By GUY LAMOLINARA
The Library's National Digital Library (NDL) Program came a big step closer to achieving its fund-raising goal when Eastman Kodak Co. donated $1 million to the program Nov. 1.
"The Library is grateful to CEO George Fisher and Eastman Kodak for their support of the National Digital Library Program," said Dr. Billington. "Kodak, a leader in electronic imaging technology, today demonstrates its commitment to the NDL program through its generous gift."
The NDL Program, which is seeking private funds totaling $45 million by the year 2000, has now received $19 million in contributions and pledges. The goal of the program is to place 5 million items on the Internet, also by 2000. For fiscal 1996, Congress approved $3 million for the program.
"We applaud the Library of Congress's National Digital Library Program, which will make some of the nation's greatest treasures readily available to citizens of America. It is a privilege for Kodak to participate and support this project," said Mr. Fisher. "As a U.S. citizen who has come to understand the power of technology in delivering information and knowledge, I am excited by the prospects of a National Digital Library."
Dr. Billington shared his vision of the institution he heads, and how it "must evolve from a passive storehouse of knowledge to an active disseminator, to assure universal access to information through libraries and schools. We do not want America to become a nation of information 'haves' and 'have- nots.'"
He then introduced Mr. Fisher, a member of the Library's Madison Council, a private sector advisory group to the Library.
"The Library of Congress is already a major contributor to the Information Superhighway," Mr. Fisher said. "We are proud of this effort" to share the Library's collections with the world. "It is time for the private sector" to support efforts such as this.
Asked by a reporter why companies should give to programs such as the National Digital Library, Mr. Fisher replied that he believes Kodak's gift is one of "enlightened self-interest."
Another reporter wanted to know whether information on the Internet will do away with the printed book. According to the Librarian, the NDL Program "will enrich rather than impoverish the book culture" by providing resources that stimulate additional research using books and other traditional library materials.
During the news conference, Bob Zich, the Library's director of electronic programs, gave an overview of the initiatives the Library offers on its homepage (http://www.loc.gov/).