ALA submits testimony against Library of Congress cataloguing changes

Contact: Bernadette Murphy

ALA Washington Office

(202) 628-8410
For Immediate Release:

July 27, 2006

ALA submits testimony against Library of Congress cataloguing changes

(WASHINGTON) The American Library Association (ALA) submitted testimony today to the Committee on House Administration regarding the Library of Congress’ decision to cease the creation of series authority records and treat all series only via transcription in bibliographic records. ALA’s testimony voiced concern about both the fact that the Library of Congress’ decision was made without sufficient
consultation with the broad library community and the direct negative financial impact the decision will have on America’s libraries and library users.
ALA also expressed concern about rumors of more extensive cuts in the Library’s cataloguing services being contemplated.

“The Library of Congress is a world-class resource upon which all libraries rely, and it has been a leader
in the development of standards of practice for bibliographic access to library materials for more than a century,” said ALA Immediate Past President Michael Gorman.
“Its cataloguing records provide the means by which any library in the country is able to provide users with adequate access to collections,” he continued. “The Library is funded by Congress, among other things, to provide such services.”

ALA’s testimony emphasized that any diminution of the quality or quantity of cataloging provided by the Library of Congress will force the nation’s public, school, and academic libraries to take on this work themselves or abandon it altogether.
“When the Library of Congress decides to cut cataloguing services to our nation’s libraries, thousands of Americans’ ability to locate and identify desired information is diminished,” Gorman said.

The ALA requested that the Library of Congress return to its former practice of broad consultation with the library community prior to making significant changes in cataloging policy. Further, the association urged the Library of Congress to “re-dedicate itself to cooperative cataloging programs and cooperative standards efforts, in which both the Library of Congress and partner libraries can benefit from standards established together.”