Association of College & Research Libraries

Washington Hotline

Carol C. Henderson Carol C. Henderson is deputy executive director, ALA Washington Office, NU_ALAWASH@CUA

HEA signed into law

A five-year reauthorization of the Higher Education Act was signed into law (P.L. 102-325) on July 23, 1992. Revision of library programs followed recommendations of ALA (originating in the work of the ACRL Government Relations Committee), the Association of Research Libraries, and the higher education community.

HEA II, Academic Libraries and Information Services.

The legislative history reflects a new focus on the electronic networked environment. The quote below is from S. Rept. 102-204 on S. 1150, but H. Rept. 102-447 on H.R. 3553 had almost identical language.

Libraries are now at the threshold of a new era of electronic information made possible by high-performance computers and high-speed, high-capacity electronic networks such as the evolving National Research and Education Network. The capacity of these emerging technologies to strengthen and expand the role that libraries can play on our college campuses and throughout society cannot be overestimated. They enable libraries to make their holdings available in a multiplicity of ways and places, increasing access to information dramatically.

Through reauthorization, the committee intends to build upon these emerging technologies by providing a stimulus to projects such as those which: enable smaller and needier institutions to gain connectivity to the new networked environment; promote the expansion of library and information services to the disabled; provide for sharing of nonprint resources such as photos, maps, manuscripts, and sound recordings; preserve electronic as well as traditional forms of library and information resources; and educate a new generation of library and information professionals recruited from diverse backgrounds to provide services to an increasingly diverse population.

II-A, College Library Technology and Coopera- tion Grants.The unfunded grants for college library re- sources are replaced with a revised II-D technology grant program, which con- tinues four types of three- year grants and a one-third required match.

Technology grants to in- stitutions are amended to include upgrading techno- logical equipment and ac- cessing material in electronic formats. For the first of the four types, the minimum grant is increased from $15,000 to $25,000, with a new maximum of $50,000 and a priority for developing institutions link- ing to resource-sharing networks. The law spe- cifically encourages NREN-related projects in the fourth type of grant for research and demon- stration projects.

II B, Library Education, Research, and Development.“Library Career Training” is now “Library Education and Human Resource Development,” with an emphasis on meeting critical needs such as minority recruitment. Consultation with library and information science professional bodies is required to determine research priorities and critical needs in library education.

II-C, Improving Access to Research Library Resources.The title, changed from “Strengthening Research Library Resources,” indicates the new emphasis on grants to make research library “information resources” available, not just “holdings.”

HEA II-D, Strengthening Library and Information Science Programs and Libraries in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority-Serving Institutions. Thetitle describes this new part, retained by conferees from the House bill and responsive to a WHCLIS recommendation.

HEA VI A Section 607.Grants for acquiring foreign periodicals are expanded to include other types of research materials; the authorization is increased from $1 million to $5 million, and grants are to be of sufficient size to make an impact. ■

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