Sunday, June 01, 2008

EPA: Lavatory-Sized Libraries

Congress has ordered the reopening of EPA libraries, previously closed in what can only be seen as a gift to the corporate overlords. Complying with the letter of the law but not the spirit, the EPA will reopen 4 of the closed libraries but on a smaller scale. In fact, the Chicago library will be only marginally larger than a men's lavatory.

The re-opened library will be in a vacant reception area on the 16th floor of a federal building;
The re-opened library will occupy less than one-tenth the area of the closed library and will be only slightly larger than the typical men’s restroom in that same building; and
No provision is made to restore the unique Great Lakes ecological collection or to recover any of the other holdings from the former library.


The Dallas library doesn't fare much better. Hours of operation are considerably less than the aforementioned men's lavatory.

Similarly, the regional library in Dallas serving a five-state area will be reduced to “2 staff workstations and 1 patron workstation, each with a PC, desk, and chair”. It will be open six hours a day for four days a week. The fate of its former collection also remains unknown.


Not satisfied with a greatly diminished system, a political appointee has been installed to oversee the restoration.

Adding to the disruption caused by its 20-month library closure campaign, EPA has installed one political appointee, Molly O’Neill, the Assistant Administrator for Environmental Information, as library czar, in charge of all library operations, including those serving laboratories and specialized programs.


PEER:

“A library requires more space than a lavatory,” stated PEER Associate Director Carol Goldberg. “These plans appear to violate the Congressional order that the agency ‘restore the network of EPA libraries recently closed…’ What part of ‘restore’ doesn’t EPA understand?”


Indeed.

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