Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940

June 16, 1997

Library Publishes 1996 Annual Report

The Annual Report of the Librarian of Congress for 1996 is now available to the public. The report, for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 1996, describes the Library's activities as well as its national and international outreach programs.

Of particular note is a report on the use of new technologies to provide a high level of service to Congress and the nation. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) responded to some 500,000 congressional requests for timely and objective legislative analysis and delivered 690,000 copies of CRS reports and related products to Congress. Approximately 30,000 products were distributed electronically through a fax-on-demand system or via the CRS World Wide Web site.

Usage of the Library's Internet-accessible legislative information system known as THOMAS (http://www.loc.gov/) increased steadily, with more than 30 million transactions recorded since its inception on January 5, 1995. In April 1996, 24 million transactions were recorded on all of the Library computer systems -- triple the number logged in April 1992. Given the Library's stature as a major provider of Internet resources on the World Wide Web, it was appropriate that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was signed by President Clinton in the Library's Main Reading Room on February 8, 1996.

The growth of the National Digital Library Program continued in 1996, supported by a public-private partnership. By year's end, Congress had made two payments of $3.5 million toward its $15 million pledge to the program, and more than $22 million of the necessary $45 million in private funds had been raised. Through this initiative, 16 American history collections and 12 exhibitions were made available on-line, including Dresden: Treasures from the Saxon State Library. The Library's World Wide Web site was frequently cited among the "best of 1996."

During the year, the size of the Library's collection grew to 111,080,666 items (an increase of more than 2.6 million items). The arrearage of unprocessed material, mostly in non-book formats, was reduced by 1.5 million items, while the processing of new receipts remained current. Approximately 800,000 items are added annually to the Library's collections through the copyright registration process. The Librarian of Congress voiced his opposition to legislation, introduced in the 104th Congress, to remove the Copyright Office from the Library of Congress. While this legislation was defeated, Congress modified the U.S. Copyright Law (in Public Law 104-197) to allow the Librarys National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped to produce audio and braille books quicker and at less cost.

The Library's growing collection of music by jazz masters was enriched by a deposit of 10,000 music scores from the late jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald. The Library also acquired the Marian S. Carson Collection, believed to be the most extensive private collection of Americana.

To safeguard the collections, the Library implemented an automated reader registration system in the Jefferson Building, upgraded security in the Adams Building and at the Landover Annex, and placed antitheft targets in an additional 1 million books (bringing the total of targeted volumes to approximately 4 million).

During its second year of publication, Civilization, the magazine of the Library of Congress, won the 1996 National Magazine Award for "general excellence" in its circulation class.

These and other activities are described in the 1996 report. The 188-page, paperbound publication is available from the Superintendent of Documents, PO Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954, for $9.50. Cite stock number 030-000-00276-8 when ordering.

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PR 97-83
6/16/97
ISSN 0731-3527

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