July 4, 1998 Library of Congress Publishes Annual Report for 1997

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

The Annual Report of the Librarian of Congress for 1997 has just been released for public acquisition following its submission to Congress. The report, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1997, describes the Library's activities in Washington, D.C., and in national and international outreach programs. In transmitting the report to Congress, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington noted the Library's many historic milestones in 1997, including the reopening of the restored Jefferson Building, the development of a comprehensive security plan and the increase in use of the Library's Internet services to more than 400 million transactions.

Of particular note in the Librarian's report is the high level of service to Congress and the nation through the use of technology. Building on the success of the publicly accessible legislative information system known as THOMAS, the Library developed the first phase of a Legislative Information System (LIS) for use by members of Congress and their staff. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) responded to some 530,000 congressional requests for timely and objective legislative analysis.

The completed renovation and reopening of the Thomas Jefferson Building on May 1, 1997, was marked by the opening of the exhibition "American Treasures of the Library of Congress." Plans were under way to celebrate the Library's bicentennial in the year 2000.

In addition to the comprehensive physical security plan to safeguard the Library's collections, facilities, staff, visitors, and other assets, the Library developed a 1997- 2004 Strategic Plan and a computer security plan. Congress approved the Library's fiscal 1998 budget request for an Integrated Library System (ILS) to improve automation support for bibliographic control and inventory management activities at the Library. An ILS program director was appointed and a dedicated project team assembled to procure a commercially available system by the spring of 1998.

The Library continued to provide Congress and the nation with an increasing amount of information through its Internet-based systems. Having tripled between 1992 and 1996, the average number of monthly electronic transactions doubled to 40 million during fiscal 1997. The increase is due in large part to the enormously popular THOMAS system, and the American Memory historical collections. The Library's World Wide Web site was frequently cited for excellence by the media.

As part of the Library's National Digital Library Program, 10 new historical collections were added to the Library's Web site, along with three new Library exhibitions, including "American Treasures of the Library of Congress." At year's end, nearly $28 million had been raised in private funds, in addition to the $15 million in congressional support for this Library initiative.

During the year, the size of the Library's collections grew to 113,026,742 items (an increase of more than 1.9 million items). The arrearage of unprocessed material, mostly in nonbook formats, was reduced by more than 1 million items, while remaining current with new receipts. Approximately 800,000 items are added annually to the Library's collections through the copyright registration process.

Important new collections came to the Library through gift or purchase, including the personal papers and drawings of cartoonist and dramatist Jules Feiffer; the Ned Rorem Collection of nearly 75,000 items devoted to one of the nation's most celebrated musicians; important additions to the papers of lyric poet and biographer Muriel Rukeyser; approximately 1,200 radio transcription discs donated by the University of California at Los Angeles Film and Television Archives, including rare 1924 broadcasts by Ed Wynn; and a 1745 edition of Horace that was owned and annotated by Thomas Jefferson.

These and other activities are described in the 1997 report. The 179 paperbound publication is available from the Superintendent of Documents, PO Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954, for $9.50. Cite stock number 030-000-00280-6 when ordering.


PR 98-104
ISSN 0731-3527