April 20, 2018

EPA Will Reopen Five Libraries; Is Plan Sufficient?

By Norman Oder

  • Seven of ten regional libraries now open; final three to reopen
  • Goal is September 30
  • Employee group says plan insufficient 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week said it will re-establish five closed libraries: on-site libraries in Region 5 in Chicago, Region 6 in Dallas, Region 7 in Kansas City, and the consolidated EPA Headquarters Repository and Chemical Library in Washington, DC. The news came in a Report to Congress requested as part of the Congressional appropriations process, which provided an additional $1 million to the agency. The goal for reopening is September 30.

EPA also said the funds would help EPA regional libraries “to update their collections, facilities, and equipment” and to “conduct a formal needs assessment for EPA library services to support future development.” However, given that two of the regional libraries, in EPA’s language, “will maintain core reference materials and additional library resources to meet specific local needs,” Public Employees for Environmental Responsibiliyt (PEER) Associate Director Carol Goldberg warned that “EPA is approaching the task of restoring its libraries grudgingly and appears to be trying to get by doing the bare minimum.” She added that some of the libraries lack a place to operate, as their prior locations were leased out or converted to cubicles.