Acknowledging and Commending National Library Week

Acknowledging and Commending National Library Week  (2009) 
by Earl Blumenauer

Acknowledging and Commending National Library Week



Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, from April 12-18, 2009, our nation celebrated National Library Week and the vital role that these institutions and their dedicated staff play in supporting our communities. On April 22, 2009, the House of Representatives passed H. Res. 336, supporting the goals and ideals of National Library Week and encouraging Americans to take full advantage of these wonderful public resources.

In Oregon, we pride ourselves on our strong community and a commitment to quality of life and education. Public libraries are a vital piece of this fabric and, in fact, Oregon has the second highest circulation of public library materials in the nation and the only 5- star library in the Northwest. As the economic downturn has pushed family budgets to the brink, these resources are more important than ever. In addition to public reading and visual materials, libraries offer Internet and computer access for all, free of charge. Many also serve as community spaces for gatherings and events.

Another library that deserves recognition is our very own Library of Congress. In 2008, to highlight the world-class work of this institution I formed the Library of Congress Caucus, now nearly 50 Members strong. I have the distinct honor of co-chairing this bipartisan organization with my friend Congressman Zach Wamp. Our goal is to draw further attention to the nation's library, its collections and curators, and to encourage further use by Members of Congress and the public alike.

The Library of Congress not only houses the much-appreciated Congressional Research Service, it also offers 1.6 million visitors access to 15 million primary-source documents and operates the Veteran's History Project and the Surplus Books Program. One of my favorite programs, the Surplus Books Program is an innovative book donation program, through which Members may send library materials to the schools and libraries in their home district. At a time when funding for libraries is scarce, this is a simple way to reduce book waste and distribute excess resources to our communities and schools where they are needed most.

I strongly encourage members to take advantage of these extraordinary programs and resources, and congratulate all our nation's libraries, librarians, and library-enthusiasts.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).