|Weekly News Digest
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EPA Reopens Regional and Headquarters Libraries
On Oct. 1, 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; www.epa.gov) announced that Region 5 had reopened its library in Chicago on Sept. 30. In a press release, EPA stated "The re-opening of regional libraries in Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City and the library at Headquarters will help the Agency better share information. Also, all EPA libraries received additional funding for equipment, staffing, or materials to further enhance the public’s access to environmental information."
Region 5 in Chicago, Region 6 in Dallas, Region 7 in Kansas City, and the EPA Headquarters and Chemical Libraries in Washington, D.C., had been closed to walk-in access. For background information, see the Mar. 17, 2008, NewsBreak by Barbie E. Keiser, "EPA Library Closures: Management Incompetence or Something More Sinister?" http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbReader.asp?ArticleId=41260.
EPA had submitted its "National Library Network Report to Congress" (www.epa.gov/libraries/documents/Library_Report_to_Congress.pdf) on March 26, 2008, as directed in the Explanatory Statement accompanying the FY 2008 consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2764). In the report, EPA committed to re-establish physical libraries in EPA Regions 5, 6, and 7, as well as the Headquarters and Chemical libraries by Sept. 30, 2008, to complement existing library services.
In developing plans to strengthen EPA’s library network, the agency talked with internal library professionals, EPA employee unions, library professional associations, and a Library of Congress advisory committee focusing on federal libraries. In addition to the congressional mandate to restore services, the EPA had faced a firestorm of opposition from scientific and library organizations.
Following the reopening announcement, Special Library Association (SLA) CEO Janice R. Lachance stated, "SLA, with assistance from our vocal members around the world and other allied library associations, remained vigilant in pushing the EPA to reexamine a short-sighted move that placed public health at risk. We are pleased with the direction EPA is now taking with its information network."
Information about library locations, hours of operations, and available services can be found at www.epa.gov/libraries. In a notice published Sept. 24 in the Federal Register (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-22468.htm), the agency stated: "All libraries will be staffed by a professional librarian to provide services to the public and EPA staff via phone, e-mail, or in person. The libraries will provide access for a minimum of 24 hours over four days per week on a walk-in basis or by appointment. All libraries will provide core information services of reference/research assistance and interlibrary loan/document delivery."
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