Federal Librarians Prepare for Digital Future
FLICC Helps Develop Information Services for the Next Century
As federal librarians approach the year 2000, the Federal Library and Information Center Committee (FLICC) is helping them develop the information services that agencies will need to carry out their missions well into the 21st century.
To work toward a common vision for future information services, the FLICC membership brainstormed and sorted ideas in small-group sessions at two of its quarterly meetings in 1995. The results were honed by the FLICC Executive Board and FLICC Executive Director Susan Tarr to create the VISION 2000 document presented below.
With the variety of library and information centers in the federal sector, not all elements of VISION 2000 apply equally to all federal information services - nor is the VISION a static document that need only rest in place for the next four years. As federal programs and information technologies continue to evolve in the coming years, federal information services must adjust to provide needed information as quickly and economically as possible to federal information users. The Federal Library and Information Center Committee will continue to provide a common front to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
History of FLICC. FLICC's purpose - since the time it was established at the Library of Congress more than 30 years ago with a small grant from the Council on Library Resources - has been to make library and information center resources more effective through professional development of staff, promotion of library and information services and coordination of available resources.
In 1968, when then-Librarian of Congress L. Quincy Mumford requested congressional appropriations to permanently support the work of the "Federal Library Committee," he testified that the other federal agencies recommended that the committee become an "integral and permanent part of the Library's operations."
FLICC Members. FLICC is composed of the directors of the four national libraries - the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, the National Agricultural Library and the newly formed National Library of Education - and representatives of Cabinet-level executive departments, as well as legislative, judicial and independent federal agencies with major library programs. The FLICC is chaired by the Librarian of Congress, who recently named Associate Librarian for Library Services Winston Tabb to be chair designate. The committee meets quarterly to deliberate on policies, programs and procedures relating to federal information services. FLICC's continuing work is governed by the 10-member Executive Board, elected from the membership, and is carried out by its seven working groups and supporting staff.
FLICC Member Services. FEDLINK, the Federal Library and Information Network, is FLICC's largest member program. FEDLINK provides centralized training and procurement services to federal libraries, information centers and other federal units. Library of Congress contracting officers negotiate agreements with commercial vendors of books, serials, database services, document delivery and library support services on behalf of FEDLINK members. In addition, FEDLINK staff or contract instructors provide an array of training opportunities on cataloging, OCLC systems, World Wide Web and other Internet services. All FEDLINK services are fully reimbursed by program participants through member-approved fees.
During the past year FLICC has been wrapping up its work on the census of federal libraries and information centers and developing a strategy on the role of federal information services in the future. The census, conducted as a cooperative effort of FLICC, the Census Bureau and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), creates a baseline of federal information services as of 1994. This is particularly important because the last survey of federal libraries was in 1978, prior to the broad-based automation of library services and the advent of Internet communications. According to the survey, 70 percent of federal libraries had automated their cataloging operation and most had online public access catalogs (OPACs) in 1994. Eighty-four percent use fax machines, 79 percent have electronic mail, and 76 percent have CD-ROMs. Fifty-five percent reported Internet connections.