Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022

August 28, 2000

Library of Congress Publishes Annual Report for 1999

The Annual Report of the Librarian of Congress for 1999 has just been released for public acquisition. It was submitted to Congress earlier by Librarian James H. Billington and accepted by the legislative body. The report, for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 1999, describes the Library's activities in Washington, D.C., and in national and international outreach programs.

Of particular note in the Librarian's report is the continued work to upgrade and secure the Library's technological foundation to improve service to Congress and the nation, including the successful preparation of the Library's computer systems for the year 2000 century change. During the year, the Library further developed the Legislative Information System as the central point for locating legislative information so that data can be more rapidly exchanged between the Library and the House and Senate. The Congressional Research Service developed weekly electronic mail delivery of materials on topical issues and additional electronic briefing books.

The Integrated Library System, designed to make more efficient all of the Library's basic bibliographic functions, was launched on time and under budget. At year's end, more than 16 million records had been converted from legacy systems to the ILS database.

As the primary provider of American historical educational content on the Internet, the Library's National Digital Library Program continued to garner accolades, including the Global Information Infrastructure's Education Award. On average, the Library's Web site received 4 million hits each working day during the year.

As part of the Library's National Digital Library Program, 18 new multimedia historical collections and four Library exhibitions were added to the American Memory Web site (www.loc.gov). At year's end, approximately 2.5 million Library of Congress items and 85,000 items from collaborating institutions were available online. An additional 2.5 million items were put into production as part of a national collaborative effort.

During the year, the size of the Library's collections grew to 118,993,629 (an increase of nearly 3.5 million items). At year's end, the arrearage of unprocessed materials stood at 19.8 million items, a decrease of 50 percent from the 39.7 million-item arrearage at the time of the initial census in September 1989.

Important new collections came to the Library through gift or purchase, including more than 600,000 items of Supreme Court Justices Harry Blackmun and Ruth Bader Ginsberg; papers and documents relating to the early history of the United States in the Marian Carson Collection; and a multimedia collection of ballet choreographer Bronislava Nijinska. Two important cartographic items, the Carte de Canada et des Etats Unis de l'Amerique (1778), the first map to recognize the independence of the United States, and a Persian manuscript celestial globe, ca. 1650, were acquired. The first American Haggadah, published in New York City in 1837; 337 issues of the post-Revolutionary newspaper Claypoole's Daily Advertiser, 1791-1793; 40,000 works by more than 3,000 artists in the J. Arthur Wood Jr. Collection of cartoons and caricature were notable additions to the Library's collections, as was Politica by Aristotle (Cologne, 1492), the earliest version of Aristotle's work to become available in the West.

The Library prepared for its Bicentennial celebration in 2000. Bicentennial initiatives included commemorative coins and a stamp, exhibitions, publications, symposia and other special projects, including a new Web site, americaslibrary.gov. "Local Legacies," a project to document cultural traditions and events in each congressional district at the turn of the century, was the principal grassroots Bicentennial effort. The "Gifts to the Nation" project seeks to enrich the Library's collections during its Bicentennial year with materials identified as historically significant. Among the notable contributions to this effort is a $1 million gift from Gene and Jerral Jones to re-create Thomas Jefferson's library.

These and other activities are described in the 1999 report. The 180-page paperbound publication is available for $21 from the Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. Cite stock number 030-000-00286-5 when ordering.

# # #

PR 00-122
8/28/00
ISSN 0731-3527

Back to top