The EPA libraries are scheduled to re-open today as noted in the Federal Register. The group PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, issued their own press release about the library reopenings. According to them, most of the re-opened new libraries will be housed in less space and the one in Chicago (formerly the largest regional library) will re-open without “permanent furniture and shelving.” PEER notes that during the past two years, EPA further diminished its own informational infrastructure by –
- Breaking up collections and disbursing them in a fashion that they may never be reassembled. - Most of the re-opened libraries will only provide “core” reference materials;
- Banning any technical holdings (called “mini-libraries”) for scientists and specialists that are not subject to centralized control; and
- Placing all library acquisition and management decisions under a political appointee.
In response to public and congressional criticism, the EPA has undertaken a "National Dialogue on Access to Environmental Information" that invites participation from anyone interested in access to environmental information. The Dialogue will be used to develop a new EPA Library Strategic Plan in December 2008.