Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero issued a proposed plan last week to reduce spending levels at the National Archives and Records Administration. This plan is based in response to the Obama Administration’s proposals for the Fiscal Year 2012 Federal budget. I wrote a follow-up article expressing my opinions about one piece of Ferriero's plan, the proposed closing of the National Archives at Boston-Pittsfield Annex, located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Apparently, a lot of concern has also been expressed about other pieces of the proposed plan, pieces that were not addressed in my article.
Several stories have since circulated about the various National Archives libraries. Apparently, some of the stories in circulation are not based on facts. Today, David S. Ferriero issued a new statement that seeks to clear some of the misconceptions. The following press release was issued by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration:
February 18, 2011
Statement by Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero
We prepared our FY 2012 budget in a fiscally constrained environment. Additionally, each Federal agency was asked to submit at least five program terminations, reductions, and administrative savings initiatives to reduce their budget. This was a difficult task because it would impact our operations, our staff, and the public we serve. This budget requirement could not be met by taking an across-the-board funding cut. We needed to identify activities or programs to terminate. After much analysis and deliberation, we determined that one of the programs to be reduced by October 1, 2011, was aspects of our library program in the Washington, DC area.
At the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, the library will remain open with reduced staff. The published and online resources currently available will remain, including public access PCs, the book collection related to genealogy and U.S. and world history prior to World War I, and the U.S. Serial Set Digital Collection. These materials are heavily used by National Archives staff and researchers. However, no new materials will be purchased for the collection at this site.
The library at the National Archives at College Park also will remain open with reduced staff. The government publications collection, the remainder of the general collection, and various online re sources will remain. Book purchases and periodical subscriptions will be reduced from $12,000 to $2,000 a year. CREST, the CIA Records Search Tool, will continue to be available. Telephone, email, and letter reference request services for the public and staff will continue.
The library at the College Park facility will continue to remain a government documents depository library. These cuts do not affect the records that are part of Record Group 287, the records of the Government Printing Office, which continues to be administered under the auspices of NARA’s Center for Legislative Archives.
There are currently nine library staff members. Seven of those staff will be reassigned within the agency to fill existing vacancies; the remaining two will be assisted by research room personnel in operating the libraries.
I greatly appreciate the important work done by the library staff, and emphasize that these cuts in no way reflect their work, their professionalism or dedication.
The National Archives and Records Administration Archives and Library Information Center (ALIC) provides access to information on American history and government, archival administration, information management, and government documents to National Archives staff, archives and records management professionals, and the general public. ALIC provides access to a collection of over 150,000 published items, as well as various commercially-produced electronic resources published by ProQuest, Gale-Cengage, and EBSCO. In FY 2010, Library staff handled approximately 7,400 information requests, of which over 2,750 were to individuals at Archives I.