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College & Research Libraries News

WASHINGTON HOTLINE

Carol C. Henderson Deputy Director, ALA Washington Office

(202) 547-4440; ALA0070

Further LC hearings. ALA President Beverly Lynch testified for a second time May 7 on the impact of Library of Congress budget cuts on the nation’s libraries. She traded local stories with Rep. Frank Annunzio (D-IL), whose original neighborhood is near the University of Illinois at Chicago where Lynch is University Librarian, and praised his National Library Week statement ment in the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD in support of LC. Annunzio chairs the Joint Committee on the Library, which held the oversight hearing to focus on the public impact of reductions in LC services resulting from an $18 million cut in this year’s budget due first, to a congressional appropriations cut of 3.5%, and second, to a Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction cut of 4.3%.

Lynch, who had earlier protested the cuts at a House appropriations hearing March 4, noted that the cuts were insidious, visible only over a period of time, but nevertheless devastating in their effects on libraries because of the dependence of the U.S. library community on LG’s expertise in cataloging, its primacy in foreign acquisitions, its leadership in preservation, automation and technological development, and its books for the blind program for which there is no alternative. Attached to her testimony were excerpts from the comments of librarians and user groups from around the country on the impact of the cuts. Lynch appeared on a library panel with Association of Research Libraries Executive Director Shirley Echelman, and Georgetown University Law Center Library Director Robert Oakley.

A panel of academic witnesses included American Historical Association Executive Director Samuel Gammon, Johns Hopkins University History Department Chairman A.J.R. Russell-Wood, and George Washington University professor, science consultant, and former congressional aide William Wells, Jr. A general public panel included a writer, an attorney, a graduate student, and a representative of the Books Not Bombs group which has been protesting the reduction in Sunday and evening hours. From a variety of points of view, the witnesses paid tribute to the importance of the Library to research and scholarship.

The hearing began with statements by Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin, who said he had tried to balance the cuts among the Library’s "three constituencies—the illustrious dead, the vocal living, and the voiceless unborn." Deputy Librarian William Welsh added, "We’ve cut the heart out of non-personal services; we don’t have any reserves."

NTIS privatization study. The Commerce Department is conducting a study of alternatives for privatizing the National Technical Information Service which provides access to U.S. and foreign government technical documents. The April 28 FEDERAL REGISTER notice, pp. 15868-70, requests public comment by May 28, but there have been requests to extend the deadline. The ALA Washington Office would appreciate hearing academic library reaction immediately.

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