Sequestration Frustrations

Frustrated with the sequestration?   We are too!

Library of Congress header

Due to the temporary shutdown of the federal government, the Library of Congress is closed to the public and researchers beginning October 1, 2013 until further notice.

All public events are cancelled and web sites are inaccessible except the legislative information sites THOMAS.gov and beta.congress.gov.

Many of the sources that researchers and staff at the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center rely upon are unfortunately unavailable “until further notice”. The Library of Congress’ historic newspaper website “Chronicling America” is inaccessible, as is the National Archives and many of their records.  There can be no blogging, no tweeting, no posts to Facebook during the shutdown.

All Presidential libraries are closed, so teachers across the state will need to reschedule their Iowa History Study field trips.  Limitations on the National Historical Publications and Records Commission grant funding go into effect as well.

The New York Times printed an article on May 3, 2013 sharing concerns about the sequestration and the Library of Congress. Quoting from that article by Jennifer Steinhauer:

“The Library of Congress is home to an unrivaled history of the nation’s wars, presidencies, culture and place in the world.

Millions of Americans use the library each year through research visits and on tours, or by checking out its Web site or registering their claims to copyright.

The Library of Congress spent $1 million in fiscal 2012 to digitize parts of the collections, but that budget will be reduced to $500,000 in the current fiscal year. As with all across-the-board cuts made under sequestration, the fear is that it will take the library years to dig itself out.”

Some of the websites remain active because of cooperative agreements with non-federal institutions, such as the relatively new site “Founders Online.” So you can still access thousands of records from George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison and see firsthand the growth of democracy and the birth of the Republic on that site.

Here’s hoping that today’s government officials can approach these issues with the vision of those Founders…and soon.

(Posted by Karen)

 

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