Magazine article Information Management

EPA Delays Additional Library Closures

Magazine article Information Management

EPA Delays Additional Library Closures

Article excerpt

After closing several of its scientific libraries in Kansas City, Kansas, Chicago, Dallas, and three other cities with little explanation, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in late 2006 that it would delay plans to close additional facilities and destroy thousands of documents.

The agency has said the closures were meant to save money and limit public access to data for national security reasons. Those who oppose the closings, including many in the scientific community, contended that the closures could limit the ability of independent scientists to review the EPA's actions.

The libraries house research materials not found anywhere else, such as data critical to scientific investigation and the enforcement of environmental laws. The EPA has said it eventually will post online most of the material contained in its libraries.

A 2004 EPA study found that the libraries saved millions of dollars annually by performing time-consuming research for agency staff members. Still, their funding has continued to shrink in recent years. During the last fiscal year, according to media reports, the EPA libraries' budget was $7 million. …

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