The American Association of Law Libraries’ Government Relations Committee (GRC) Access to Information Subcommittee has just put out an urgent call for action. We at FGI would echo this call and ask our readers to TAKE ACTION NOW to get Congress to adequately fund the Library of Congress and the Government Publishing Office (GPO)! DO IT NOW! For background information, see AALL’s action alert below.
This month’s post from the GRC Access to Information subcommittee contains an urgent message about legislative branch appropriations. Thanks in advance for taking action!
Action Needed! Funding for GPO’s FDsys Cut from Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill
The House Appropriations Committee just released the draft FY2016 Legislative Appropriations bill, which includes funding for the Government Publishing Office. GPO’s Revolving Fund, which funds FDsys upgrades (plus system upgrades and building repairs) has been completely cut out of the draft bill. At the Legislative Subcommittee mark up today, Ranking Member Debbie Wasserman Schultz eloquently expressed her concern, speaking about GPO’s vital role in transparency and access to democracy. She said the denial of GPO’s request to invest in its online system is a threat to free public access to legislative information. Her remarks can be viewed here, starting around the 11 minute mark. A summary of the bill can be found here, and the full text here.
Please contact your member of Congress to express your support for full funding of GPO, in particular the need to fund continued improvements to their online information system. You can use AALL’s Legislative Action Center on GPO and LC Funding. It’s a fast, easy way to advocate for this important funding. It’s particularly important if your representative serves on the House Appropriations Committee! You can read more about AALL’s support for GPO funding here.
Library of Congress
In case you missed this developing story, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a 127-page report of its year-long review of the Library of Congress IT management and resources: Strong Leadership Needed to Address Serious Information Technology Management Weakness, GAO-15-315, March 2015. GAO highlights and recommendations are here.
The Washington Post published two articles about the GAO report: America’s “National Library” is Lacking in Leadership, Yet Another Report Finds (3/31/15) and Lawmakers Want Library of Congress Reforms but not Librarian’s Resignation (4/2/15). The New York Times published an editorial, Digital Neglect at the Library of Congress (4/4/15).
Despite GAO’s critical report, the House Appropriations Legislative Branch bill provides LC with an increase of $510,000 above the fiscal year 2015 enacted level. You can read more about AALL’s support for Library of Congress funding here.
– Submitted by Peggy Jarrett, Gallagher Law Library, University of Washington School of Law.