Support the National Agricultural Library

Below is an important news release from the American Library Association about the impending disastrous cut in the budget of the National Agricultural Library. Why should this matter to us? Besides the fact that NAL would no longer have the funding to function as a “national” library for agriculture, it also impacts us directly. NAL is a major source for interlibrary loan materials. As UH Manoa’s library budget is eaten up by inflation, we depend more and more on shared resources such as interlibrary loan to serve the campus community. NAL’s collection is an important part of that shared resource. NAL is also a significant repository for the history of agriculture both for the nation and for our state. When I was working on the bibliography for the NEH grant on the history of agriculture and rural life in Hawaii, I was surprised that some of our historic publications were available at NAL, but not here in our state! Please consider contacting your Senator and/or Congressperson to ask them to support an adequate budget for NAL.

NEWS
For Immediate Release

July 15, 2008

ALA Council passes resolution in support of the National Agriculture Library

At the American Library Association (ALA) 2008 Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif., the ALA Council adopted a resolution in support of the National Agriculture Library (NAL).

In the resolution, the Council urges the United States Congress to fund NAL for fiscal year 2009 at the $22-million level recommended by the House Agricultural Subcommittee. It also calls on ALA to raise awareness of the value of the four national libraries.

The NAL is the world’s largest agricultural library, providing collections, journals, databases and other data and information and services that help citizens establish successful agricultural practices.

It also provides guidance in such areas as gardening, animal husbandry, organic farming, pesticide management, ecological stewardship, water quality, invasive species, healthy diet choices and food safety.

Along with the National Library of Education, the National Library of Medicine and the National Transportation Library, the NAL is one of four national libraries responsible for collecting and organizing materials in support of research in their special fields. Although the costs of purchasing books, journals, database operations and management, delivery of comprehensive reference services and other library materials and services have increased as much as 12% annually over the last two decades, the NAL’s appropriated budget has remained essentially constant since 1995.

The President’s fiscal year 2009 budget estimate includes a $4 million reduction from the fiscal year 2008 budget estimate and $6 million less than the fiscal year 2007 actual budget for the library. This change will force NAL to eliminate nearly 60 positions by the end of fiscal year 2009

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One Response to “Support the National Agricultural Library”

  1. Stu Gagnon Says:

    Thanks for posting this, Eileen! Here are two more links:

    http://www.ruralvotes.com/thebackforty/?p=183

    http://slaconnections.typepad.com/public_policy_blog/2008/05/press-release-.html

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