One of the goals of the summer 2006 issue of The Public Historian, which focused on the presidential library system, was “to provoke discussion, especially on the issues that have not received sufficient attention or have been largely avoided” (Larry J. Hackman, “Introduction,” p. 7). This essay responds to the lead article in that special issue, Sharon Fawcett's “Presidential Libraries: A View From the Center.” Craig warns against the potential for “politicization” that could result from greater centralized control NARA's presidential libraries. He argues that NARA has consistently failed to articulate to Congress the true funding needs of the presidential libraries for records processing; he suggests how these needs could be more effectively communicated to Congress and proposes a fiscal solution (earmarking a portion of endowment and trust funds) to address the records processing backlog. Craig also reflects on the role and function of library supporting foundations and advances the notion that NARA library directors should not be permitted to serve as the head of such foundations. Finally, he argues that before focusing on public programming and educational outreach, NARA needs to reinvigorate emphasis on the original purposes of presidential libraries-archival preservation and access.

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