Washington D.C. – U.S. Representative Gregg Harper released the following statement after news that the 13th Librarian of Congress, announced his retirement effective January 1, 2016:

“Our country learned today that we will lose a national treasure in the retirement of Dr. James Billington as the Librarian of Congress. I have had the great privilege of knowing Dr. Billington for the past six and half years, but our country has known him as the dedicated and passionate leader for this institution for almost thirty years. Under his able leadership, the Library of Congress has continued to procure and protect its more than 160 million items and vast amounts of digitized information. Dr. Billington has worked tirelessly during his historic tenure to make the Library and these vast collections more accessible to people both here at home and from around the globe.

The list of his contributions is endless, but I am especially thankful for his work to expand the reach of the Library not only outside the beltway, but in particular for making primary source materials available for K-12 educators, and for continuing to grow the Library’s astounding collection through preservation.

I thank Dr. Billington for his personal friendship, and I want to extend my heartfelt appreciation to him for his service to our country and for his immeasurable contributions to the Library of Congress and to the United States. His legacy will be one of excellence