Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Sen. Kaufman Recognizes Great Federal Employees from the Library of Congress: Mary Klutts, Donna Scheeder and Ronald O'Rourke

March 22, 2010

Mr. KAUFMAN.  I rise to share the stories, once again, of some of our Nation’s great federal employees. 

 All throughout March, libraries across America have been celebrating National Reading Month.  Children from coast to coast have been learning about the importance of books, and schools have been promoting literacy as a tool for academic advancement. 

This month-long celebration of reading – from Dr. Seuss’s classic The Cat in the Hat to Joyce’s Ulysses – reminds us not only of the joy found in the written word but also of the critical role libraries play in our communities. 

 Libraries have long been a staple of American life, dating back even to our early colonial days.  In the decades before the Revolution, America’s first libraries enabled the dissemination of the very ideas that inspired our founding patriots.  In the eighteenth century, the athenaeums of New England and the shareholder libraries of Benjamin Franklin served as precursors to our robust, modern network of free public libraries. 

 In 1800, our predecessors in the Sixth Congress established a research library to help those in government carry out their work with access to scholarly volumes on every subject.  Today, the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, and its ornate reading room remains an awe-inspiring cathedral of learning. 

 Today, I have chosen to honor three public servants who work at the Library of Congress. 

 Mary Klutts began her federal career as a U.S. Marine. In 1990, she came to the Library of Congress as a budget analyst, and in her twenty years there she has become an expert in every aspect of the Library’s operating budget.

 Since 2007, when Mary was named Budget Officer, she has set out to transform the way the Library’s budget proposals and funding justifications are formulated.  Her work has helped make the Library’s budget and operations more transparent, and its funding proposals are more concise.  Now, Library of Congress budget proposals are often cited as the model for the legislative branch.  As a result of Mary’s efforts, the Library received strong support from Congress in appropriations for the last two fiscal years. 

 During this time of economic challenges, Mary has helped demonstrate where every dollar of taxpayer money for the Library goes and why. 

 Another outstanding Library of Congress employee is Donna Scheeder, who has worked there for over forty years.  Having worked in a number of roles throughout her career at the Library, Donna was an early champion of integrating computers into libraries, and she introduced the idea of electronic briefing books for Congress. 

 She is recognized as a leader in the information management field, and she has guest-lectured around the world on the topic of legislative library management.  Donna is also a former president of the Special Libraries Association. 

 Until recently, Donna was serving as the Acting Law Librarian of Congress, and she was awarded the Federal Librarians Achievement Award in 2009. 

 An active member of the Washington, D.C., community, she serves as Chair of the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee and on the Board of the Old Naval Hospital Foundation.  When not spearheading innovative initiatives at the Library, Donna spends time relaxing at her home on the Delaware shore.

 One of the branches of the Library of Congress most familiar to those of us who serve in this chamber is the Congressional Research Service – or “CRS.”  This non-partisan office houses scholars who prepare reports on every policy issue and the effects of proposed and enacted legislation.  They are our “go-to guys” for information on every topic, and they are truly great at their jobs.

 The third person I am honoring today has been an analyst with the CRS since 1984. 

 When Ronald O’Rourke joined the CRS as a naval analyst, he arrived with an impressive background as a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the Johns Hopkins University.  He was also valedictorian of his class at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, where he obtained his master’s degree. 

 At CRS, Ronald quickly distinguished himself as a leading expert on naval strategic and budgetary issues, and he frequently briefs members of Congress and their staffs on defense programs and appropriations.  He has even been called to testify as an expert at Congressional hearings. 

Though he already had a busy schedule as a Specialist in Naval Affairs, he stepped in when the CRS’s expert in military aviation passed away suddenly last year.  Ronald took responsibility for that portfolio in addition to his own, and his reports on high-profile aviation programs proved invaluable during the Congressional debates on defense spending in the 2010 budget. 

Mary Klutts, Donna Scheeder, and Ronald O’Rourke continue their work in public service at the Library of Congress to this day.  They are just three of the many talented and dedicated men and women whose work benefits not only those of us in Congress but also the tens of millions who access resources from community libraries throughout our Nation. 

 Mr. President, I hope my colleagues will join me in recognizing the important contribution made by the employees of the Library of Congress. 

 They are all truly Great Federal Employees.

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