March 8, 2006
The Honorable Jerry Lewis
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515-6025
Dear Chairman Lewis:
On behalf of the American Association of Law Libraries, I write to you today in strong support for the full FY 2007 funding request of $628.465 million for the Library of Congress (LC), including $14.026 million for the Law Library of Congress. Full funding for the Law Library is crucial to its ability to fulfill its mission in providing timely access to its collections to Congress, the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. Courts, the executive branch, the legal community and members of the public.
The American Association of Law Libraries ("AALL") is a non-profit educational organization with over 5,000 members nationwide. AALL's mission is to promote and enhance the value of law libraries to the legal and public communities, to foster the profession of law librarianship, and to provide leadership in the field of legal information and information policy.
The Law Library of Congress needs adequate annual funding to develop and maintain its comprehensive legal collections, including foreign and international materials essential to global commerce; to achieve timely cataloging and processing of all new materials; to support the critically important "Access to Law Collections" project to reclassify almost one third of its print collection to the Class K international standard for legal materials—until this project is completed, that substantial portion of the library's collection cannot be easily retrieved; to ensure the conservation of the Law Library's collection of over 65,000 unique rare books; and to provide specialized legal research to members of Congress and their staff. At the same time, the Law Library must continue to develop and enhance its important digital projects, such as the Global Legal Information Network, a multinational legal database of current, official foreign laws, regulations and other legal resources important to our government, to the legal and business communities and the public.
AALL strongly supports Dr. Billington's request for an incremental adjustment of $2 million in FY 2007 for the Library's ongoing GENPAC project. Both Congress and the Administration recognize the importance of foreign trade and the global environment to our Nation's economic well-being. The GENPAC appropriation is vital to the Law Library's ability to continue to acquire foreign and international legal materials in both print and electronic formats. Access to the laws and regulations of foreign nations is critically important to anyone seeking to do business abroad and, as Dr. Billington notes, the cost of acquiring serial and electronic materials has greatly increased. This is especially true for legal titles which are generally much more expensive than other library resources.
I thank you, Chairman Lewis, for your past strong support for the Library of Congress and the Law Library, and hope that your Committee will approve the full FY 2007 funding request made by Dr. Billington. The special request of $2 million for the ongoing costs of the GENPAC project is especially important to our community. Finally, I respectfully ask that you please include this statement as part of the March 10, 2006 hearing record.
American Association of Law Libraries
cc: Ranking Member David Obey