An expected fiscal 2014 budget freeze coupled with the threatened 5 percent sequester cut is weighing heavily on the federal agency most influenced by founding father Thomas Jefferson, the Library of Congress.
“Knowledge and creativity never stand still,” said chief Librarian James Billington. “We cannot stop or severely slow down the library’s work without beginning to degrade irreversibly our ability to sustain the nation’s intellectual and creative capital,” he recently told Congress.
But that’s exactly what he sees happening and he provided a list of horrors that would occur if Congress doesn’t provide an inflation boost over last year’s $629 million budget and defer the sequester. Among them:
– Staff would be furloughed or cut, especially among curators, key to the library’s mission of having a copy of virtually everything published.
– Magazine subscriptions would be slashed. Billington warned, “If we had to miss one year’s subscription to a scientific publication that we had acquired for 50 years, we would lose not just one fiftieth, but half of its usefulness, and would never fully be recovered in the future.”
– Book binding would be reduced, “resulting in damage to the collections…”
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