JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen [USA] Library of Congress Plan to Consolidate Reading Rooms Including the Local History and Genealogy Reading Room #general


Jan Meisels Allen
 

The [USA] Library of Congress's mission is to "support the United States
Congress in fulfilling its constitutional duties and to further the progress
of knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people." It was
established in 1800 and today is the largest library in the world. The
Library is located in three different buildings-that makes it difficult to
access everything in one location. Like many other repositories worldwide it
is facing a balancing act of funding and usage-we in the United States are
finding the budget sequestration affecting all different types of government
funded operations. Last fall, the Library of Congress Associate Librarian
put forward an initiative, called I-900 (Initiative 900 days), to
consolidate the operations of multiple Library of Congress reading
rooms-there are 19, reference collections and reference units over the next
three years. A resulting single "Center of Knowledge" would be located in
the space of the Main Reading Room in the Library's Thomas Jefferson
Building. The initiative would take the following reading rooms:

. Microform & Machine Readable Collections
. Local History & Genealogy
. Newspapers, Government Documents & Current Periodicals
. Science & Business

and join them with the existing programs in the main reading room ( in the
Jefferson Building):

. Computer Catalog Center
. Humanities & Social Science specialists (current "Main Reading Room")
. Digital Reference specialists

For genealogists it means the current reading room on the ground level of
the [Jefferson] main building would be located at the first floor of the
same building in the main reading room. It is expected that a three-year
phase in will start later this year. No jobs are to be lost, but the
librarians will be reassigned to different areas within the Library of
Congress. Therefore, those who have expertise in a specialized area, such
as genealogy, may no longer be the person(s) available at all times in the
main reading room. No changes in hours of operation are expected. To see
the hours of operation for the various reading rooms go to:
http://www.loc.gov/rr/hours.html

This first came to our attention in a release written by the Guild that
represents some of the Library's librarians. That can be read at:
http://www.guild2910.org/I900.htm . At this time we don't know if this
change of location requires a public hearing or if the I-900 plan may be
implemented by administrative directive.

To access their online catalogue go to: http://catalog.loc.gov/ . There is
a video on their website that explains more about what is available at the
Library and that may be viewed by going to: http://www.loc.gov/about/more/

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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