EPA Gives Congress Library-Reopening Timeline

EPA Gives Congress Library-Reopening Timeline

The Environmental Protection Agency submitted March 26 its EPA National Library Network Report to Congress on the state of the EPA National Library Network. The report noted that:

  • The four libraries that were closed will be reopened by September 30, namely Region 5 in Chicago, Region 6 in Dallas, Region 7 in Kansas City, and the EPA Headquarters Repository and the Chemical Library in Washington, D.C.;
  • All libraries will be staffed by a librarian and assistants; will contain reference and book collections; and will offer electronic services, interlibrary loan, and public access;
  • The Federal Library and Information Center Committee has formed an advisory board that is working with EPA staff, advising on strategic direction library procedures; and
  • $1 million in appropriations will be used to reestablish libraries, collections and equipment, and for a needs assessment.

The EPA has said that it will continue to be in contact with affected stakeholders as the library plans are finalized. The Headquarters Repository and the Chemical Library in Washington, D.C, will be jointly managed by the Office of Environmental Information and the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances.

The release of the EPA report came almost two weeks after the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee held a March 13 hearing about the 2006 closures. “No library should be closed until its holdings have been effectively cataloged, evaluated, and digitized,” subcommittee Chairman Brad Miller (D-N.C.) said, in apparent agreement with ALA President-Elect Jim Rettig, who expressed concern about “exactly what materials have been shipped around the country . . . and whether a record is being kept of what is being dispersed and what is being discarded.”

The agency also received two sharp rebukes in February regarding the library closures: a report from the Government Accountability Office concluding that the EPA’s actions were hasty and ill-considered, and a ruling by a federal arbitrator for unfair labor practices and acting in bad faith toward library employees.

Posted on April 1, 2008. Discuss.