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ALA Takes Strong Action on EPA Library Network Budget Cuts

The American Library Association has taken action on the proposed EPA Library Network budget cuts. This is the kind of advocacy that makes the pittance I spend on ALA dues worth every penny. Yes, pittance: I spend more on my local NPR affiliate… more on Starbucks… and, let’s see… even at $1.09 per cup twice a week, almost as much on hot tea from my school cafeteria.

I was a director of an EPA library (Region 2, New York, 1996-1998) so I am particularly struck by the value of ALA’s actions in two ways.

First, the EPA Library Network provides wonderful services to its users. A blow to this network is a blow to environmental advocacy–the last thing we need in a world where we are in a race with time over irrevocable climate change.

Second, I know first-hand that the EPA Library Network librarians are contractors who are not allowed to advocate against the cuts on their own. It’s a very touchy relationship. Some of them have concluded they are “dead men walking” and are speaking up anyway, but most are in the difficult position of not wanting to risk harm (and trust me, retribution can be swift and brutal). Because I am acutely aware of the bind the librarians themselves are in, I doubly appreciate ALA’s advocacy for the EPA Library Network.

Yesterday I was IM’ing with a friend who commented how ALA had done some tiny annoying thing but that she was willing to overlook it because ALA was trying so hard. That is how I feel. Sometimes ALA tries and falls short of the mark; but with the EPA Library Network advocacy, they are exactly on target.

Oh, and a big ol’ sloppy kiss to American Libraries for featuring a legislative action button on the EPA Library Network budget in AL Direct this week.

Thanks, ALA.

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