Library of Congress plans new cloud office

The main reading room at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The main reading room at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Murat Taner/Getty Images

The Library of Congress made “great progress” on its strategic Information Technology investments despite being a “constant target” of major cyber threats, the agency’s Chief Information Officer told lawmakers on Thursday.

The Library of Congress is requesting increased funding in its fiscal 2023 budget in part to establish an agency-wide cloud management program that supports business needs and provides cloud solutions for its traditional IT infrastructure.

Judith Conklin, chief information officer of the Library of Congress, told lawmakers on Thursday the library is a "constant target" of cyberattacks from advanced nation-states and other threat actors, and faced nearly 200,000 attempted cyberattacks in 2021. 

She said the agency is working towards meeting three strategic IT security objectives as part of its efforts to thwart major cyber threats, including IT centralization, stabilization and optimization. 

"We've made great progress on all three fronts," Conklin told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, adding that the agency was working on implementing a zero trust security framework and "closely coordinating" its cybersecurity efforts with other legislative branch agencies.

The Library of Congress is requesting a $30.9 million funding increase from the prior fiscal year, with a total budget request of $824.9 million for fiscal year 2023. Investing in its cloud infrastructure and management program is a key component of IT financial planning for the Library of Congress, according to Dr. Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress and head of the agency.

The Library is seeking $168.2 million for the CIO office, up 9.6% from FY2022 funding levels. That includes about $1.5 million for a new cloud program office. Hayden explained in her testimony that the new office will be tasked with overseeing the Library of Congress' project and IT management for its cloud operations. 

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) noted the Library of Congress' oversight responsibilities for a collection containing nearly 170 million items while asking about increased cyber threats targeting federal IT systems, particularly from Russia, which experts say is planning potential attacks against U.S. critical infrastructure. 

"With the committee's support, we have invested smartly in cybersecurity over the last few years," Conklin responded. "Our IT security team is officially on high alert over what is happening right now."