College & Research Libraries News


Carol C. Henderson

Deputy Director, ALA Washington Office (202) 547-4440; (ALA0025)

Going to ACRL in Cincinnati?Don’t miss this exciting program developed by the ACRL Legislation Committee.

Title:"National Information Policy, Your Library, and Your Users: Information Access Issues and Actions." Date & Time: Wednesday, April 5, 1989, 2:45-3:45 p.m., Room 253, Convention Center. Speakers: "The White House Conference and National Information Policy: The Role of the Academic Community," Susan Martin, Executive Director, National Commission on Libraries and Information Science; "Informing the Nation: The Academic Librarian’s View," D. Kaye Gapen, Dean of Libraries, University of Wisconsin, Madison; "A Legislator’s Perspective on National Information Policy," Rep. Pat Williams (D-MT), House Postsecondary Education Subcommittee; "How Academic Librarians Can Get Involved in Legislative Activities," Hiram L. Davis, Dean, University Libraries, New Mexico State University, and Chair, Legislative Network Subcommittee of the ACRL Legislation Committee. Moderator: Ruth J. Patrick, Dean of Library Services, University of Montana, and Chair, Program Subcommittee, ACRL Legislation Committee.

Statistics form reminder.Only 56 percent of U.S. postsecondary institutions have returned library survey forms due last November 15 to the National Center for Education Statistics. As part of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Survey, NCES mailed the library survey forms to the person on your campus designated by your institution’s president to receive the IPEDS package. The IPEDS surveys are the most official, basic data existing on academic libraries. Libraries were emphasized in Congress’ most recent reauthorization of NCES, and the disbursement of federal funds through programs such as HEA II-A library resource grants depends on the IPEDS library data. ACRL requested that the Office of Management and Budget approve a two-year (rather than a four-year) cycle for academic library surveys, and 0MB agreed. Whether the two-year schedule continues and whether results will be available in time to be useful depends on prompt and widespread response.

Action needed.ACRL is cooperating with NCES on the survey and urges your cooperation. Check it out and make sure your library survey form is completed and returned. Forms returned promptly still will be welcomed by NCES.

Permanent paper.Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-RI) introduced S.J.Res. 57 on February 8 to establish a national policy to promote and encourage the printing of books and other publications of enduring value on alkaline, permanent papers. Sen. Pell was joined by 19 cosponsors: Sens. Moynihan, Murkowski, Sarbanes, Grassley, McCain, DeConcini, Ford, Kennedy, Exon, Sanford, Heflin, Lieberman, Stevens, Simon, Dodd, Warner, Chafee, Hatch and Graham. The measure, except for a few minor, non-substantive changes, is identical to S.J.Res. 395 introduced late in the last Congress.

In his introductory remarks, Sen. Pell noted that the technology exists to implement this national policy. More than 30 U.S. paper mills already produce alkaline papers, and incentives for others to convert include potentially lowered manufacturing costs and substantially reduced environmental pollution. In addition, prices for alkaline papers are now comparable. The

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Ninety years and still trying

Some things never change? In the fight against the poor quality of paper used in library materials, apparently not. The following quote is from the Report of the Librarian of Congress, printed in the Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress, published in 1899 under the McKinley Administration.

“The attention of Congress has been called to the questionable quality of the paper upon which so much of the Library material is printed. The same criticism may apply to the paper used in other forms of Government records, although with that we have only a minor concern. The deleterious process in the making of modern paper, arising especially from cheapness, and the wood pulp and chemicals used, in the interests of economy, destroy its texture and durability. We have in our Library printed journals going back to the time of Charles II, over 230 years old, the paper as staunch, the ink as clear, as when they came from the press. Under modern conditions of paper manufacture, the press sending forth from day to day so much that is perishable—newspapers crumbling in the readers’ hands—the question may well arise, as affecting not only our own, but all modern libraries, as to how much of our collections will become useless because of the deterioration and disintegration of the paper used in the cheaper forms of literature.

“The Prussian Government having taken up the question, so far as it affected the integrity of German records, the Library has been enabled, through the kindness of our American embassy in Berlin, to obtain a copy of the Prussian regulations….

“While this important question might readily come under Government control, nothing being more essential than the physical integrity of the national archives, so far as the Library is concerned a remedy could be found under the operation of the copyright law. An amendment that no copyright should issue until articles in printed form should be printed on paper of a fixed grade would remedy the evil, so far as the important libraries are concerned. There would be no trouble to the publisher beyond the cost of a few special sheets of paper and a slight delay in the presswork; and when the value of the franchise involved in a copyright is remembered the guaranty thus exacted as to the quality of the paper would be slight return for the privilege. Extra cost of those special sheets would be cheerfully borne by the libraries, and in the end become to the publisher a profit rather than a loss.”

Our great-grandparents made a bid for permanent paper in 1899; perhaps our generation can make some progress by 1999?—GME.

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