[The library's] primary responsibility is to the needs of the Congress. . . . But there are two other invisible constituencies which it is the unique responsibility of the Library of Congress to serve. One is the community of all past Americans who have built our nation and enriched our culture. We are mandated by law to collect and preserve their work in countless ways. . . .

There is also the constituency of our children and our grandchildren. It is our responsibility, supported by congressional appropriations, to preserve the copious and comprehensive record of the American culture past and present, for Americans in future centuries. . . .

Our three constituencies, of the past, of the present and of the future, all make costly demands on us. The recent extreme and disastrous cuts in the budget of the Library of Congress have made the competition among our obligations more than ever apparent and have made our choices more than ever painful. The constituencies of the past and the future are without a voice. They are easily neglected in favor of the vocal demands of the present generation. . . .

In the past, the Congress by its foresight has made it possible for the Library of Congress to serve adequately our three constituencies. But while the ballots of the living can be counted, the makers of our nation -- the George Washingtons, the Thomas Jeffersons, the Lincolns, the Whitmans, the Frederick Douglasses, the Clara Bartons, the Mathew Bradys, the Gershwins and thousands less well known cannot cast ballots and cannot write letters to the congressmen. It is our duty to see that their voices and work will continue to be heard and seen.