EPA libraries slated to close under new budget proposal

Big ugly news in the Government/Special libraries sector. The proposed US Budget includes slashing the EPA library budget by 80% which means no more library and no more electronic catalog.

The size of the cuts will force the Headquarters library and most of the regional libraries to shut their doors and cease operations. Each year, the EPA libraries

  • Handle more than 134,000 research requests from its own scientific and enforcement staff
  • House and catalog an estimated 50,000 “unique” documents that are available nowhere else
  • Operate public reading rooms and provide the public with access to EPA databases.

“Access to information is one of the best tools we have for protecting the environment,” added Ruch, calling the cuts the “epitome of penny wise and pound foolish.” “By contrast, closing the Environmental Protection Agency libraries actually threatens to subtract from the sum total of human knowledge.”

Add to this the proposed elimination of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science by rolling it into the Institute of Museum and Library Services and you have to wonder what sort of price we’re paying for the deep budgetary hole the country has been falling in to.

9 thoughts on “EPA libraries slated to close under new budget proposal

  1. The PEER press release you quote bases itself on what it calls EPA “internal agency documents.” If the cuts are reflected (only?) in internal agency documents, then is this perhaps a question of an internal agency decision?

    Also, the group says that it has “released” those documents, so my question would be: where are they?

  2. It’s a decision by the agency based on a slashing of their overall budgets, I haven’t seen more specifics than that. You can read the link by the internal task force at the bottom of the press release [link here] that goes into detail about it. So far this exists in an If/THEN scenario, which is sort of like what we saw in Buffalo NY, but the EPA libraries have been in trouble for some time now, it will be interesting to see how they manage to get aroound this, if they do at all.

  3. Yes, the library budget cuts are a decision by the agency, so that references in the PEER press release to “Bush Axing Libraries” and “Bush’s plan” are flat misrepresentations of the documents.

  4. Who can we write to in order to help illeviate situation and save the libraries? There’s so much wealth in this country, there must be a way to keep the library functioning. It’s important.


  5. I suggest you take that up with the people who wrote that document.

    Did the item’s inflammatory headline have nothing to do with your decision to link to it?

  6. The cuts are being proposed in the President’s Budget for 2007. Therefore the headline is not inappropriate. Bush is proposing, in his budget, a severe cut to the library budgets. In addition, excusing the cuts as “internal Agency decisions” suggests that the public has no voice in how Agencies operate. I would disagree.

    Closing libraries reduces public access to the documents that the Agency purchases and collects. These materials are purchased or maintained with taxpayer funds and should be managed in such a way that makes them available to a broad community.

    These cuts will also cripple the ability for this “science-based” Agency to access commercial literature. This issue should matter to libraries and to anyone that believes our government has an obligation to be informed before they act.

  7. Did the item’s inflammatory headline have nothing to do with your decision to link to it?

    Yes, it had nothing to do with it. It was the most comprehansive article with the best set of links that I could find on the topic of the EPA libraries closing that was sent to me by several people. Also, please see CJ’s comment, it appears to be fairly accurate.

  8. The cuts are being proposed in the President’s Budget for 2007. Therefore the headline is not inappropriate.

    Nonsense. As the library network workgroup document makes clear, the funding cuts were not only proposed within the agency itself, they were proposed by the agency office that manages the library system.

    To say that the cuts were an internal agency decision is not a question of “excusing” them, but of merely stating the plain fact of the matter. Was Bush supposed to refuse to adopt the draft recommendations of the people responsible for running the libraries, or what?

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