Friday, April 27, 2007

Another Government Library Closing?

Here is a reprint of a letter that is going around the blogosphere. I am still so ticked about the EPA libraries closing and now this. Yes, we all know that I am not pro-military by any stretch of the imagination, but I am pro-library and I have a special place in my heart for medical libraries. I am appalled that a time when evidence-based medicine is needed more than ever the government is trying to close down their medical libraries.

Here is the letter:

Here is the letter from Patrick Walz of the Armed Forces Medical Library:


I am a Tech Info Specialist at the Army Surgeon General's ArmedForces Medical Library. We are currently in a battle to save ourLibrary which has been an esteemed part of the US Military MedicalCorps since 1836.

We perform research for the Surgeons General of all the MilitaryBranches, as well as soldiers overseas in Germany, Great Britain,Iraq and Afghanistan.

Recently, the Military has been forced to make some budget cuts, and as is usually the case, the "easy target" library has come under the microscope. We were suddenly and inexplicably placed under a highly aggressive "work-group" comprised of Lean Six-Sigma-ready business ninjas. They want to close/move/consolidate or minimize our already scant resources.

As is always the case, our customers know the value of the Library. We've already received official letters, memos, testimonials etc... from a wide-range of military historians, commanders, executive officers and researchers, but it seems to be not enough. FY 06 marked the closings of nation-wide EPA Libraries and the AirForce has decided to close all of its Medical Libraries. We're getting a little freaked out. We must prove to the current bureaucracy that after 171 years, we are still an asset to the organization.

We have a plan of attack, we're wearing out a copy of MAKING THECASE FOR YOUR LIBRARY. What we lack is information. That's all this workgroup wants. Graphs, charts, spreadsheets and death by PowerPoint. If we could argue the entire case using ones and zeros we'd be in good shape.
We are hoping that you may have researched, or know someone who has researched the impact of closing a library. We'd like to know the cost differences between reciprocal document delivery and independent research contractors. Physical Librarian vs.. 100% automated databases.
The bosses are looking for short-term cost avoidance, and if they can save FY07 funds by canning the Library they won't hesitate. We wouldn't ask you for this if we had time to compile the data, but we don't have time.

They want everything immediately. It's like an information ambush: defend your library with some annual usage stats that mean nothing to the workgroup and a wet noodle. Good luck!

If you have any research or know anyone that's recently fought thegood fight, the help would be greatly appreciated. I was the Director of Medical Library in Germany prior to my coming here. I lost that fight and the library there is no more.
Many thanks!
Patrick R. WalzTechnical Information Specialist

Armed Forces Medical Library5109 Leesburg Pike, Room 670Falls Church, VA 22041E-mail: Patrick.Walz@tma.osd.milPhone: 703-681-8028; FAX: 703-681-8034

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