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Protecting public access to earth science information

This week, ALA sent a letter calling for continued funding for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Library and public access to its collections and services. USGS logo

USGS is a scientific agency within the Interior Department. The USGS Library bills itself as “largest earth science library in the world.”

President Trump’s budget proposes to cut $137.8 million from USGS, a 13% reduction from the current year. Out of that total, $3 million would come from the USGS Library – reportedly, a 52% cut. Such a drastic and disproportionate cut would close at least three, and potentially all four, of the library’s locations, and would eliminate public access to its collections.

Implementing these proposed library cuts would be penny wise and pound foolish. Investments in the USGS Library provide at least a 7:1 return, according to a group of trade and science organizations. Industries ranging from energy to mining to insurance widely use the maps, publications, and other resources that the USGS Library provides.

The House Interior Appropriations subcommittee is scheduled to begin consideration of its funding bill for USGS this week, with the Senate expected to follow at a later date. Amidst the larger “Fight for Libraries!” campaign to preserve federal funding for libraries, we hope that Congress will also remember the value of the USGS Library to America’s economic and scientific enterprise.

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Lisa Lindle is the Grassroots Communications Specialist for the American Library Association. She coordinates National Library Legislative Day and manages the ALA Washington Office's social media communications capabilities.

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