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EPA Libraries Update

Over the past few weeks, the closure of several libraries in the Environmental Protection Agency has given the library community cause for grave concern. For background information on this issue, please visit

Since first coming onto the radar in early 2006, the story has snowballed into a genuine national issue, culminating in ALA President Leslie Burger’s article on the op-ed page of the New York Times (registration required) and several other prominent pieces in national publications.

With this ALAWON and blog posting, we are hoping to bring readers up to date on what has occurred most recently.

Where does the issue stand today?

For the time being, the EPA has halted all library closures and recycling of materials.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), under advisement from several Congressional committees, is investigating the EPA’s practices in reorganizing and recycling its materials and shutting down some of its libraries. GAO has been in contact with the ALA Washington Office about how best to proceed in its investigation.

What has ALA been doing about this issue in recent weeks?

Since the publication of Burger’s New York Times piece, staff from the ALA Washington Office have met with representatives from the EPA on several occasions. The most recent meeting took place on Thursday, January 4, at which the EPA met with staff from ALA, the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), and the Special Libraries Association (SLA). From this meeting it was determined that the EPA would attend the ALA 2007 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, specifically at the Washington Office Update Session.

The representatives of EPA – including Mike Flynn and Emma McNamara of the EPA’s Office of Information Analysis and Access – will be on hand to discuss the recent controversy and the agency’s move to digitization. They will also be taking questions from the audience, where they hope to dispel several rumors that have been circulating.

The Washington Office Update Session will be held in the Washington State Convention Center, Room 611-614, on Saturday morning from 8:00 – 10:00 a.m.

For more information on this issue, please visit

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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

One Comment

  1. Judy Kraemer, MLIS, MBA [Visitor] Judy Kraemer, MLIS, MBA [Visitor]

    What is the EPA thinking? They cannot close their libraries! I am automating a hospital library now and need more professionals to set up the new library automation systems, add records for our collection materials, design and maintain an intranet site, and educate all library clients on the use of all resources – print and electronic. Not to mention that my operating budget has doubled due to the cost of the automation system, electronic resources, and professional staff. The hospital management’s decision to cancel all print journals was reversed one year later when library clients were not satisfied with the access to graphics. They needed to have print graphics to be assured to have access to information contained in in the graphics – color does make a difference.

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