By Deborah Balsamo
With more and more online technology and the Internet, some people might wonder, “Are libraries even necessary anymore?” EPA’s National Library Network is proof positive that libraries serve a critical need – and now EPA has an award that speaks to the relevance of its libraries in today’s information world: Library of the Year.
On May 17, 2011, the Library of Congress presented EPA with the Federal Library and Information Center Committee’s (FLICC) 2010 “Federal Library/Information Center of the Year” award. You might say it’s the “academy award” in the world of libraries, and we at EPA are very proud of this accomplishment!
As EPA’s National Library Network program manager for the past four years, I am so excited to see that we’re being recognized as a real leader in creating a vibrant and collaborative community. Every day I see our libraries respond to patrons’ needs through innovative projects such as:
- EPA’s Online Library System (OLS) – discover a treasure trove of environmental information in this comprehensive index to EPA publications.
- National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP) – read, print, or download free EPA publications from the Agency’s digital archive
- Frequent Questions reference system – get answers to frequently asked questions or submit your own question to EPA librarians
Whether seeking information on an environmental topic, searching for an EPA publication or requesting assistance with EPA’s many online tools, I encourage you to try out our library system, now celebrating its 40th anniversary. Information professionals at EPA are dedicated to supporting you by providing timely and accurate information. In fiscal year 2010 alone, EPA’s librarians serve as a point of contact for public inquiries, answering nearly 9,000 public reference questions and loaning more than 8,000 documents!
To read more about EPA’s “Federal Library of the Year Award,” check out the press release from the Library of Congress: Federal Library of the Year Award .
About the author: Deborah Balsamo works in EPA’s Office of Information Analysis and Access and is the National Program Manager for EPA’s National Library Network. She has the responsibility for coordinating the operations, overseeing the implementation of policies and procedures, and leading the strategic directions of EPA’s libraries. And yes, she is a librarian!