ACRL

Association of College & Research Libraries

WASHINGTON HOTLINE

Carol C. Henderson Deputy Director ALA Washington Office

Recommendations developed by the ACRL Legislation Committee, endorsed by ACRL and ALA, and submitted jointly by ALA and the Association of Research Libraries were the basis of testimony by academic librarians before House and Senate education subcommittees in September. The hearings were on the Higher Education Act, the major piece of education (and library) legislation up for renewal this Congress. The ALA testimony:

1) Recommended need criteria for the HEA II-A college library resource grants. Grants of between $2,000 and $10,000 depending on enrollment range would go to libraries ranking below the norm in their institutional class when scored for both "materials expenditures/FTE student" and "volumes held/FTE student." Maintenance of effort would be required. Insufficient appropriations would result in fewer, not smaller, grants to the most needy.

2) Recommended continuation of the II-B training (targeted over the past decade to minority recruitment) and research program.

3) Recommended continuation of the II-C strengthening research libraries program.

4) Recommended a II-D program of college library technology and cooperation grants—a minimum of $15,000 for up to a 3-year period. One-third matching would be required.

5) Recommended authorization of $1 million under HEA VI (International Education) to strengthen collections of periodicals published outside the U.S. at institutions with relevant collection strengths and commitment to sharing resources.

Testifying for ALA at House hearings September 6 were ACRL Legislation Committee Chair Nancy Kranich, New York University Libraries, committee member Harold Shill, West Virginia University Library, and for ARL, Charles Churchwell, Washington University Libraries, St. Louis. ALA Legislation Committee member Nancy Eaton, University of Vermont Libraries, and ALA Board Member F. William Summers, Florida State University School of Library and Information Studies, were scheduled to testify September 19 at Senate hearings, along with ARL witness John McDonald, University of Connecticut Libraries.

Attendance at the House hearing was good, including Chairman Bill Ford (D-MI), ranking minority member Thomas Coleman (R-MO), librarian legislator Major Owens (D-NY), Terry Bruce (D-IL), Steve Gunderson (R-WI), and Timothy Penny (D-MN). Questioning reflected a congressional preoccupation with foreign competition and trade deficits. "Do our libraries have the information the U.S. needs on technological developments in other nations?" "Do we have data that measures our academic libraries against those of other countries?” Chairman Ford decried the perception that the U.S. doesn’t need anything foreign, while the Russians are reading everything we have.

Ford also donned his postal committee chairman’s hat and compared the 4th class library rate subsidy ($42 million) to HEA II grants ($7 million). He warned that as postal subsidies are cut, the library rate could be in danger, and urged librarians to support it strongly and to provide continuing up-to- date library postal cost data.

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