EPA National Library Network Strategic Plan

The libraries of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have a new strategic plan:

The EPA National Library Network Strategic Plan outlines a three-year strategy (Fiscal Years 2012-2014) for building on the Library Network’s successes and accomplishments to provide EPA employees and the public with convenient and timely access to environmental information. It lays out goals in four key areas:

  • Network governance
  • Library services
  • Electronic and physical collections
  • Communications, outreach and training

More at http://www.epa.gov/libraries/strategic_plan.html

Water Updates: Clean Water Act guidance, climate change, water libraries

Clean Water Act guidance

The EPA has issued proposed guidance under the Clean Water Act, including a definition of “Waters of the United States.”

Some say the EPA shouldn’t issue guidance without going through the whole rulemaking process. However, recent Supreme Court decisions have muddied the waters, so to speak.

Climate Change

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has published two new reports on climate change and Western water. Many news reports wrote about one report or the other, but there are actually two:

A sampling of the news coverage:

The editorial writers at the Las Vegas Review Journal certainly didn’t read the report (or even their own reporter’s news article) when they wrote River’s problems can’t be blamed on global warming. I guess the Bureau of Reclamation is filled with hippie treehuggers.

Don’t want people to worry about greenhouse gases? Just stop publishing the data!

On the other hand, if you are concerned about climate change, and you’re involved in resource management, say, or local government, check out the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE). It’s filled with advice, case studies, directories of contacts, etc.

Water Libraries

UCLA will catalog a noted conservationist’s collection, Los Angeles Times, May 1.

When Ellen Stern Harris died of cancer five years ago at age 76, the pugnacious conservationist left a vast and chaotic collection of letters, research files, photos and publications.

Last Wednesday, a UCLA van pulled up to a chilly storage warehouse in West Los Angeles to pick up 28 cartons of materials, carefully organized by an archivist hired through Craigslist. Over the coming months, UCLA plans to digitize the contents to make them available online to scholars and others interested in California’s political and environmental history.

Considered to be the mother of the California Coastal Zone Conservation Act of 1972, Harris was an environmental activist long before the avocation became fashionable. When The Times named her Woman of the Year in 1969, columnist Art Seidenbaum called her “a modern kind of earth mother who fights for land, sea and air…a state official, a community organizer and a most uncommon scold.”

The Water Resources Center Archives is settling in at the University of California, Riverside, and California State University San Bernardino

More on the EPA libraries

From OMB Watch:

Lack of Plan for EPA Libraries Threatens Access to Environmental Information

After more than three years of development, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has yet to complete a strategic plan for its library network or to inventory the network’s holdings, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The Bush administration controversially moved to close several agency libraries, but opposition from Congress and the public pushed EPA to reverse course and reopen the libraries. However, the GAO report makes clear that additional steps are needed to ensure the library network’s valuable holdings are genuinely accessible to the public.

More from OMB Watch

GAO: EPA Needs to Complete a Strategy for Its Library Network to Meet Users’ Needs

The Government Accountability Office says in a new report that the EPA Needs to Complete a Strategy for Its Library Network to Meet Users’ Needs. From the summary:

Although EPA has taken a number of steps to meet the needs of library users, it has not completed a plan identifying an overall strategy for its library network, with implementation goals and a timeline of what it intends to accomplish. Scheduled for completion in 2008, the strategic plan was to provide EPA staff and the public a detailed view of EPA’s library operations and future direction. The draft outline of the strategic plan, however, is largely a placeholder list of current and planned EPA activities. For example, while it emphasizes the central role to be played by electronic library resources, the draft outline does not contain goals or a timeline for completing an inventory of holdings or digitizing those holdings. The draft outline also does not set out details of how funding decisions are to be made. Given the current economic environment, without a completed strategic plan, including a detailed strategy for acquiring, deploying, and managing funding, EPA may find itself hard-pressed to ensure that the network can meet its users’ needs. The agency has reopened libraries closed during reorganization, although about half the network’s 10 regional libraries are operating with reduced hours. EPA has also developed standards for the regional and headquarters libraries’ use of space, on-site collections, staffing, and services. The agency has also hired a national library program manager to carry out day-to-day activities and bring focus and cohesion to the network. Working closely with EPA management and library staff, the national library program manager, who is responsible for library network strategic planning, has set in motion a number of actions meant to improve library network operation and communication, including working closely with internal and external advisory boards and creating a library policy and related procedures. EPA has resumed digitizing some of its libraries’ documents, although it has not inventoried the network’s holdings. The agency is digitizing documents in three phases. Phase 1 was completed in January 2007, phase 2 is scheduled for completion in December 2010, and planning has begun for phase 3. Because EPA has not taken a complete inventory of its library holdings, however, it cannot determine which documents, or how many, will need to be digitized and, consequently, cannot accurately estimate the total cost of digitization or how long it will take. Since we reported on the library network reorganization in 2008, EPA has taken steps to communicate with staff and other stakeholders about its library network, including providing information about the libraries and soliciting information from library users. EPA has also made improvements to the main Internet gateway to the network, making more documents available electronically and providing better access to electronic documents and services. Nevertheless, because EPA’s 2009 survey of the information needs and library use of its staff had methodological flaws–similar to those GAO identified in 2008–the agency is unlikely to obtain accurate information that would enable it to make appropriate decisions on the corrective actions that would best address library users’ needs. GAO recommends, among other actions, that EPA complete its strategic plan for the library network and ensure that survey methods provide reliable data on which to base decisions. With clarifications, EPA concurred with our recommendations.