Budget cuts, both domestic and governmental, manage to touch every part of our lives at one time or another. Recently, the United States government shut down all non-critical services due to the inability to settle on a budget. No real surprise there, as they haven’t been able to agree on anything since, well, ever. Interestingly, this article from earlier in the year in The New York Times, “As Works Flood In, Nation’s Library Treads Water,” discusses challenges from the federal cuts for the current fiscal year.

The Library of Congress — founded in 1800, burned by the British in 1814 and replaced by Thomas Jefferson’s personal library — is home to an unrivaled history of the nation’s wars, presidencies, culture, and place in the world. Of the $85 billion in federal cuts for the current fiscal year, known as sequestration, half will come from military spending, and half from domestic programs like health care, research, education, and the library.

Their digitization process has been drastically affected and could take years to regain momentum. Granted, this isn’t as severe as healthcare services or sanitation services being cut, but it has a longer term effect than the garbage not being picked up. It affects research and education, which directly and indirectly shape our civilization’s future.

Melody K. Smith

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