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LIBRARIAN'S STATEMENT Dr. BILLINGTON. I appreciate the opportunity to be here once again, Mr. Chairman, to discuss our budget request for fiscal year 1993.
The Library of Congress is the world's greatest and most usable repository of human knowledge, not only now but any time in human history. It is becoming an even more important asset for meeting the needs of our Nation in an age of keen international competition; and where the growths in the economy depend on the information base.
So we can better use the limited resources we have done extensive planning over the past several years and will take a new look next year-I want to give you some advance notice of all existing programs from the bottom up, to assess their long-term value and make recommendations to Congress for any necessary funding changes that might be needed in our fiscal year 1994 budget.
For fiscal year 1993, we are requesting only those funds necessary to provide the best possible research and reference service to the Congress, to continue aggressively with our priority task in reducing the backlog of unprocessed materials, to maintain our traditional core of services to the Nation, and to begin to modernize our capacity to deliver scientific and technological information to the Congress and to the country.
This request totals $357.5 million, a net increase of $27.7 million, or 9 percent, over fiscal year 1992.
Given the information demands on the Congress and the country, which the Library of Congress is in a unique position to address, this is, we think, a frugal budget request.
Nearly two-thirds of the requested increase is required to keep pace with inflationary costs, over which we have no control, and are legally obliged to deal with. Of the remaining $10.7 million, the largest single item is for storage space for our collections.
The next largest item is for the safety and ergonomic needs of those personnel who spend 50 percent or more of their time in front of computers.
The Library of Congress maintains a collection that will sometime later this year pass 100 million items, many of them irreplaceable, in over 450 languages and most formats of transmission of human knowledge and creativity.
The Library provides impartial analytical research and information to the Congress on public policy issues, answering more than half a million Congressional requests a year; and, of course, includes the Law Library and unique other collections which are especially accessible to the Congress.
SERVICES TO THE NATION
As you know and as our map indicates, this massive information resource also serves the entire country in a variety of ways, which are shown on the map that Mr. Turner is holding for you.
the Blind and Physically Handicapped (Regional)
Blind and Physically Handicapped (Subreg
(also includes Guam)
On-Line Computer Access Sites (LC Direct)
Research Libraries: Exchange of Cataloging Information
Surplus Books Donations ( also includes Guam)
JAN 23. 1992
SERVICES TO THE NATION CONTINUED
Dr. BILLINGTON. The Library supplies bibliographic products to libraries and bibliographic utilities in all 50 States, cataloging that would cost America's libraries in excess of $370 million annually if they had to do the work themselves.
The Library makes available to researchers vast information resources in virtually all formats, subjects and languages, serving more than 900,000 readers here, and responding to more than 1.5 million information requests a year.
The Library—also performs a national referral service in that many of those requests are referred immediately back to the local libraries in the communities which can respond using local resources.
The Library also provides on-line access to automated information files containing more than 25 million records for Congressional offices, and for libraries throughout the Nation.
The Library also answers more than 35,000 requests a year from all States for interlibrary loan, which we give without charge, unlike most libraries.
The Library's Copyright Office administers U.S. copyright laws and actively promotes international protection of intellectual property created by U.S. citizens, processing more than 650,000 claims for copyright legislation, and 380,000 requests for information annually.
The Library manages a free national reading program for 700,000 blind and physically handicapped people and circulates more than 20 million items annually through 147 regional and subregional libraries and multi-State centers.
CENTER FOR THE BOOK
In addition, the Library of Congress promotes reading and literacy through 25 State affiliates of the Library's Center for the Book Program; last year the Center had more than 100 other organizations connected with it, so the multiplier effect of all these things is considerable.
The Library manages the Nation's leading collection of folk music and folklore, promotes the preservation of folk culture throughout the U.S., and coordinates and administers a cost-effective procurement program for nearly 1300 other Federal libraries.
LINKS TO THE WORLD
Now, besides those services providing links to the Nation which, after serving Congress, of course, are our highest priority, I think it is interesting to note that the Library is an increasingly important link to nations overseas, providing at low cost substantial benefits to American libraries, universities, law schools and other institutions.
A number of these is illustrated on this other map, including purchasing materials through six overseas offices, not only for the Library of Congress, but also for 97 other major American research libraries.
LINKS TO THE WORLD CONTINUED Dr. BILLINGTON. Training scores of Third World officials in international copyright law and the protection of “intellectual property" as a basis for free markets. This is the pirating program, which is a major economic problem.
Bringing millions of foreign items to the Library for American researchers in science, technology and other fields.
EASTERN EUROPE ASSISTANCE
Congress, through its Library, has led the world this year in supporting parliaments in the accelerating democratization process of Eastern Europe. At the request of the Speaker, the Congress' effort has been augmented by the Library, with the Congressional Research Service spearheading practical assistance to Poland, Hungary, and the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, and recently added Bulgaria to the countries assisted.
This aid includes both materials and training to create a parliamentary research capability to the Baltic nations; and we are discussing such aid with the Russian Government.
In all of this, we have been helped by the House Information System staff, with the encouragement of the House Administration Committee.
Mr. Fazio. What about some of the other states other than the Baltic states?
Dr. BILLINGTON. Yes, we are proceeding by degrees.
Mr. Fazio. It would be inevitable that we get to Byelorus and Ukraine.
Dr. BILLINGTON. We are moving, for instance, into the Baltics, and that is pretty well along.
We have established a program of cooperation-we are talking with the Russians about that, and it is, I think, very likely we will talk to some of the other republics. As you know, this comes from AID-appropriated money.
We have gone beyond that, using private funds with some of the most recent arrangements. We have also established a program of cooperation, which is really unprecedented in history, with those who control the vast archives under the new Russian Government, which is the largest repository of unused human information for the 21st century.
And we have been offered an unprecedented opportunity to present for the first time anywhere an exhibition at the Library this summer of hitherto secret internal documents of the Soviet Union, of the whole history of the Soviet period.
Mr. Fazio. We will be going from the Vatican to the KGB in one
Dr. BilliNGTON. We think there will be some interesting exhibits, Mr. Chairman, to celebrate the return of that wonderful Jefferson Building to broader usage, which this committee has presided