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NREN'S FUTURE A ROLE FOR LIBRARIES

NREN'S FUTURE A ROLE FOR LIBRARIES EDITORIAL BETTY TUROCK NREN'S FUTURE: A ROLE FOR LIBRARIES? In 1990, when the bill was introduced in Congress to The members asked Congress for authorizing legislation so create the National Research and Education Network that: (NREN), a proposed high-capacity electronic highway of • the recognition of education in its broadest sense as a interconnected networks, linkages for all kinds of libraries reason for the development of NREN; were missing. This was hard to understand, since the li­ • all kinds of libraries would be eligible to join NREN as brary community has been assisted and encouraged in its resource providers and as access points for users; networking efforts by the federal government since 1960. • a voice for all involved constituencies, including librar­ Each year the feds give money for programs that pro­ ies, be provided in the development of network policy mote and support interlibrary cooperation, including re­ and technical standards. source sharing and library applications of ne w technology. The amount is in the neighborhood of $200 million through The American Library Association, one of the 19 part­ the Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA); th e Higher ners, developed a position statement in consultation with Education Act (HEA), Title II; the Depository Library Pro­ Legislation Committee Chair E.J. Josey and President Rich­ gram; the library postal rate; and the Medical Library As­ ard Dougherty, who made NREN funding one of the prior­ sistance Act for the three national libraries—the Library of ities for his term. ALA's statement was submitted in testimony Congress, the National Agricultural Library, and the Na­ to Congress. It set out the need for high-capacity network tional Library of Medicine. Yet the full contribution librar­ connection with all 5 1 states, education and training funds, ies could make to the new alliance was not exploited. and direct connections to NREN for at least 200 key li­ braries, the 51 state library agencies, libraries in geo­ Roles were perceived for some—mainly the major re­ graphic areas with a scarcity of NREN connections, and search libraries. But many librarians feared that as these libraries with specialized or unique resources of national academic libraries migrated to join NREN, their ability to and international significance, as well as dial access for talk electronically to other libraries would be jeopardized. multitype libraries within each state, and connections for This would be totally at odds with the goals of every major the 51 regional depository libraries. Federal funding was national legislative vehicle for library support. What a waste put forth as essential to participation. ALA translated its it would be if the government did not build on existing testimony into legislative language and submitted it for federal investments in shared library and information re­ consideration. Reaction was positive, although libraries did sources and the dissemination of government information. not get everything requested. But at least at this point Although the initial bill died when Congress adjourned there is congressional interest and recognition that achiev­ in October 1990, a revamped edition was introduced in ing NREN's potential will require a broader role for librar­ January of this year by Senator Albert Gore (D-TN) and ies. Actions may be needed in addition to the basic NREN Representative George Brown (D-CA). The proposed fund­ bill. Separate legislation for library funding for NREN par­ ing timetable, extending from 1991 to 1995, called for ticipation may be proposed or written into legislation which authorization to NASA of $338 million for the national high- addresses library networking and resource sharing, such performance computing plan to be brought together by as the HEA and the LSCA. And w e have champions in Con­ the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, gress. Albert Gore has reminded his colleagues that if NREN and Technology (FCCSET). Additional authorization to the is a multitype network, "electronic text systems no w being National Science Foundation (NSF) was set at $195 million developed by librarians could be used by students and to establish the network, $64 million for basic research educators throughout the country in underfunded urban and education, and the remaining $391 million for service schools and in isolated rural school districts, where good initiation. The average annual cost was projected at $328 libraries are few and far between." Someone has finally million, modest compared to the annual federal research been listening. and development expenditure of $70 billion, but substan­ tial enough to show just how serious the Administration According to congressional staff, NREN legislation is on and the Congress are about NREN. Displeased by the nar­ the fast track for adoption in this Congress. We mustn't ro w input to policy formulation which would come from lose out on this one. Too much is at stake for the future FCCSET and the inadequacies of the legislation, the Part­ of libraries and the citizens of the nation. Keep posted on nership for the National Research and Education Network, NREN's progress and keep your legislators posted on what a 19-member group that includes education, library, and libraries want and can deliver or NREN may not be a part computing organizations and associations, was established. of their future in these tight fiscal times. Volume 5, Number 1 The Bottom One 5 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances Emerald Publishing

NREN'S FUTURE A ROLE FOR LIBRARIES

The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances , Volume 5 (1): 1 – Jan 1, 1992

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Emerald Publishing
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Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0888-045X
DOI
10.1108/eb025313
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Abstract

EDITORIAL BETTY TUROCK NREN'S FUTURE: A ROLE FOR LIBRARIES? In 1990, when the bill was introduced in Congress to The members asked Congress for authorizing legislation so create the National Research and Education Network that: (NREN), a proposed high-capacity electronic highway of • the recognition of education in its broadest sense as a interconnected networks, linkages for all kinds of libraries reason for the development of NREN; were missing. This was hard to understand, since the li­ • all kinds of libraries would be eligible to join NREN as brary community has been assisted and encouraged in its resource providers and as access points for users; networking efforts by the federal government since 1960. • a voice for all involved constituencies, including librar­ Each year the feds give money for programs that pro­ ies, be provided in the development of network policy mote and support interlibrary cooperation, including re­ and technical standards. source sharing and library applications of ne w technology. The amount is in the neighborhood of $200 million through The American Library Association, one of the 19 part­ the Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA); th e Higher ners, developed a position statement in consultation with Education Act (HEA), Title II; the Depository Library Pro­ Legislation Committee Chair E.J. Josey and President Rich­ gram; the library postal rate; and the Medical Library As­ ard Dougherty, who made NREN funding one of the prior­ sistance Act for the three national libraries—the Library of ities for his term. ALA's statement was submitted in testimony Congress, the National Agricultural Library, and the Na­ to Congress. It set out the need for high-capacity network tional Library of Medicine. Yet the full contribution librar­ connection with all 5 1 states, education and training funds, ies could make to the new alliance was not exploited. and direct connections to NREN for at least 200 key li­ braries, the 51 state library agencies, libraries in geo­ Roles were perceived for some—mainly the major re­ graphic areas with a scarcity of NREN connections, and search libraries. But many librarians feared that as these libraries with specialized or unique resources of national academic libraries migrated to join NREN, their ability to and international significance, as well as dial access for talk electronically to other libraries would be jeopardized. multitype libraries within each state, and connections for This would be totally at odds with the goals of every major the 51 regional depository libraries. Federal funding was national legislative vehicle for library support. What a waste put forth as essential to participation. ALA translated its it would be if the government did not build on existing testimony into legislative language and submitted it for federal investments in shared library and information re­ consideration. Reaction was positive, although libraries did sources and the dissemination of government information. not get everything requested. But at least at this point Although the initial bill died when Congress adjourned there is congressional interest and recognition that achiev­ in October 1990, a revamped edition was introduced in ing NREN's potential will require a broader role for librar­ January of this year by Senator Albert Gore (D-TN) and ies. Actions may be needed in addition to the basic NREN Representative George Brown (D-CA). The proposed fund­ bill. Separate legislation for library funding for NREN par­ ing timetable, extending from 1991 to 1995, called for ticipation may be proposed or written into legislation which authorization to NASA of $338 million for the national high- addresses library networking and resource sharing, such performance computing plan to be brought together by as the HEA and the LSCA. And w e have champions in Con­ the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, gress. Albert Gore has reminded his colleagues that if NREN and Technology (FCCSET). Additional authorization to the is a multitype network, "electronic text systems no w being National Science Foundation (NSF) was set at $195 million developed by librarians could be used by students and to establish the network, $64 million for basic research educators throughout the country in underfunded urban and education, and the remaining $391 million for service schools and in isolated rural school districts, where good initiation. The average annual cost was projected at $328 libraries are few and far between." Someone has finally million, modest compared to the annual federal research been listening. and development expenditure of $70 billion, but substan­ tial enough to show just how serious the Administration According to congressional staff, NREN legislation is on and the Congress are about NREN. Displeased by the nar­ the fast track for adoption in this Congress. We mustn't ro w input to policy formulation which would come from lose out on this one. Too much is at stake for the future FCCSET and the inadequacies of the legislation, the Part­ of libraries and the citizens of the nation. Keep posted on nership for the National Research and Education Network, NREN's progress and keep your legislators posted on what a 19-member group that includes education, library, and libraries want and can deliver or NREN may not be a part computing organizations and associations, was established. of their future in these tight fiscal times. Volume 5, Number 1 The Bottom One 5

Journal

The Bottom Line: Managing Library FinancesEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 1, 1992

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