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Why are EPA Libraries Closing?

FGI has been tracking on the issue of the closings of Environmental Protection Agency libraries around the country for some time now. I reported on the many meetings that EPA officials had with librarians of the Government Documents Roundtable (GODORT) at last month’s ALA conference in Seattle. Much of the talk revolved around esoteria like digitization, preservation and public service numbers — terms that **yawn** don’t necessarily resonate with the general public. I think the elephant in the living room that was missing from the ALA meetings was a discussion about the obvious political aspects of the Bush administration’s overt attack on federal environmental protection laws and regulation.

Now here’s an article that explains the political attack on EPA libraries in a way that will resonate with the public. Christopher Moraff’s article in In These Times (2/1/07) is filled with budget slashing, EPA doublespeak and the shift in the political winds that may save the rest of the EPA libraries from the fate of EPA’s Region 5 facility in Chicago. Please read and distribute.

In February 2006, when President Bush unveiled his budget proposal for FY 2007, the EPA Library Network learned that its annual disbursement would be slashed 80 percent from 2006 funding levels—from $2.5 million to just $500,000. A month later, administrators at the EPA’s Region 5 facility in Chicago circulated an e-mail announcing it would be the first to close. By October, two other regional libraries were gone. Together, the three facilities had served the entire middle United States.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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