[Libs-Or] Fwd: [member-forum] PEER PRESS RELEASE: Shuttered EPA Libraries Open Doors Tomorrow After Two Years

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Mon Sep 29 16:12:29 PDT 2008

I thought that some of you might be interested in this update.

Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2008 11:15:01 -0400 (EDT)
From: Frederick W Stoss <fstoss at buffalo.edu>
Subject: [member-forum] PEER PRESS RELEASE: Shuttered EPA Libraries Open
 Doors Tomorrow After Two Years

The nonprofit group PEER, Public Employees for Environmental
Responsibility, first broke the story about an 80% reduction in the budget
for the National Library Network of the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency on February 10, 2007. PEER followed this story through the closing
of EPA Libraries, reductions in services and personnel, removal of
collections, and other aspects of "downsizing" units within the world's
largest environmental library network. After nearly two years of EPA
policies restructuring and reducing libraries, the end of this saga may be
at ahnd. Here is PEER's most recent press release describing the
re-opening of closed EPA Libraries.

Fred Stoss, co-Chair, Ameriacn Library Association, Task Force on the

Frederick W. Stoss, M.S. (zool/ecol), M.L.S.
Associate Librarian--Biological and Environmental Sciences and Mathematics
University at Buffalo--SUNY
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2008 10:22:32 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)" <
info at peer.org>

For Immediate Release:  Monday, September 29, 2008
Contact:   Bill Boteler (202) 265-7337

EPA Headquarters and Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City Regional Libraries

Washington, DC - Under orders from Congress, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency tomorrow will again provide access to library services in
15 states and its own headquarters to agency employees and the public.  This
ends a 30-month campaign by the Bush administration to restrict availability
of technical materials within EPA but leaves in its wake scattered and
incomplete collections under new political controls of library operations,
says Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

On September 30th, the last day of the federal fiscal year, EPA will re-open
its regional libraries in Chicago (serving the Great Lakes region), Dallas
(Mid-Southern region) and Kansas City (Mid-Western region) after more than
two years.  In addition, a long-shuttered library in EPA Headquarters will
re-open and include a small portion of holdings from what had been a
free-standing Chemical Library, for research on the properties and effects
of new chemicals, as a "special Chemical Collection".

In its September 24, 2008 Federal Register notice, EPA promises that these
re-opened facilities "will be staffed by a professional librarian to provide
service to the public and EPA staff via phone, e-mail, or in person?for a
minimum of 24 hours over four days per week on a walk-in basis or by

"While we are happy that EPA is re-opening its libraries, we are disturbed
that the minds which plotted their closure remain in charge," stated PEER
Associate Director Carol Goldberg, whose organization first revealed EPA's
plans to shut libraries and maintained a drumbeat of disclosures until
Congress finally intervened and directed the agency to reverse course in
December 2007.  "Tomorrow, EPA will still accord its own scientists and the
public less access to information than it did back in 2005."

Most of the re-opened new libraries will be housed in less space and one, in
Chicago (formerly the largest regional library), will re-open without
"permanent furniture and shelving."  PEER notes that during the past two
years, EPA further diminished its own informational infrastructure by ?

?       Breaking up collections and disbursing them in a fashion that they
may never be reassembled.  Most of the re-opened libraries will only provide
"core" reference materials;
?       Banning any technical holdings (called "mini-libraries") for
scientists and specialists that are not subject to centralized control; and
?       Placing all library acquisition and management decisions under a
political appointee.

In response to stinging public and congressional criticism, EPA has
undertaken an elaborate "National Dialogue on Access to Environmental
Information" to develop a new Library Strategic Plan in December 2008, just
before the Bush administration leaves office.

"Given its record, the idea that the Bush administration is now sincerely
interested in expanding access to environmental information is a bit hard to
take," Goldberg added.  "If Congress had not intervened, all of EPA's
remaining libraries would now be on the chopping block."


See the Federal Register notice on library re-openings

Trace the history of EPA shutting down its libraries

Look at EPA attempt at "National Dialogue on Access to Environmental


Diedre Conkling

 Lincoln County Library District
 P.O. Box 2027, Newport, OR  97365
 Phone & Fax:  541-265-3066
 Work:  diedre at beachbooks.org
 Home:  diedrec at charter.net
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