more than 10,000 documents referring to approximately 250,000 titles and responds to more than 360,000 requests for information a year.

In FY 2002, the Copyright Office was provided $7.5 million in supplemental appropriations to cover potential receipt shortfalls due to the disruption of U.S. mail delivery following the anthrax incidents. Once all the mail was processed, at the end of FY 2002, $5.6 million of the supplemental appropriations remained available and was subsequently used to offset the FY 2003 appropriation, requiring the Copyright Office to use its remaining no-year funds for basic operations in FY 2003. For FY 2004, restoration of the funds is needed to support the Copyright Office's operations. The Library also requests $2.1 million to keep the Copyright Office's re-engineering project on schedule, which is critical to meeting its mission in the digital age. The Copyright Office must replace outdated information systems that have evolved over the past 20 years with modern technology that promotes the use of electronically received applications and works. The Register of Copyrights will provide more details about this critical project in her statement.

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 wide range of analytic and research services, including close support to the Members and committees throughout the legislative process by interdisciplinary research, which includes 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 addition to funding for the CRS portion of the ACF, CRS is requesting additional resources in three areas: (1) $1,460,000 to develop technical solutions that ensure that the Service's materials are available to the Congress whenever and wherever they may be required; (2) $759,000 to add specialized technical capacity for database management activities; and (3) $535,000 for incentives that encourage staff retention. The resources respond to the Congressional mandate and will enhance CRS effectiveness and efficiency through improved business processes and updated workforce policies. The CRS Director will provide more details of the request in his statement.

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Other Core Programs and Mandated Projects

The Library is requesting a total increase of $6.2 million and 28 FTEs for core programs and projects and for congressionally mandated projects. Components of the increase are:

Core Programs

  • Mass Deacidification
    The Library requests $919,000 to support the fourth of five increments required in our 30-year (one generation) mass deacidification program. The Congress approved the first three increments of this critical preservation program, and the Library requests a planned increase of $919,000 to continue to scale up to $5.7 million by FY 2005. By 2005, the Library plans to have reached the capacity to deacidify 300,000 books and 1,000,000 manuscripts annually.
  • Law Library Purchase of Materials
    The Library is requesting $360,000 to increase the FY 2003 budget of $1.5 million for purchasing law materials above the normal inflationary increase. The current base is not sufficient to acquire a comprehensive collection to support the Congress, and as a result, the Law Library is no longer able to respond quickly to key Congressional questions on issues such as anti-terrorism, foreign taxation, international criminal court, etc.
  • Library of Congress Integrated Library System
    The Library is requesting a total FY 2004 budget of $1,289,000 for the LC ILS, an increase of $384,000. The increase would support implementation of this mission-critical system for collections control and security, including additional bar code scanners and printers.
  • Space Moves
    The Library is requesting $1.3 million for contract services to expand our capacity to handle space moves within the Library's three Capitol Hill buildings. As the Library re-engineers its business processes, additional capacity is required to make space changes to facilitate the new work flows. This additional capacity would enable the Library to avoid serious delays in the implementation of space improvements, which reduce the effectiveness and efficiency of operations.
  • Inspector General Computer Security Audits
    The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is requesting an increase of $200,000 and 2 FTEs to ensure that agency-wide and system-level information technology security reviews covering operational and technical controls, policy, and management are performed. The new auditors are required to address the Library's longstanding weaknesses in information technology security.

Congressionally Mandated Projects

  • Veterans History Project (VHP)
    In FY 2003, the Congress approved $476,000 and 6 FTEs for this massive project. The overwhelming nationwide reaction to this popular program has exceeded our expectations, and the Library requests an additional $579,000 and 7 FTEs to respond to the demands of this mandated program for interviews of a potential veteran population of 18 million.
  • Meeting of Frontiers
    In FY 1999, the Congress appropriated $2 million to digitize and place on-line materials from both Russia and United States to tell the story of the American exploration and settlement of the West, the parallel Russian exploration and settlement of Siberia and the Far East, and the meeting of the Russian-American frontier in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. To date, the Web site for the project includes about 100,000 images. The Library is requesting $375,000 and 3 FTEs to continue the project in FY 2004, including digitizing more items and continuing and promoting the educational use of the materials in both countries.
  • National Film Preservation Foundation
    Authorization for the National Film Preservation Board and the National Film Preservation Foundation expires on October 11, 2003. As part of the reauthorization legislation for the film foundation, the Library is seeking to increase the government's matching contributions from $250,000 to $500,000. The film foundation has a proven track record of preserving our film heritage through matching private-sector grants, which is a cost-effective way to address this critical need. The foundation has supported a large number of small preservation centers all across America.
  • Retail Sales Programs
    The Library requests $715,000 and 5 FTEs to provide capital for the retail sales program, including the Sales Shop and the Photoduplication Service. The added funding would support additional e-commerce and marketing efforts designed to generate profits from the Library's retail sales program, which would be used to benefit the Library's core programs. Without an initial infusion of capital, the Library will be able to implement only incremental improvements toward making these programs into profit centers that can support other Library activities.

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. The Library distributes reading materials 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 NLS program was expanded in 1952 to include children, in 1962 to provide music materials, and in 1966 to include individuals with other physical impairments that prevent the reading of standard print.

The FY 2004 budget maintains program services by funding mandatory pay and price-level increases totaling $1,068,000 and restores a $1 million one-time base reduction for purchase of talking book machines, which is offset by a $1 million decrease for a one-time payment to the National Federation of the Blind. Restoring the one-time base cut and funding the FY 2004 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 delays. The budget continues to support 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 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 FY 2004 budget of $47.1 million, an increase of $9.8 million. The AOC budget includes funding totaling $4.2 million in appropriations for four projects that were requested by the Library.

As mentioned earlier in this statement, the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Va., is being constructed, and the AOC requires operations and maintenance funding of $1,263,000 during FY 04 to support this critical project. 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 three other Library-requested projects support the security of the Library's collections, the design of a logistics warehouse at Fort Meade, Maryland, 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 the strategic plan of the Library. I urge the committee to support the Architect's Library Buildings and Grounds budget, which is critical to the Library's mission.

Automated Hiring System

FY 2002 was the first full year of operation for a new hiring process that was implemented to resolve outstanding motions pending in the Federal District Court related to the Library's hiring and selection procedures for professional, administrative, and supervisory technical positions. As I reported last year, the Library encountered implementation problems associated with the new hiring process, including a new automated hiring system. I am pleased to report that significant progress has been made. Managers made 300 professional, administrative, and supervisory technical competitive selections in FY 2002 using the new process. This compares favorably with 187 such selections during FY 2001 and a five-year average of 190 positions during the period of FY 1996 - 2000. The new process is content-valid (i.e., a strong linkage exists among job requirements, application questions, and interview questions developed by subject matter experts), and the new process enables the Library to reach a wider applicant pool because of its on-line capabilities.

We are absolutely committed to a fair hiring system that meets both competitive selection requirements and timeliness goals.


The Library's FEDLINK revolving fund program coordinates services and programs on behalf of federal libraries and information centers, including the purchase of library materials. The Faxon Company, a FEDLINK vendor that provides subscriptions to participating libraries, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on January 27, 2002. As part of the bankruptcy case, the Library has established a claim of approximately $2.5 million for unfilled orders for FEDLINK libraries.

Faxon and its bankrupt parent company, RoweCom, Inc., intend to submit a reorganization plan that calls for the purchase of their operations by EBSCO Industries and the resumption of service to libraries. At the time of the preparation of this statement, the ultimate liability for the Library or the FEDLINK revolving fund customers is unknown, but the Library believes a substantial portion of the orders will be filled and the claim thereby satisfied. The Library will continue to update the committee on the status of this issue and any potential need for a deficiency supplemental for the FEDLINK revolving fund.


The Library of Congress is in a critical period when it must, in effect, superimpose a select library of digital materials onto its traditional artifactual library if it is to continue to be a responsive and dynamic force for the Congress and the nation. We are not seeking appropriations for any new functions, but rather trying to sustain our historic core function of acquiring, preserving, and making accessible knowledge and information that is now being generated and communicated in a radically new, and particularly impermanent medium.

Technology change and the growth of our collections will continue to drive our budget plans. 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 203 years, on a bipartisan basis, our national legislature has been the greatest single patron of a library in the history of the world. As the keeper of America's-and much of the world's-creative and intellectual achievements, the Library of Congress is keenly aware of the awesome responsibility it has been given as we embrace the wonders and opportunities of the digital age.

With Congressional support of our FY 2004 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 the Committee for its support, and look forward to working for and with the Congress to acquire and transmit knowledge for America.

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