The five Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) libraries that were closed have reopened today. The EPA has followed through on what was stated in their Report to Congress on the state of the EPA National Library Network:
- The five libraries that were closed will be reopened on or before September 30, 2008; Region 5 in Chicago, Region 6 in Dallas, Region 7 in Kansas City, the EPA Headquarters Repository and the Chemical Library in Washington, DC.
- All libraries will have a librarian, appropriate staff, reference and book collections, electronic services, intelibrary loan and public access.
The libraries may look different than they previously did, but the needed materials are back in place. For example, the library in Region 5’s office in Chicago is smaller then before. However, the EPA feels that the space is adequate for the needed collection. Before deciding on the space, the EPA conducted a space analysis to ensure that the space would be adequate. The library is around 710 square feet. The library includes:
- The core reference materials that the EPA librarian group chose for all EPA libraries;
- A local collection (with room to add on in the future); and
- A Great Lakes collection.
The EPA has also made changes in the EPA Headquarters Repository and the Chemical Library. These two libraries now share the same space in Washington, DC. Though this is different than in the past, the EPA has made efforts to ensure that no services will be lacking due to the change. The agency has taken an additional step , hiring a Chemical Librarian that has a background in science and experience working in a laboratory before making the change to librarianship.
We are glad to see that the EPA has followed through and reopened their libraries and hope that the federal government has obtained a better understanding of the importance of federal libraries from this process.