[atug] More information on the under-funding of the Library of
Congress Talking Book program
petri.1 at osu.edu
Fri Jun 8 16:43:23 EDT 2007
Below is a copy of a letter from Jesse Hartle, Government Program
Specialist for the National Federation of the Blind. This is preceded
by contact information for the four Ohio members on the House
Next month, House Appropriations will be reviewing the funding
recommendation by the House Legislative Branch Subcommittee. The
Subcommittee's recommendation seriously under-funds a needed upgrade
to the Library of Congress's Talking Book program and puts constraints
on future funding for the program.
Please consider calling your congress members to support fully funding
the Talking Book program.
The House Appropriations Committee members from Ohio are:
* Democrat Representative Marcy Kaptur, 202-225-4146
* Democrat Representative Tim Ryan, 202-225-5261
* Republican Representative David L. Hobson, 202-225-4324
* Republican Representative Ralph Regula, 202-225-3876
For more information, here is Hartle's letter:
Urgent action is needed to respond to the House's Legislative Branch
Subcommittee's proposed appropriations bill relating to the fiscal
year 2008 budget request of the Library of Congress.
As you all know the National Library Service for the Blind and
Physically Handicapped (NLS) has been working on a plan to convert the
Talking Books program to a digital format. The cost of this needed
transition from analog cassette to digital technology is $76.4 million
over a four-year period ($19.1 million for each of the next four
The House Legislative Branch Subcommittee has only included $7.5
million for this project in the bill, which passed the subcommittee
yesterday. The subcommittee also voted against an amendment raised by
Congressman Ray LaHood of Illinois that sought to include full funding
for the NLS upgrade.
Not only is this amount just a third of what was requested by the
Library of Congress, but the subcommittee further gave the Librarian
of Congress the power to transfer all or part of the funds from the
Books for the Blind program to other upgrades for the Library.
Essentially, if the Librarian of Congress chooses to transfer funds
from the $7.5 million allotted for the digital conversion program, the
Talking Books program will be killed due to a lack of equipment to
repair broken tape players and the simple fact that all aspects of
cassette technology will become obsolete in the next four years.
The Legislative Branch Appropriations bill will now be presented to
the full Committee on Appropriations on Tuesday, July 12. It is
imperative that we flood the offices of Committee members and the
office of Subcommittee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz before July 12th
to urge them to include the full funding for the digital upgrade and
to protect these funds from being shifted within the Library of
Congress to meet other needs.
The Talking Books program is the largest and most essential available
source of information for blind people as a whole, and we need to
protect this information source with our greatest effort.
Included below is a list of the members on the Appropriations
Committee and their office numbers. Please contact their offices, and
let them know how important the Talking Books program is to the blind.
I will update you with further information on this initiative, but
your calls should start immediately.
Thanks in advance for all of your hard work.
Government Program Specialist
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 659-9314, ext. 2233
jhartle at nfb.org
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