As we’ve posted here before, EPA has spent the last several months conducting listening sessions, online “Jam Sessions,” and online comment periods as part of their National Dialogue on Access to Environmental Information. The agency recently released a web page called “What We’ve Learned So Far,” which provides summaries of the various outreach efforts.
Many of the findings will not be surprising to law librarians. For example, EPA reports, “Commenters noted that even in this age of technology and Internet access, there is still a valuable and important role that libraries and communities play for providing access to information.” In addition, “Librarians pointed out the importance of the EPA libraries and the need to reopen the closed libraries.”
Also of note is the summary of listening sessions with educators, researchers, librarians, and students. EPA notes, “The critical role of research librarians was mentioned and acknowledged broadly by the group, with some participants going so far as to argue that all data or records released by EPA should include contact information for a person – or steward – who can answer technical questions or provide other informed assistance.”
These summaries provide insight into EPA’s outreach efforts and the information needs of five of EPA’s major audience groups: government officials; news media; environmental and community groups; industry; and educators, students, researchers and librarians. EPA will continue to collect comments via their discussion board and email through the end of June. Thank you to all of those who participated. If you haven’t yet submitted comments, be sure to do so in the next few days.
[Posted by Emily Feldman]