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Restructuring EPA's Libraries: Background and Issues for Congress

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Publication Date: June 2007

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS22533

Topic: Education (Libraries)
Environment (Environmental policy)

Abstract:

The closing of several libraries administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has raised numerous issues. The President's FY2007 budget included a $2.5 million reduction for EPA's libraries, $2.0 million of which was attributed mainly to these closures. EPA reports that the closings are part of its efforts to restructure its libraries to respond to the increasing use of the Internet to access its collections. Although EPA plans to digitize certain materials, some items may be archived or discarded. Members of Congress, library professional associations, and public interest groups have questioned the continued availability of EPA's collections as the agency restructures its libraries. The closing of EPA's libraries received increasing attention toward the end of the 109th Congress, including a request for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine the agency's library restructuring plan. However, the funding and operation of the libraries were not mentioned in the FY2007 appropriations bill that would have funded EPA (H.R. 5386). This report examines EPA's plan to restructure its libraries and discusses relevant issues.