Exploring Best Practices for Government Library Networks

Washington-based library consultant Barbie Keiser briefed the German Government and Parliamentary Library Association on the re-structuring of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency library network.  In February 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would have to reduce the budget allocation for the Agency’s libraries.  Resulting EPA efforts to consolidate regional libraries drew criticism from agency employees and environmentalists, who said it could deprive agency staff and scientists of key risk and enforcement data.  Pending EPA funding legislation gives the agency to use $2 million to reopen closed facilities but also mandates that EPA re-evaluate the structure of its library network for the 21st century.  Libraries in both U.S. and German government agencies face similar problems.  Together the group explored the “lessons learned” from the EPA experience and suggested proactive ways for libraries to respond.  The program was organized in cooperation with the Initiative Fortbildung.