Librarian of Congress Exits

Late last week, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington made a surprise announcement that he intended to resign his post effective September 30 rather than at the end of the year, as he had declared in June.   Dr. Billington, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, was the 13th head of the agency since its establishment in 1800 and he served in his post for 28 years.

Dr. Billington’s retirement has stirred several Members of Congress to take a closer look at the Library of Congress.  For example, some have suggested pulling the U.S. Copyright Office out of the Library and making the director of that new agency a position appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, rather than one that is simply chosen by the Librarian of Congress.  In addition, Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have filed legislation that would limit the term of a Librarian of Congress to 10 years, rather than the current life-appointment. 

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: October 2, 2015

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