In February 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), facing its preliminary 2007 fiscal
year budget, announced a series of library closures
intended to save the agency money. The Bush
administration’s proposed FY 07 budget for EPA
regional libraries was $500,000, an 80% reduction
from the previous year’s $2.5 million funding (this
funding applied to just 10 of the 28 EPA libraries).
Toby Pearlstein The agency’s reaction — to move for immediate
Former Director closures and reductions in service — was considered
Global Information Services by many within and outside the agency — to give it
Bain & Co., Inc. the most kindly characterization — as precipitous.
Fellow, Special Libraries Association After all, the budget had yet to go through the
congressional approval process that could have
provided oversight for how to implement such a
Dean and Professor Emeritus
Graduate School of Library and Information Science significant reduction. Many believed the congressional
Simmons College process would also have offered an opportunity to
Fellow, Special Libraries Association make a case for restoring some of the funding.
12 SEARCHER ■ The Magazine for Database Professionals
RESUSCITATED! THE EPA LIBRARIES’ NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE
First in a Series
In the past, most often in difficult
economic times, one frequently heard
about special library closures or reductions.
Recently, however, the pace of these
cutbacks seems to be increasing, fueled
by the erratic economy and unprecedented
corporate bankruptcies, mergers and
acquisitions, and, sometimes in the case
of government agency libraries, by calls
for reduction in the cost and complexity
of government itself.
This article on the EPA “library affair”
is just the first case study in the series,
exploring a near-death experience and
subsequent resuscitation in a government
agency. The articles that follow will explore
some of the life-threatening challenges
faced by other segments of the special