Presidential Libraries

National Archivist Tells SMU Grads It's All Good

Guess what was said at the SMU Commencement this weekend?

National Archivist Allen Weinstein, who oversees America's 12 presidential libraries, assured 2008 graduates of Southern Methodist University that the 13th (The George W. Bush Presidential Library) will be an asset to their alma mater – despite being the greatest controversy during their time at the school.

More on the event and Weinstein's comments from The Dallas News.

From the Wilson Presidential Library to the Streets of the Nation's Capital

Not exactly a library story, but here goes:

President Woodrow Wilson’s 1919 Pierce-Arrow limousine will be featured in the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Dedication Ceremony near Washington, D.C. on Thursday. Eric J. Vettel, Executive Director of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library in Staunton, Virginia, says, “The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library is honored that the Pierce-Arrow limousine will be featured in this significant ceremony. The original bridge was named to honor President Wilson, and we are pleased that he will continue to be remembered on the new bridge.” Story from WHSV.

President Bush touts planned library at SMU

President Bush on Friday touted his planned presidential library at SMU as a forum to promote freedom, brushing aside critics who say it will operate as a partisan venue.

“This isn’t a political precinct, this will be a place where we get the thinkers from around the world to come and write about and articulate the transformative power of freedom, abroad and at home,’’ Mr. Bush said.

Clinton Library Won't Release Berger Documents (or maybe they're 'processing them' a bit too slowly)

Cybercast News Service reports in this press release that the staff at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library has denied a request under the FIFA act to release information on the theft of documents from the National Archives by Clinton's former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger.

A letter from the library said the total 502 pages from the Millennium Alert After Action Review (MAAR) are "restricted in their entirety," under federal law and that the documents are "classified in the interest of national defense or foreign policy."

Further, the library stated the documents contain "confidential communications requesting or submitting advice between the president and his advisors, or between such advisors."

Berger, who was national security advisor for President Clinton from 1997 to 2001, took five different copies of pages from the classified MAAR out of the archives by stuffing them in his suit and exiting the archives building. Berger did that at a time (September-October 2003) when the 9/11 Commission was beginning to investigate both the Clinton and Bush administrations' handling of the terror threat in the led up to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The library's letter was in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Cybercast News Service . The library has responded to several other requests, but in those cases it was to inform CNSNews.com that library staff was processing the request.

No Campus Bar for SMU

Don't plan on grabbing a beer after visiting the George W. Bush Library at SMU. The campus has gone dry, according to this AP article.

The recommendations, accepted by University President R. Gerald Turner, were intended to give the school more control over social events and cut down on drunken driving; the campus has had three students deaths recently due to drugs or alcohol.

Presidential Librarians Can Learn From Their Predecessors

Looking back almost 40 years, the director of Texas' first presidential library says he should have been tougher on Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Harry Middleton, 86, said he and fellow staffers in the 1971 opening of the LBJ Library and Museum at the University of Texas at Austin were too close to the former president to give a highly critical account of the controversies that defined his tenure – especially the Vietnam War.

More reminiscences in this story from the Dallas News and from the former director of the LBJ Library, who suggests that there are lessons to be learned by the staff of the GWB Library at SMU.

Do you think the GWB librarians will be too kind to the next former president?

Four Presidential Libraries to Be Renovated

usnews.com Says Four of the 13 presidential libraries operated by the National Archives are slated to undergo some type of renovation or repairs this year owing to expansion needs and crumbling infrastructure. The National Archives plans to spend $20 million on the projects. The biggest is the expansion of the Nixon library.

Bill Clinton won't be welcome at First Ladies Library

Ohio's National First Ladies Library won't make a special place for Bill Clinton if Hillary Rodham Clinton is elected president.

Library president and founder Mary Regula says if former President Clinton or others become "first men," they'll have to "build their own thing," in her words.

Bush library searches for Web site name

While President Bush's advisers were taking offers on an ideal spot for his library and museum, they probably should have paid more attention to the virtual real-estate market. Officials finally settled on Southern Methodist University in Dallas to house the $250 million complex.

But online, some of the very best addresses are gone — snapped up for a mere fistful of dollars by squatters who have no connection to the library yet hope to make fun of the president, protect him or simply cash in on his name.

Want More Info on Hillary? How About 11,000 Pages?

Hillary Clinton just released 11,000 pages of her schedule as First Lady. The papers were released as a result of a lawsuit by the conservative legal group, Judicial Watch and they give a glimpse into her priorities as First Lady. She frequently refers to her work as First Lady as a credential for her White House bid, but until now the Clinton Library has not released her day-to-day schedules. WNYC’s political director Andrea Bernstein invites listeners to pour through the pages. Story from WNYC.org, an NPR affiliate.

And here's the link from the Clinton Library; some pages apparently have portions blacked out (to protect the innocent?)

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