November 26, 2020

Article: “Library of Congress: the Unexpected Diplomat”

From The Hill:

One doesn’t typically expect terrorism to become a topic of discussion at hearing about library funding.

But that’s exactly what happened on March 17, as the Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee assessed the budget requests of the Library of Congress and the Architect of the Capitol.

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“How has the library’s overseas operation been impacted, if at all, by any kind of ongoing terrorist activities in the Middle East?” the West Virginia Republican [Sen. Shelley Moore Capito] then asked. Billington went on to describe how the library provides expertise on salvaging and protecting materials. Mark Sweeney, the associate librarian for library services, noted increased security costs for protecting its overseas offices.

All of the LOC’s six overseas offices are in often unstable regions, but that’s by design. The offices serve areas that may not have systems in place to archive and catalog books, publications, newspapers, maps, etc.

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The Cairo office acquires materials from 23 countries in the surrounding region, including Iraq, Syria and Yemen. In 2011, the office temporarily closed as nonessential U.S. personnel left the country during the Egyptian revolution. Beacher Wiggins, the acting chief of the LOC’s overseas operations division, said in a phone interview that Cairo is one of two offices with the highest security risk. The other is in Islamabad, Pakistan.

The remaining offices are located in Jakarta, Indonesia; Nairobi, Kenya; New Dehli, India; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For lawmakers, these offices play a vital role in understanding the tumultuous developments in Middle East.

Read the Complete Article (1094 Words)

See Also: A Video Recording of the  Hearing Discussed in the Article Above is Available Here

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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