EPA Submits Plan for Reopening Libraries, Which Remain Closed

April 23, 2008

EPA on March 26, 2008, delivered a report Congress had demanded on its plan to reopen the agency's shuttered libraries. But don't expect them to reopen before fall.

The agency closed its headquarters library in Washington, DC, as well as three of ten regional libraries. Agency lawyers and scientists complained that this hobbled them in doing their jobs.

The report told Congress that EPA would reopen all of the closed libraries by Sept. 20, 2008.

The report says EPA is working with a board of advisers established by the Federal Library and Information Center Committee (FLICC) of the Library of Congress in planning reopening of its libraries. The agency disposed of equipment, books, and materials - which now must be resupplied. In its report, EPA said "over the next few months, we will continue to engage affected stakeholders (including our employee unions) as we finalize our specific plans for each library. The Agency is committed to working with its employees and outside parties" on its plans, the report asserted.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which has been critical of the closings, said in a March 28 release: "Several of the libraries will re-open with only minimal collections and any new holdings will be subject to a centralized, political approval process."