Oct 27, 2014
The Library of Congress, based in Washington, D.C., has cut its workforce over the last decade, down to around 3,000. Almost half its catalog and acquisition librarians and a quarter of its reference services staff are no longer there. The job cuts are a long-term campaign against these federal workers, legislated by both parties and agreed to by their unions. The reductions also threaten the many services provided by this largest library in the world.
Not just a tourist site, the Library of Congress is a free research library open to anyone 16 and older. The stacks hold more than 150 million books, pictures, and recordings, with 12,000 more added every workday. Schools use its millions of online digital materials, authors register hundreds of thousands of works each year with its copyright office, and blind people use its recorded and Braille books. Staff economists and scientists research hundreds of thousands of questions from congressional staff each year. Plus six overseas offices collect materials from many other countries. All this is done by around 3,000 workers.
Cut into these services? That’s like going back to the Dark Ages!