NEWS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
Issue 99, SEPTEMBER 2003

Table of Contents

  1. Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 Anniversary
  2. HRSA Issues New Statistical Guide to Women's Health
  3. ACLU sues Justice, FBI Over Broader Surveillance Powers
  4. Library, Bookseller, and Personal Records Privacy Act Introduced
  5. Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act
  6. USA Services
  7. Congressional Report Causes Controversy About September 11
  8. Good Enough for Government Work
  9. Re-Examining the Services GPO Provides to the Public
  10. Rethinking the Federal Depository Library Program
  11. Library of Congress Is Bursting at Seams
  12. GPO and National Archives Unite In Support of Permanent Online Public Access
  13. 8.6 Million People in U.S. Suffer from Smoking-Caused Disease
  14. Documents Librarians ... the Most Service-Minded People in the Profession
  15. FBI Not Interested in America's Reading Habits
  16. GPO Closing Up Brick and Mortar Bookstores


(1) Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 Anniversary

Americans won their first federal minimum wage when President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. On June 25, the 65th anniversary of that historic Act, the Ms. Foundation for Women launched the interactive Minimum Wage Challenge, illustrating its belief that the minimum wage should be raised in the United States. For additional online articles about the minimum wage, see Raise the Floor.

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(2) HRSA Issues New Statistical Guide to Women's Health

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released on July 16th Women’s Health USA 2003, an updated statistical look at the health of America’s women that highlights the impact on women of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, asthma and obesity.

“When you look at the statistics in this report, it is clear that women suffer from many chronic, preventable diseases and conditions, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. “Women can take simple steps, such as getting regular physical activity, eating a nutritious diet and quitting smoking, that can make a tremendous difference in their lives.”

Women’s Health USA 2003 includes the most recent federal data on health and health-related indicators from HHS and several other federal departments and agencies. The report, updated from the first edition issued last year, looks at population characteristics, health status and health services utilization. In addition, this year’s edition has a new section on special populations that looks at women’s health along the U.S.-Mexico border, in rural and urban areas, and among immigrant, incarcerated and older women.

The report also tracks preventive health measures in HRSA-supported community and migrant health centers. The report finds that women who receive care at these centers have slightly higher rates for Pap smears and mammograms than do women in the general population.

The data book highlights gender disparities, with comparisons of men and women on 26 health indicators and behaviors, including physical activity, smoking and asthma. In 2001, for example, women had higher rates of asthma than men, with the disparity most pronounced among women ages 64 and younger, who experienced asthma at about twice the rate of men the same age.

“Women make up about almost 60 percent of patients at HRSA-supported health centers,” said HRSA Administrator Elizabeth M. Duke. “At those centers and at HRSA-supported maternal and child health clinics across America, our clinicians help women patients understand what they need to do to maintain good health and keep chronic health problems from getting worse.”

Women’s Health USA 2003 also looks at racial and ethnic disparities among women for 29 topics. In 2001, for example, non-Hispanic black women were more likely than women of other racial and ethnic groups to have diabetes. The rate of diagnosis among non-Hispanic black women (102.5 per 1,000) was nearly twice the rate for non-Hispanic white women (55.7 per 1,000), and 1.5 times the rate for Hispanic women (68.9 per 1,000).

Source: HRSA News, July 16, 2003.

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(3) ACLU Sues Justice, FBI Over Broader Surveillance Powers

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the Justice Department and FBI over a provision of a 2001 anti-terrorism law that gives law enforcement easier access to a range of business records, including those of libraries, bookstores, and hospitals.

In press conferences in Detroit joined by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., ACLU officials released the complaint against the landmark law known as the USA PATRIOT Act. Because the section in question expanded the scope of business records accessible by police and loosened the standards for them to obtain them, the ACLU argues that the law violates the Constitution's bar on unreasonable searches and seizures.

"Ordinary Americans should not have to worry that the FBI is rifling through their medical records, seizing their personal papers, or forcing charities and advocacy groups to divulge membership lists," Ann Beeson, associate legal director of the ACLU, said in a statement.

For the full story by Drew Clark, National Journal's Technology Daily, appearing in GovExec.Com Today, July 31, 2003, see http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0703/073003td1.htm.

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(4) Library, Bookseller, and Personal Records Privacy Act Introduced

On July 31, 2003, Senator Feingold (D-WI), joined by Senators Bingaman (D-NM), Kennedy (D-MA), Cantwell (D-WA), Durbin (D-IL), Wyden (D-OR), Corzine (D-NJ), Akaka (D-HI), and Jeffords (I-VT), introduced the Library, Bookseller, and Personal Records Privacy Act. The bill would amend the PATRIOT Act to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans and set reasonable limits on the federal government's access to library, bookseller, medical, and other sensitive, personal information under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and related foreign intelligence authority.

In his statement, Senator Feingold noted that "there is no question that the FBI needs ample resources and legal authority to prevent future acts of terrorism. But the Patriot Act went too far.... It is time to reconsider those provisions of the Patriot Act that are un-American and, frankly, un-patriotic. .... Section 215 of the Patriot Act goes too far. Americans rightfully have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their library, bookstore, medical, financial, or other records containing personal information. Prudent safeguards are needed to protect these legitimate privacy interests."

Section 1 of The Library, Bookseller, and Personal Records Privacy Act would restore a pre-PATRIOT Act requirement that the FBI make a factual, individualized showing that the records sought pertain to a suspected terrorist or spy. Under this bill, the FBI would have to articulate specific facts giving reason to believe that the named person to whom the records pertain is a suspected terrorist. The FBI could subpoena only those library records - such as borrowing records or computer sign-in logs -- that pertain to the suspected terrorist. The FBI could not obtain library records concerning individuals who are not suspected terrorists.

Senator Feingold stated, "So, under my bill, the FBI can still obtain documents that it legitimately needs, but my bill would also protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans. I might add ... that if, as the Justice Department says, the FBI is using its Patriot Act powers in a responsible manner, does not seek the records of law-abiding Americans, and only seeks the records of suspected terrorists or suspected spies, then there is no reason for the Department to object to my bill."

The second part of the bill would address privacy concerns with another federal law enforcement power expanded by the Patriot Act - the FBI's National Security Letter authority, or what is sometimes referred to as "administrative subpoena" authority because the FBI does not need court approval to use this power. The bill would amend section 505 of the PATRIOT Act. Part of Section 505 relates to the production of records maintained by electronic communications providers. Libraries or bookstores with Internet access for customers could be deemed "electronic communication providers" and therefore be subject to a request by the FBI under its administrative subpoena authority.

As with the fix for Section 215, the bill would require an individualized showing by the FBI of how the records of Internet usage (including e-mail) maintained by a library or bookseller pertain to a suspected terrorist or spy.

Source: ALAWON: American Library Association Washington Office Newsline, Volume 12, Number 70, July 31, 2003.

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(5) Senators Murkowski and Wyden Introduce
Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act

Late on July 31, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), introduced the "Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act." This bill contains many provisions that will help to restore some protections of civil liberties weakened by the USA PATRIOT Act. Several provisions are of particular interest to the library community.

Source: ALAWON: American Library Association Washington Office Newsline, Volume 12, Number 71, August 1, 2003.

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(6) USA Services

USA Services, the project unveiled late last month to provide comprehensive information for citizens on government services, is running smoothly, its operators say. But Government Executive encountered a few glitches in a recent tryout of the system.

Teresa Nasif, director of the General Services Administration’s Federal Consumer Information Center, said that so far, USA Services has been sticking to its goal of providing answers to questions from citizens within two days, as advertised at a launch event on July 30.

USA Services, one of 24 e-government projects under the president’s management agenda, consolidates existing information sources, including FirstGov and GSA’s National Contact Center, under one roof. The initiative, which is administered by GSA’s Office of Citizen Services, provides the public with quick answers to queries on topics ranging from federal benefits to national campground fees, by calling 800-FED-INFO, or submitting e-mail inquiries at the FirstGov Web site.

For the full article by Amelia Gruler, GovExec.com Today, August 18, 2003, see http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0803/081503a1.htm.

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(7) Congressional Report Causes Controversy About September 11

Families of passengers who rebelled against hijackers aboard United Airlines Flight 93 said Friday the FBI theory that the terrorists deliberately crashed the plane into a Pennsylvania field was based on "limited and questionable interpretations" of the cockpit recording.

The theory - described by FBI Director Robert Mueller and disclosed deep within a congressional report on the Sept. 11 attacks - suggests insurgent passengers may not have successfully fought their way into the cockpit and grappled to seize the plane's controls, as has been popularly perceived.

"Without a doubt, the passengers breached the cockpit," said Randall Greene of New York, whose brother Donald, a pilot of smaller aircraft, was onboard. "I'm surprised by the theory attributed to the FBI director that the passengers did not take control of the aircraft."

The full report of the "Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks on September 1, 2001", S. Rept. No. 107-351 and H. Rept. No. 107-792, dated December 2002, is available on the Internet at http://datacenter.ap.org/wdc/911report.pdf.

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(8) Good Enough for Government Work

Susan Xue from the University of Colorado provided the following report on the ALA pre-conference she attended in Toronto, called “Good Enough for Government Work” and which looked at digitization projects in government depository libraries.

Stanford University is focusing its digitizing efforts on GATT documents. Northwestern University Library's digital collection "League of Nations Statistical and Disarmament Documents" now contains the full text of 260 League of Nations documents. The University of North Texas had a cooperative effort involving the Archives, Special Collections and Documents depts.

Before you start a digital project, consider the following points:

  • Selection is primary - selection, selection, selection
  • Make sure your project will be useful.
  • Look for partnerships and cooperation
  • Pay attention to the workflow - scan and input the metadata at the same time
  • Get a good grant

    Source: Sharon Partridge, GoPIG Minutes, July 25, 2003.

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    (9) Re-Examining the Services GPO Provides to the Public

    Together we must re-examine the services that GPO provides to the public directly and through the depository libraries. We must define the services that are required now and in the future to support the mission. We must address the fundamental question that we have been asking each other since 1995: Why be a depository library when you can obtain "everything" (or virtually everything) free on the Internet without being part of the program?....

    We must identify services that are of value to you as library directors. I know that you are challenged daily to accomplish more with fewer resources. The depository libraries represented in this room invest far more resources in the Federal Depository Library Program than GPO does--some past estimates suggest that each of your libraries spends $10 for each $1 worth of publications you receive, and that may be conservative. We must find a way to rebalance the scales so that libraries are willing to continue to expend resources on public access to government information.

    Excerpts from remarks of Judith Russell, Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, at the ARL Membership Meeting, May 15, 2003. The full text of her remarks are available on the ARL Web site http://www.arl.org/arl/proceedings/142/russell.html.

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    (10) Rethinking the Federal Depository Library Program

    At a Depository Library Council meeting in early April, Bruce James, the new Public Printer and Judith Russell, the new Superintendent of Documents facilitated a discussion with members of the library community concerning future directions for the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). In his remarks, the Public Printer noted a number of trends that are influencing the FDLP and its future. For example:

    A supporter of the FDLP, the Public Printer, in a nutshell declared that the "FDLP will fall under its own weight unless it is reconfigured substantially." Although some members of the library community have been strong advocates for changes to the FDLP for quite some time, this is the first time that GPO leaders have signaled the need for change.

    Both James and Russell repeatedly stressed the need to:

    Importantly, Russell is engaged in discussions with ARL, the American Association of Law Libraries, and the Medical Library Association as to how best to meet the diverse needs of different library types. For example, are there specific needs or different approaches that could be undertaken within the research library community or within the law library community to better meet the needs of those participating libraries? Appropriately, there is a great deal of concern with the declining participation in the FDLP. In 1955, there were 563 participating libraries. This number jumped to 1,405 in 1992 when print resources were at an all-time high. In 2002, there were 1,297 Federal depository libraries with a number of additional institutions indicating an interest in dropping out of the program.

    Source: Prudence S. Adler, ARL Associate Executive Director, Federal Relations and Information Policy, ARL Bimonthly Report 229, August 2003.

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    (11) Library of Congress Is Bursting at Seams

    "If the Smithsonian Institution is America's attic, then the Library of Congress is the basement. And like so many other cellars around the country, there's stuff everywhere. Libarians must maneuver around books stacked on the floor because there's no room on shelves. The space problem began 200 years ago and has only worsened as the library accumulated 127 million items, with 10,000 more coming in every working day. Most of the books are in the Madison Building, which is among Washington's biggest but can't come close to meeting the needs of the world's largest library collection...

    "People think that everything goes on to the Internet these days, but the amount of print material is increasing by 7 percent a year," Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said. The article mentions LC storage facilities in Ft. Meade, MD. and Culpepper, VA.

    For the full article by Cart Hartman, Associated Press Writer, August 30, 2003 via Durham (N.C.) Herald-SUn, see Library of Congress Is Bursting at Seams. Related articles include: Learn More About the Ft. Meade Storage Facility and A Report About the Cataloging Arrearage at LC. Courtesy of Gary Price, ResourceShelf, August 30, 2003.

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    (12) GPO & National Archives Unite
    In Support of Permanent Online Public Access

    The Government Printing Office and the National Archives and Records Administration announced an agreement August 12 to cooperate in the preservation of electronic government information. Under the deal, GPO will retain physical custody and be responsible for preservation of the more than 250,000 federal documents to which it provides free online access on its website GPO Access. The archives agency will keep legal custody of the records to ensure their future availability.

    The new agreement permits the two agencies to work collaboratively to avoid duplicative efforts, explained Superintendent of Documents Judy Russell. Under the arrangement, NARA recognizes that GPO’s preservation activity is sufficient to fulfill NARA’s responsibility as legal custodian of the documents to ensure their preservation under the Federal Records Act. GPO will provide for the permanent preservation of a complete set of the records, maintaining them under preservation conditions that meet NARA standards. GPO continues to maintain its public-access responsibility for the documents under Title 44 of the U.S. Code.

    Under the records act, GPO currently transfers legal custody and the preservation copies of print and microfiche publications to NARA. In contrast, under this new agreement, GPO will retain both the access and preservation copies for electronic documents, although legal custody is still transferred to NARA.

    Source: American Libraries Online, August 18, 2003.

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    (13) 8.6 Million People in U.S. Suffer from Smoking-Caused Disease

    A new study released today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at least 8.6 million people in the United States currently suffer from serious illnesses attributable to smoking. For each of the approximately 440,000 persons in the U.S. who die each year of a smoking-attributable illness, another 20 people suffer from at least one serious smoking-caused illness, according to the CDC. We have long known that tobacco use is the nation's leading preventable cause of death. Today's study provides the first national estimate of the number of persons who live with serious chronic illnesses caused by smoking, and it shows that the toll of tobacco is even more devastating than previously thought.

    (The new CDC study, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5235a4.htm. The study was conducted by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Research Triangle Institute and CDC.

    "The new study also reiterated the CDC's previous findings that approximately 440,000 persons die in the U.S. each year of a cigarette smoking-attributable illness, resulting in 5.6 million years of potential life lost, $75 billion in direct medical costs and $82 billion in lost productivity." At the request of U.S. Rep. Richard Burr (R-NC), the General Accounting Office recently reviewed these CDC estimates and concluded that they were 'reasonable.' The GAO's July 16, 2003 report is available at http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/pressoffice/gao.pdf.

    Source: Yahoo News U.S. Newswire, Sept. 4, 2003.

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    (14) Documents Librarians ...
    the Most Service-Minded People in the Profession

    Documents librarians may well be the most service-minded people in the profession. The range of questions and questioners these librarians deal with indicate that every inquiry, even if it seems trivial, is legit. For instance, Malone recalls helping a patron identify a pan he bought for 25¢ at a yard sale, from a patent number. Being part of a university library doesn't restrict the kinds of service these librarians offer or the people they serve.

    That service attitude stems from depository librarians' awareness of the unique challenges their libraries present to hapless users. It is not that their systems lack a formal logic; it is that an excess of formal logic prevails. This overabundance of classification schemes and separate collections can help information disappear.

    The SuDocs classification scheme is hard enough for most people to master, but it is trickier when coupled with the Swank system for state documents, separate microfiche and map collections, and foreign and international document collections classed in Dewey or the Library of Congress.

    There are also databases on CD-ROM and the Internet that hold plenty of answers, but only if you can figure out how to use their wildly varying interfaces and search engines. Then there are the "fugitive publications," published by government agencies but not distributed to depository libraries, and web-based documents that may be deleted or moved to new addresses without notice (nine of the web documents in the April Marcive tapes already have dead URLs).

    Daunting, isn't it? That's why, as one of the librarians says modestly, "We try to be tenacious."

    Excerpt from "A Day in the Life: Dealing with Digital" by Marylaine Block, Library Journal, July 15, 2003 http://libraryjournal.reviewsnews.com/index.asp?layout=
    article&articleid=CA307058&publication=libraryjournal.com
    .

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    (15) FBI Not Interested in America's Reading Habits

    In a recent speech in Washington, D.C., Attorney General Ashcroft attempted to clarify that the Department of Justice and the FBI have no interest in America's reading habits. In his words, "Unfortunately, at this moment, Washington is involved in a debate where hysteria threatens to obscure the most important issues.

    If you were to listen to some in Washington, you might believe the hysteria behind this claim: "Your local library has been surrounded by the FBI." Agents are working round-the-clock. Like the X-Files, they are dressed in raincoats, dark suits, and sporting sunglasses. They stop patrons and librarians and interrogate everyone like Joe Friday. In a dull monotone they ask every person exiting the library, "Why were you at the library? What were you reading? Did you see anything suspicious?"

    According to these breathless reports and baseless hysteria, some have convinced the American Library Association that under the bipartisan Patriot Act, the FBI is not fighting terrorism. Instead, agents are checking how far you have gotten on the latest Tom Clancy novel.

    Now you may have thought with all this hysteria and hyperbole, something had to be wrong. Do we at the Justice Department really care what you are reading? No.

    The law enforcement community has no interest in your reading habits. Tracking reading habits would betray our high regard for the First Amendment. And even if someone in the government wanted to do so, it would represent an impossible workload and a waste of law enforcement resources.

    The fact is that our laws are very particular and very demanding. There are strict legal requirements. A federal judge must first determine that there is an existing investigation of an international terrorist or spy, or a foreign intelligence investigation into a non-U.S. person, and that the business records being sought are relevant to that investigation. Without meeting these legal requirements, obtaining business records, including library records, is not even an option.

    With only 11,000 FBI agents in the entire country, it is simply ridiculous to think we could or would track what citizens are reading. I am not in a position to know, but according to the American Library Association there are more than 117,400 libraries in the United States. The American Library Association tells me that Americans visit our nation's libraries more than one billion times a year-1,146,284,000, to be exact. While there, they check out nearly two billion books a year-1,713,967,000, to be precise.

    The hysteria is ridiculous. Our job is not.

    For the complete speech about the Department of Justice's success in fighting crime and terrorism, see "The Proven Tactics in the Fight against Crime", Prepared Remarks of Attorney General John Ashcroft for the National Restaurant Association, Washington, D.C., September 15, 2003, temporarily available at http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/speeches/2003/091503nationalrestaurant.htm.

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    (16) GPO Closing Up Brick and Mortar Bookstores

    The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) will close all of its brick-and-mortar bookstore operations outside Washington by Sept. 30 in an ongoing effort to put all of its quarter of million titles online.

    The closings mark the latest in a series of developments marking the GPO's transformation into a primarily electronic information disseminating agency. In addition to providing online access to government information via GPO Access, the GPO is actively transitioning its Federal Depository Library Program, serving 1,200 libraries nationwide, to a predominately electronic basis.

    The GPO also offers an online bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov. The online bookstore's sales catalog includes all titles available for sale and can be searched by publication title, subject, or keywords.

    "The GPO is remaking itself as an agency committed to using new technologies to meet the information demands of the 21st century," said Public Printer of the U.S. Bruce R. James. "In the past our bookstores provided a great service, but the business of government information production and delivery is changing, and we are not only changing with it, we will help lead that change."

    The GPO plans to close bookstores in Kansas City; Portland, Ore.; Seattle, New York; Los Angeles; Denver; Pueblo, Colo.; Detroit, Milwaukee; Atlanta; Jacksonville, Fla.; Pittsburgh; and Houston. The GPO previously closed bookstores in San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Birmingham, Cleveland, and Columbus.

    The GPO is responsible for the production and distribution of information products and services for all three branches of the federal government. In addition to its own production facilities, the GPO works with private sector vendors across the country to produce print and other information products for the federal government ranging from Supreme Court decisions to IRS tax forms and crop reports for the Department of Agriculture.

    Source: Roy Mark, Internet News, June 16, 2003.

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