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tv   Public Affairs Events  CSPAN  November 21, 2018 6:16pm-7:15pm EST

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coming up thanksgiving weekend on the c-span networks, justicen, supreme court elena kagan followed by chief justice john roberts ready at 8 p.m. eastern. former new jersey governor christie discuss the opioid epidemic. saturday at 8 p.m. eastern, photojournalist talk about their favorite photographs taken on the campaign trail. and sunday, gun laws and self-defense. on c-span two, retired general stanley mcchrystal talked about 13 great leaders. then, political writer derek hunter. saturday, pollutes a prize-winning lindsay and aria addario talked about photos she has taken in the middle east. antonioday, jose vargas.
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on american artifacts, celebrating the first thing this thanksgiving at berkeley, virginia, near james town. at 6:30 p.m. on the presidency, reflections on former first lady barbara bush. saturday at 8 p.m. eastern, how the pilgrims became part of america's founding story. and sunday, constitutional about how the u.s. constitution defines impeachable offenses for the president. thanksgiving weekend on the c-span networks. >> james billington, the 13th librarian of congress has died. the family says the 89-year-old died from complications of pneumonia. 2015 after 28 years of heading the library of congress. his tenure at the
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library on an appearance on c-span in 2007. is it like to be the librarian of congress for 20 years this september. james: it is an extraordinary experience. you learn something new every day, and you meet someone new. and you have a universal collection with a broad outreach. it is a fascinating kind of encounter with the world of knowledge and the american people, a wide diversity of people . it is an enormous honor and
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privilege and can also be a lot of fun. headaches in a very large organization to be part of the government. in an academic institution. library, a regular americaencyclopedia for and the world, and also serving a congressional research staff. a is a fascinating job and lot of people have been here longer than i have. you learn something new every day and you tend to make friends and learn to appreciate all kinds of talents that goes into making and functioning of the great library. >> we have something we don't normally have, a live audience. say to them?u
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that your future will be here in the next 20 to 25 years. the future of librarians has never been greater or more important. it will be very challenging because we don't pay enough attention. we also don't really understand how they are functioning. they bring in new technologies, new sources of information. the library has thrown in computers, access to the internet. they haven't thrown away the books. this exploding world of digital information is piled on top of the increasing print universe.
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increasing audiovisual materials. and for the particular communities they serve, the congress and government, they had an increment of materials. we have materials that nobody else will have. every library has the same community that it serves. and by the explosion of digital material, you don't know what is good and what is that. needs an intermediary between the world of knowledge, books, and information exploding on the internet. filling the particular needs of those communities. i get that the variety of talents is needed in the library profession. institutionsost
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have not seen the computer world as a slow, but a potential friend and additive factor to the business of mediating knowledge and inspiring creativity. it is a question each community has come a whether it is a virtual community or other parts of the world, or specific community that has its own interest. economic, cultural. and the need for human intermediary between all of this andoding, confusing, dependable information we get, it needs to be inspired by the qualities of judgment. inspired by a quiet reading of books. >> you just came back from i think the 50th anniversary of your wedding.
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a trip around the world. it russia and china. how was the trip? what did you learn? we got back 10 days ago from a really extraordinarily interesting trip. we were in russia because the pilot program for our national digital library as we move from just doing american memory material, it is for educational purposes. it began with russia. we compared the american frontier and the russian frontier. that is very popular for schoolchildren in both countries. celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations with thrush. class, went to
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american cities last year with the same from the american song collection. our first ambassador is john quincy adams. including this new library that president clinton says he is going to build. andill be in st. petersburg it is a very ambitious project. i was asked to get a little advice -- give a little advice on that, which i did. 11,000k has more than leaders from the former soviet union for short but intense it stays in different communities. most of which are library centered, and we're celebrating there. anniversary at a
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beautiful old house. very interesting time there. china wit -- about made a comment 11,000 russians coming to this country. how does that work? james: it is modeled on the marshall plan. experience firsthand, abstract elixirs. see what it is like. visit people doing real things. the city council is operating and so forth. libraries and how the media functions. not a single one of those 11,000 have stated this country.
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thishing totally new with young post-soviet generation. it is extended to the ukraine, , anda, georgia, azerbaijan a couple of other countries in the former soviet union. it is a successful program and began but has a separate identity with that branch of government. is exciting to see these in people growing up after the communist regime and the soviet system in place. the come from political divisions of the russian federation. in people's homes. if it is a judge, they go to judges homes. then i stay very long and is only about 10 days because they are busy people.
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for the first time, you get the feeling that something is happening in russia. the public communication and information is opening up the country. that is why it is called the world program. , we have asame time lot of knowledge-based people here. admire is things they the access to knowledge. not just through media, both libraries. russia has a pretty good library system. but access to important materials was only the purpose of the power rather than an entitlement of the people. but they think that is just as important as the division of power and having political choice in elections.
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librarians understand, appreciate, and exemplify. but those that disagree with each other, people that argue they sitanother, peacefully next to one another. is something that is exciting and important. and is important for the development. sense of democracy and a lived experience rather than just another theory. >> you talked about studying russia, and where do you think russia is today? are you surprised? james: the glass is half full and half empty. you see a different country with all kinds of modern things that
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they did not have before. but in the last couple of years, you have seen the regression, contract mergers of journalists. human rights problems. time, there have been a lot of changes. problems, theyis run the risk of reversing. but there is a lot of positive change. there are enacted lost by a legislature rather than administrative decrees. so there has been some progress. , we sees new generation a lot of people. i think for the first time in their history, things are happening from the bottom up rather than just the top down.
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but this is negative, country we have seen, where we compare the role of law and the transcontinental railroads, discovery of natural resources and creating environmental problems. there are a lot of commonalities. and schoolchildren that use our issite a lot, it particularly k-12. although everybody can use it. not just the superpowers although there is one last, but there are two big frontier countries. they both had many common experiences. the mormons populating utah, the old believers moving out. they were in the wastelands of
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siberia. has inspired -- not just working with russia. the libraries we have been building to develop common themes to replicate our american memory experience. with just a simple explanation. the document so that the story of the american can be told. the primary documents can be used. device, ite teaching isn't just sharing information. maps, one-of-a-kind things from the national libraries. began with russia, and it extended more globally. >> that is what they are trying to determine because there is
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always a problem that there is going to be a kind of viking shrine to russian power. all of the hope and access to the world's knowledge as well? the russiansebate are having among themselves. i think it's encouraging that it's going to not be in moscow. and they seem to be very inclusive and bring a lot of things. they have very good national libraries. they have actually quite a good library system. they have those branches in every state of the union that have been active over there. this would be possible if it was more opened up that it ever has been before.
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>> will was the difference between what you saw in russia and china? on the one hand, we were very cordially treated. and they are very excited. they kept wanting us to make comments and make sure the english was right that this program. they really do want more cultural relations. shanghai about what the others have had. collaborated -- and working on collaborating. we still have to bring the memory of the world's different cultures to this younger generation worldwide.
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,ut living on the internet living on audiovisual images. but it doesn't get much real educational value and doesn't expand the appreciation of other cultures. but as you celebrate the cultures online, different cultures, there are many different and we have populations from all parts of the world. and so this was the future of cultural relations. and so i was discussing the possibilities of the chinese and the library of beijing.
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so those are the major things we were doing. it is true we just had our wedding anniversary, but this was a pretty busy working trip. [laughter] why do you, and advanced senior age, keep doing this? [laughter] job?o you keep doing this most people are retired and you have been plugging it out for 13 years past retirement. i in collaboration with others involved with a lot of things that you hope to bring to fruition. i don't want to stay on until people think, what is this guy doing with his drool bucket in the back of the room?
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but i have a wonderful and supportive wife. we just retook our wedding vows three nights ago. i do that. -- i don't know how many people do that. [applause] but i know it will be a logical time. just a fascinating job. i am basically a scholar at heart. i learn something new every day. i spent many lifetimes, and am not exhausted. but also without life without people, it is a wonderful staff we have. id whenever i go on a trip, enjoy the daughter working in
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west texas to build a new library there. fascinating thing that too many people take for granted. but then, the young russians come over and you have open access. it is a great honor and is also a wonderfully great experience. >> someone in the audience whispered in my ear that you were married to a former miss delaware. is that correct? james: she was the blossom princess. wanted to make sure -- miss billington is in the audience and would probably be embarrassed by that. james: i was finishing up my
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army tour in washington and she was secretary. my brothers and does nothing to fear but fear itself. >> go back to senator woodrow wilson. when was the first time someone suggested to you be the library of congress. james: it's like saying, how would you like to be in charge of st. peter's. that's what makes our country
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great. >> the library was established. i use the library of congress. and my kind of scholarship is library centered. you steal from that -- i read a number of languages. in threeuently languages. english is one. russian and french are languages i can read as well.
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i can make out german, italian, spanish, a few others. i remember very vividly that --ebody must've had inside they had been nominated for this position. music.p the they were a little perplexed by that. in my life, there were two universities where i talked. the library of congress
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for archives and other major resources here in washington. and working here for more than 50 or 60 years. the congress of the united states has been the single greatest thing. people come over from china and they no longer have an independent existence after the cultural revolution.
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they continue to do the job. they have to deal of it. and we enable them. it is a pretty big projects because we have the english language that has to be retranslated. a thousand hard copies made and distributed. you would think the media would be interested in telling them. the library has done a lot of don'tful things, but they -- people tend to take things for granted. burned.e library was
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in the exact same place, center ofbecame the christian participation. and we know what happened. the people are serviced. they get all the support that they need.
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every new settlement. and weiety of churches have andrew carnegie building all of these. it is just the classroom. unique.
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it is the joint committee on the library of congress. they helped created and helped sustain it. we have skilled intermediary. the queens branch, it is a wonderful job of me being able to get to the population. those communities that are coming into being, it is a study. are saying that we need an association, points of local information and distribution. cost $2.5 million.
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saved taxpayers $2.5 million. it's called the library. [laughter] and so this point of information, we are happy. a happy anniversary. amazing what we have here, but we tend to take so long to support things and take them for granted. need a kind of scholarship. it's very important. it we set of the center for scholars here at the library and we support everyone we can. library distribution, 22 million items. so we are very much into this. but the important point is that
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it won't always exist if we don't use it and we don't tell you it. there are digital things we're doing. people back into reading, exploring the inherent interactivity that the internet if he just uses it the way you use television, he's up around from one thing to another. but it is interactive like reading, unlike most television that tends to be extremely passive. you have to develop a train of to use the internet intelligently, just to move from one image to the other. it is a train of thought like a bumper car of emotion. but it can get you back into
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if you had human intermediaries. that is where librarians and teachers come in. predecessor, they say you can get all the information you want and you can get the future really up-to-date through electronic means. only imagined question and learning to accept the unwanted answer. intoou've got to get back developing the qualities of imagination that is internally generated and not defined by someone else's picture. that is the purchase -- the purpose of our digitization. it is not to duplicate what our
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television does. were justmovies players transpose, and they do something different. we were not doing enough that is different from the internet. minds, to have people put in primary documents on the internet. all free of charge, all easily accessible. civil war photographs, who is fighting who? who are the good guys? both thought they were good guys. which ones were the americans? they were both americans. and are asking questions,
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as they have a stake in finding answers, there are no stupid questions. there is just a failure to raise questions that will lead to somebody finding answers. rather than confront them with , they are notks interesting to anybody. they are spending more time watching television and even now on the internet come up before they even get to a classroom. you are not going to reason that way unless you can engage them in a somewhat alien world, these issues. and develop some potential for activity where someone can be
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curious to ask questions. to get every country, every major culture with primary documents of their story about who they are. we have this meeting in paris this fall. differentout 30 countries expressing interest in addition to the six national libraries. so we're hopeful that this can as an americant or library of congress project but a way of bringing together the scattered primary documents of culture that tend to be a different laces, one virtual story for each major culture that participated. >> amateur money does the taxpayers spend every year?
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>> about $600 million. people work here? james: about 4200. >> is the budget where you like it yakker do you have as much as you need? -- like it? do you have as much as you need? [laughter] been, on aress has bipartisan basis, very generous. you always need a little more , particularly if you have an ambitious agenda. there is always a danger that something like this takes many years to build. we have six overseas offices that gather in the states.
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they gather not only here, but another research libraries. cairo, islamabad, jakarta. nairobi. rio de janeiro. weces, by and large, where where folks can't get them otherwise. and nairobi does all of these. throughthat does a lot cairo, doing everything there. it is one of the largest arabic collections in the world.
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the library of congress, one of the divisions of the federal research produces the only piece of paper that is the 9/11 commission found that outlined a of people getting flight training, hijacking planes. that was not from any clandestine material, it was an open publication in the arab world. there are virtual secrets in the world, there are virtual things that can't be known. enough people asking questions and using libraries to find out. they do a significant amount of acquisitions. it is simply collecting and
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gathering things. active andme very then is an important source of knowledge and information. we can't do all of this. have a preservation, we program that has suffered a little bit in terms of -- we are grateful that congress has restored some of it not because of the program, but because of categorical decisions. these things decide this program. but digital preservation is terribly important because the website, the stuff that survives is not the violent .ideo games or other things a lot of junk lives on. it but important data sets that
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are accumulated by people that say they ought to subscribe to this, they will want it years from now. a lot of things vanish. it is very permanent. decoding this changes a lot. the stones they see in china, they have clay tablets from samaria. those things move on. animal skin is better than early modern paper. betterodern paper is than anything produced in 1850. it,here is anything left of
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it is in the state. the acquisition and preservation, making it thingsble, those are the that the library of congress has to do. i have to say that we're beautifully and consistently supported by the congress. realizeshink anybody and i don't think most people in the country realize that we serve everybody. as a result, you tend to be taken for granted like alexandria. dedicated bunch of people. we lost nearly one third of people from the peak years of 1979. 640, i believe, less people on board and we have 15 years ago before we even started our digital thing.
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we are essentially imposing and trying to integrate an entire digital universe on top of the world's biggest collection. 130 million analog items. at 2 million analog items every year. this is unique in the world. this great american icon, and in order to me, the scholar has been privileged to head up this institution. i hope that we are able to do all that is needed. because it is easy, institutions like this, the magazine subscription going for 100 100 lessu are just valuable to everybody.
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half is valuable. everybody that you see is very heavy on the front end. if you start discarding things that need to be physically preserved, we are trolling society. everybody things that can find virtually. but people realize they will last very long. if you're concerned about the future of america, the future of freedom, and freedom for improving ourselves and making , you've got to be concerned about these fundamental things. but it is not very glamorous. but it is terribly important for our children and grandchildren if they are going to have the same opportunities we did. >> we will pick somebody out in the middle of the country. they can be a student at a university or somebody
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interested in listening to you talk about the library of congress. what would you advise them if they wanted to become involved? where would you go besides the website? how many buildings are there in washington? mr. billington: we have three buildings. we have some interesting exhibits up. we can give you a tour. one of be inspired by the most beautiful interior spaces in america. center it will have a passageway into the library. we expect our visitors not just to use the library, but just to visit and see it will increase from 1.4 million to about 3.5 million a year. they will get a passport to knowledge and they will be able to see a lot of original documents.
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most of the papers of most papers of through from washington to coolidge. while for some -- they can see the first map of the new world we just got. it is 500 years old. use --st words of the to see the collections of john come tod james madison see the there is stress of the gettysburg address. we have the technology to see what your city looked like from an aerial photograph of the
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1870's. to see what was on your block. i mean, these are exciting experiences. and so, you can discover all of that. but then when you come to washington, particularly when we have this enhanced visitor's experience, they're going to get a passport to knowledge. the idea is bringing knowledge into life in this building. they're going to see the iconography of this building is amazing. i mean, you've got the picture in the ceiling of a young lincoln, leaning on a dynamo that was, i mean, this was the idea of what america's contribution to the world was going to be, as seen by the end of the 19th century. you'll see pictures of little cupids on the balustrades. and you say, is this an imitation -- things americans think they invented and don't know anything about. with the arms of these little cupids. you can see football and baseball as it was played in the
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1880's and 1890's, a very different game from the games that are played today. and we'll have we've got a new exhibition of the invention of the united states. most people the creativity of the united states began with the invention. nothing like this had ever been attempted before, the idea of a representative democracy on a continental scale, without a common religion or common oral history. we're the only world civilization created entirely in the age of print. we're going to celebrate that. we're going to see, and we're going to have a whole other exhibit. we're just bringing -- this is getting the music out to the people, bringing out the music that's already there, and some new collections. so, they will both get this little handheld guide will direct them to see original things. and at the same time, everything they see will be put on their personal website, which will be cued in from this little handheld guide. so, we're using new technology, but to acquaint people with old things, and to get people interested in the adventure of
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reading, and a little bit in the spirit of creativity, because they'll create their own menu, and they'll have it waiting for them when they get home on their own personal web site. so, they'll have an enhanced visitor experience. but before that, even, if they have a book they want, if they have a blind, older relative, they can get free through their local library from the library of congress, we distribute 23 million reading items to the blind and physically handicapped every year. blind people read much more than sighted people do. and they get their stuff through the local -- if you go to your local library, you get that. you could get involved in the veterans history project, the biggest oral history project in american history. we have a commission from the congress to interview every veteran of an american war that's still alive. and so, that takes a lot of volunteers, because we don't have much money for this. they can get -- i mean, it's a wonderful thing for kids to do, to find a veteran in their neighborhood or their family, and just get them to tell their
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story, just a little audio clip. it's not expensive, it's not complicated, it's not professional, but it's important. and it's going to make it possible to tell the history of wars in the future very differently from today. it's not just what generals said, or this person said, but it's how people experienced it. it's a wonderful project. so, lots of things people can do. and they get on our web site, that's all. we also have one at, which is sort of fun and games for kids, to teach searching as a scavenger hunt, and things like that. we do a few games like that. brian: i have here, it's kind of rough around the edges, but it's a library card from the library of congress. and i remember getting it several years ago, and it didn't cost me anything. does it cost anything now? mr. billington: no. brian: who can get a card like this? and what can they do with it? mr. billington: anybody over 18, and actually, we're in the process of lowering the age group, because kids are getting more and more precocious these days.
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so, people can use any of our 21 free reading rooms, listening rooms, reading rooms. it's all free. all you have to do is show up, get a picture taken, because it has to be a picture i.d. but you don't have to have certification from anybody. it's a free -- once you have that card, then you're free to use any of our reading rooms, some of them with, well, say, movies. i mean, you can't just sit there and watch movies all day. you have to have some reasonable request that makes -- but basically, these are all free and open. and then our web site, everything on our web site is free. basically, all our services are free. brian: is every book that's been written by an american in this library? mr. billington: well, i can't say every book, but more than anywhere else, yes. and we have, of course, basic copyright deposit, which only existed in the library from 1870. it's very interesting. copyright before that was in the executive and judicial branches, but very little was saved.
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congress decided in 1870, to put the copyright 1870, 1871 put it in the library in its library, the library of congress. and so, we've got two copies of everything copyrighted. not only books, but all kinds of anything that's copyrighted . documentary photographs. so, that's why our music collection is so enormous. i mean, we've got an enormous collection, by far the biggest movie collection in the world, more than 800,000 movie titles. people mostly talk about the reels. and we're getting a fantastic audiovisual conservation center that congress has authorized and helped set up. and we've got the biggest private donation ever made to the library, maybe to any federal institution. brian: who made it? mr. billington: packard humanities institute, david packard. brian: where is this located? mr. billington: this is in culpepper, virginia. that will also be a great place to visit, because of the entire audiovisual heritage. again, we don't keep absolutely everything. we keep usually for the life of
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the copyright, until it expires. in the copyright deposit, we have about 30 million items in copyright deposit. and by the way, every summer -- and this is another way you can get involved in the library of congress -- we bring in interns, and we get them to do inventory of what was, you know, what was copyrighted in 1883, maybe the first three months. give us a quick and dirty inventory of all this. now, last summer, just for instance we got about 50 of them this summer, and they're having a blast looking at this stuff. we always have a little show and tell at the end of the summer of what you've discovered. they've discovered cole porter's first musical, which he copyrighted while he was an undergraduate at yale. nobody's ever seen that score before. a few years ago zora neale hurston, the great writer of the harlem renaissance, did a wonderful mixed media piece called polk county. nobody had ever seen that before. well, we did a reading on stage.
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it was staged off broadway and has toured the country since. i mean, zora neale hurston is a major writer, american writer. and it was kind of mixed media. it was a wonderful thing. this is an enormous and creative country. the library of congress is basically two things in terms of its collections. it's the largest collection anywhere of the world's knowledge in 450, 460 languages. and it is the closest thing we have to a mint record of american creativity. not just books, but movies, music and so forth, areas in which america is creative. and we've only partially used this. and we have to preserve this, physically preserve this stuff . everything since 1850, 1860, practically. people don't realize that. they think, when you have a record, it's permanent. at the same time, the preservation thing is fascinating. conservation is one of the most fun, interesting things, and one
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of the most important. but for instance, the livermore labs at berkeley, we've been working with them. and now we have a technique for restoring old 78 records. even if they're cracked, you can restore the music. you can eliminate most of the static and restore the original by taking massive photographs of all the ridges, and so forth, around those records. then you can reconstitute the music. so, we're constantly doing these things. there's so much to do, so much to tell. and it's really the story of a creative people, who had a knowledge-based democracy, who founded the idea of self-government. and that's what this exhibit on the invention of america is going to show. we've got drafts of the articles of the confederation. we have all these documents. the last appeal of george iii to them. people were apparently afraid
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then that the french were going to take everything over. there was a sort of paranoid fear of the french. that's why we fought with the british against the french in what we used to call the french and indian war. so, but the point is, we have launched an enormously creative country. it's not just that we have freedom, but we've used it imaginatively, creatively. we've created a version of the american dream, which i like to say is that, whatever the problems of today, if we work hard and if we get more knowledge to more people to use in more ways, tomorrow can always be a little better than yesterday. we don't have a perfect system, but we have a system that is constantly capable of improvement. and that's itself an amazing invention for a country that is as wildly occupied and extended and diverse as the united states is. so, libraries, i think, are very much the heart of it. we talk about knowledge-based democracy.
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but they can't be taken for granted. and they have to be used, and they have to make themselves more usable. so, the longwinded answer to your question, when people come here, we want them to see that libraries as places are enjoyable, uplifting, are fun. that it isn't just the network out there, but that libraries as places can be uplifting and fun. and the iconography of the jefferson building, we're going to have a kind of way of showing that, spotlighting it, doing walk-throughs, having an experience that will take the vision of optimism and hope that was inspired to build this building. the first century of the library of congress was in the capitol building itself. it wasn't really that accessible, although it was always open to the public. but when they built this building, they built a temple of knowledge, really. and we're going to restore it to
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its original vision and make it fun. but at the same time, we're going to give people that little gizmo, which they may see as a gizmo. but the whole purpose of it is to get them prepared to see the originals, and then to go back and use the materials at their school, their library, or even in their home, that will get them on a life of inquiry. and the whole jeffersonian business about the universal dissemination of knowledge, i mean, this is the president, remember, who wanted to be remembered for founding a university, not for being president of the united states. well, we scholars shouldn't be too former scholars, the present government bureaucrats we shouldn't be too dismissive of high office. but the fact of the matter is that, this profession and these institutions are something that built america before it existed as a country, and that made it
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into a continental country, as tocqueville helps remind us, and that will sustain us into a globalized world. brian: i have one last question for you. and i don't ask this for you, i ask this for everybody watching that would love to have your job. [laughter] you want to tip us off? do you plan to retire at any point in this process? [laughter] mr. billington: i will retire, hopefully, and not be carted out. but i don't have immediate plans to do so. i think there's still -- [applause] brian: 20 years, september 17 this year? mr. billington: i think it was the 14th, if i remember correctly. brian: yes, but who's arguing? a couple of days, yes. mr. billington: roughly around there, yes. ia


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