ALA President Leslie Burger speaks of EPA Libraries' importance, public's

Contact: Andy Bridges
Communications Specialist
202-628-8410
For Immediate Release
February 6, 2007

ALA President Leslie Burger speaks of EPA Libraries' importance, public's "right to know"

before Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

WASHINGTON — Today, ALA President Leslie Burger spoke of the importance of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) libraries and librarians at an oversight hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

"As one recently retired EPA librarian described it," Burger said in her testimony, "the EPA libraries have been functioning like a virtual National Library on the Environment. Now that some of these regional libraries and the pesticide library are closed, key links have been removed from the chain, thus weakening the whole system."

Burger also addressed the EPA's lack of openness with regard to digitizing its materials. "Without more detailed information about the EPA's digitization project, we cannot assess whether they are digitizing the most appropriate materials, whether there is appropriate metadata or cataloging to make sure that people can access the digitized materials, and that the technology that will be used to host the digital content and the finding software meets today's standards."

"Further," Burger added, "I'd like to commend the Environment and Public Works Committee for having this oversight hearing. This issue is of vital importance to the American public and this hearing is an important step in the right direction."

Burger's full testimony is available at www.ala.org/epalibraries.

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This was the second time Burger has spoken on the issue of EPA library closures in a public setting. On December 14, 2006, she spoke at a meeting of the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT), a group that provides independent advice to the EPA Administrator.