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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.

USGS Library Cuts faces 52% budget cut for FY18 harming research and extremely rare collections

Oh come on?! The Trump administration really thinks it can balance the budget by cutting a measly $3 million from the US Geological Survey (USGS) library?! This budget cut would barely cause a blip to the federal budget, but would be truly devastating to the library and it’s extremely rare collections — I didn’t know this, but “much of the USGS Library’s content is unique or available from fewer than 10 libraries around the world, the agency reported in a 2014 blog post about digitization of its library holdings.”

Read the June 16, 2017 letter from twenty-three science organizations to several members of Congress urging continued library funding in 2018 and contact your representatives today! This cannot stand!

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Library, home to one of the largest Earth and natural science collections in the world, faces a 52% funding decrease in the fiscal year (FY) 2018 federal budget proposed by President Donald Trump.

The potential funding loss of $3 million would close at least three of the library’s four branches, eliminate three quarters of the supporting staff, and end public and researcher access to USGS Library collections, according to the FY 2018 USGS budget justification.

This rollback of librarian services and other impacts would damage geoscience research and education, said Earth scientists, educators, and scientific society leaders interviewed by Eos. The harm would also ripple through libraries and other institutions that rely on the USGS Library for materials and guidance not available elsewhere, said librarians and others from outside USGS.

“Defunding the USGS Library has the potential to be devastating,” said Aaron Johnson, executive director of the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) in Thornton, Colo., referring to the possible effect on research projects of AIPG members.

“If these resources are rendered inaccessible, the nation will lose an invaluable scientific asset and the opportunity for continued commercial return from the information housed in the Library,” wrote 23 science organizations in a 16 June letter to several members of Congress urging continued library funding in 2018 at the level of $5.8 million that USGS currently receives. If that doesn’t occur, the nation “would also lose the federal investment that has already been made in the Library’s collections,” they warned. (The publisher of Eos, the American Geophysical Union, is a signatory of the letter).

via USGS Library Cuts Would Harm Research, Education, Say Scientists – Eos.

Library Census Maps 1,000 Federal Libraries

From an LC News Release:

Profiles of U.S. federal libraries from around the world are now available online. Presented dynamically with an interactive mapping tool, the Federal Library Directory displays geographic and collections data from more than 1,000 libraries. This publicly available dataset identifies members of the federal library and information center community and offers current information on their locations, collections, services and specialties.

Sponsored by the Federal Library and Information Center Committee (FLICC), with research assistance from the Federal Research Division (FRD), this virtual directory provides a comprehensive view of agency library efforts both in the United States and throughout the world. The compiled data includes details on collections, staff size, leadership, circulation and reference services.

“This directory raises awareness of federal libraries and information resource centers and the resources these organizations maintain,” said Blane Dessy, FLICC’s Executive Director. “We are offering this data set to the public so that scholars can use the tool to locate government resources more easily and library researchers can access current data on federal libraries.”

FRD analysts surveyed federal library programs and then supplemented the survey data received with research and outreach to compile additional data from a variety of federal library programs.

“Our collaboration with FLICC on this directory was an opportunity to engage the entire federal library community,” said David L. Osborne, chief of the FRD. “With an updated directory and geospatial mapping of the results, patrons and agencies can now optimize their access to resources and target their research to meet any number of mission objectives.”

Federal Library Directory Info Page

Access the Directory

The mapping software is only viewed using the Mozilla Firefox browser. Please be patient if this link loads slowly.

ALA Wiki on Federal Libraries Closures

Rory Litwin of Library Juice reports that ALA’s Washington, DC office and Committee on Legislation have started a Federal Libraries Wiki to cover government library closures. It’s just beginning, so it needs some beefing up, but sadly, I’m sure that content will be added frequently.

Armed Forces Medical Library Closing?

A big thanks to Ian Campbell of The Gov Doc for alerting us to yet another possible federal library closure.

He reprints a letter from Patrick Walz of the Armed Forces Medical Library, which I will copy here due to the time factor cited in Patrick’s letter:

I am a Tech Info Specialist at the Army Surgeon General’s Armed
Forces Medical Library. We are currently in a battle to save our
Library which has been an esteemed part of the US Military Medical
Corps since 1836.

We perform research for the Surgeons General of all the Military
Branches, as well as soldiers overseas in Germany, Great Britain,
Iraq and Afghanistan.

Recently, the Military has been forced to make some budget cuts, and as is usually the case, the “easy target” library has come under the microscope. We were suddenly and inexplicably placed under a highly aggressive “work-group” comprised of Lean Six-Sigma-ready business ninjas. They want to close/move/consolidate or minimize our already scant resources.

As is always the case, our customers know the value of the Library. We’ve already received official letters, memos, testimonials etc… from a wide-range of military historians, commanders, executive officers and researchers, but it seems to be not enough.

FY 06 marked the closings of nation-wide EPA Libraries and the Air
Force has decided to close all of its Medical Libraries. We’re getting a little freaked out. We must prove to the current bureaucracy that after 171 years, we are still an asset to the organization.

We have a plan of attack, we’re wearing out a copy of MAKING THE
CASE FOR YOUR LIBRARY. What we lack is information. That’s all this workgroup wants. Graphs, charts, spreadsheets and death by PowerPoint. If we could argue the entire case using ones and zeros we’d be in good shape.

We are hoping that you may have researched, or know someone who has researched the impact of closing a library. We’d like to know the cost differences between reciprocal document delivery and independent research contractors. Physical Librarian vs.. 100% automated databases.

The bosses are looking for short-term cost avoidance, and if they can save FY07 funds by canning the Library they won’t hesitate. We wouldn’t ask you for this if we had time to compile the data, but we don’t have time. They want everything immediately. It’s like an information ambush: defend your library with some annual usage stats that mean nothing to the workgroup and a wet noodle. Good luck!

If you have any research or know anyone that’s recently fought the
good fight, the help would be greatly appreciated. I was the Director of Medical Library in Germany prior to my coming here. I lost that fight and the library there is no more.

Many thanks!

Patrick R. Walz
Technical Information Specialist
Armed Forces Medical Library
5109 Leesburg Pike, Room 670
Falls Church, VA 22041
E-mail: Patrick.Walz@tma.osd.mil
Phone: 703-681-8028; FAX: 703-681-8034

To me personally, it is just stunning that at a time when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are greatly ramping up the need for evidence-based medicine in the military, the Pentagon seems to be choosing to gut their medical information resources.

If you can help Patrick in his battle to keep high quality information resources for the military medical establishment, I think you will also find yourself supporting the troops in a positive way.

We at FGI wish him and the staff Armed
Forces Medical Library well.