March 16, 2007
The Honorable Mary Landrieu
Chair, Subcommittee on Legislative Branch
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Landrieu:
The American Association of Law Libraries looks forward to working with you and members of the Subcommittee on Legislative Branch on important issues regarding funding for the Government Printing Office, as well as the Library of Congress and the Law Library of Congress. We write today to urge you to fund fully the FY 2008 appropriations request of $181.97 million for the U.S. Government Printing Office. This amount includes $45.61 million for the Salaries and Expenses (S&E) account that funds the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and $109.54 million for Congressional Printing and Binding.
The American Association of Law Libraries is a nonprofit educational organization with over 5000 members nationwide. Our members respond to the legal information needs of legislators, judges, and other public officials at all levels of government, corporations and small businesses, law professors and students, attorneys, and members of the general public. AALL's mission is to promote and enhance the value of law libraries, to foster law librarianship and to provide leadership and advocacy in the field of legal information and information policy.
AALL has long supported the programs and operations of the Government Printing Office (GPO). We believe that full FY 2008 funding is crucial because the current continuing resolution, H.J. Res. 20, resulted in lower levels of FY 2007 funding for GPO's many important programs, including the S&E. We were very pleased last year that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $7 million of the additional $10 million requested by GPO for the S&E in FY 2007. That funding request included $2 million for the print distribution of the 2006 U.S. Code to depository libraries and $8 million for GPO's digital initiatives. These very important projects include: digitizing pre-1976 cataloging records; cataloging documents harvested from agency Web sites; improving the GPO Access system; and the authentication of online publications. All of these projects will improve significantly the public's access to federal government information. We urge you to agree to Acting Public Printer William H. Turri's request of $45.61 million for the S&E in FY 2008.
In addition, we urge you to support GPO's request of $109.54 million for Congressional Printing and Binding (CP&B). Access to legislative information—bills, committee hearings (full published transcripts as opposed to hearing statements posted to committee Web sites), reports, prints, documents and other materials—is crucial to the public and the legal community's ability to monitor and engage in the legislative process. Full funding is especially important for FY 2008 so that GPO is able to publish all these important documents of the 110th Congress. While we support making these materials available in a timely manner through GPO Access, it is important to acknowledge the continued need for print because at this time, the legal community must have access to information that is both official and authentic. CP&B funding is especially important to ensure that the 2006 U.S. Code, a core document of democracy, is published in a timely fashion.
Chairman Landrieu, we congratulate you on your new role as Chairman of the Subcommittee. You might be surprised to know that law libraries represent 12% of our Nation's 1250 federal depository libraries. In fact, of the 28 federal depository libraries in Louisiana, six of them are law libraries. This reflects the commitment of law libraries to building print and electronic collections of federal government information and providing the knowledge and expertise of law librarians to help the public—including your own constituents in Louisiana—find the important government information they need.
We respectfully urge your support by approving the Government Printing Office's FY 2008 appropriations request in its entirety. We ask that you please include this statement as part of the Subcommittee's record for the March 16, 2007, hearing on GPO's FY 2008 funding request. Thank you very much.
Sarah (Sally) Holterhoff
American Association of Law Libraries