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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Stoss: protect and save EPA libraries

In the Spring, 2006 issue of Electronic Green Journal, Fred Stoss, Biological, Environmental Studies and Mathematics Librarian at SUNY Buffalo, has written a very good editorial entitled, Protecting Public Access to Environmental Information and Saving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Libraries. In it, he cogently outlines the historic importance of the EPA library network. He urges everyone to follow ALA’s suggestions and contact your Congressional representatives immediately. The ALA site has some good talking points.

We reiterate Fred’s call. Please tell your member of Congress to restore the $2.5 million needed for the EPA libraries to continue to operate at the same level in FY 2007!!

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  1. Just remember that the EPA Library system is operated by contractors (for the most part). That fact might play with some Congressman, you know, we aren’t cutting government we are just cutting a contract.

  2. *NOTE from FGI admin*: This comment from Bernadine Abbott Hoduski, ALA Councilor at large, was emailed to me directly. I am posting it on Bernadine’s behalf.

    Bernadine says:

    Some of the libraries are run by contractors and have been since the 1980s. They are so called minority contractors. The contract managers are librarians and are federal employees. Many of the staff in DC headquarters are federal employees as well. As a former EPA librarian who’s library and my self trained successor were contracted out, I was angry about that for a long time. The point now is that the libraries are federal property and available to the EPA staff and the public, so it does not matter who is managing them. The biggest cost of the libraries is the rental space, data bases needed by the EPA staff, payments to automation and electronic staff, equipment such as shelving and binding costs. The other cost is payment to Fedlink for cataloging services and other electronic services, so you can see that the staffing costs are the smallest part of the cost of maintaining libraries that are more than 36 years old. Since EPA did not consult with Congress before they submitted their budget I doubt that Congress even knows that many of the librarians are contract. The contract librarians are excellent and some have been there for many years. They are valued by the EPA staff and the public if not by the headquarters staff desperate to make cuts that will not affect them and their salaries. Survival of the strongest, as they say.

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