With the impending retirement of the longtime Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, there is an opportunity for a fundamental reconsideration of the function and operation of the Library of Congress. In particular, the time may be ripe for a massive expansion of the Library’s digitized holdings, enabling universal public access to its historic and cultural riches.
Phi Beta Iota: The Librarian is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. This is an opportunity for a transpartisan appointment, someone who can not only take the Library into the digital age as suggested by the Federation of American Scientists, but also someone who could build the Open Source Agency as previously approved, twice, by the Office of Management and Budget. The USA is long over-due for a shift from strategy, policy, and acquisition based on ideological, religious, and financial corruption, to acting in the public interest on the basis of ethical evidence-based decision-support. Since it is clear that the US secret intelligence community intends to remain a secret pork pie until a future president tears down that mind-set, the appointment of the next Librarian is a major opportunity toward creating a Smart Nation. Highly unlikely to be acted upon with wisdom, but an opportunity none the less, now.