UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) receives $25.3 million award

Release date: 

December 10, 2014

SILS will operate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Research Triangle Park Library for another five years, serving nearly 2,000 EPA employees who rely on the library to support the Agency’s research and policy decisions

 Chapel Hill, N.C. – The UNC-Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science (SILS) has been awarded its largest contract ever to operate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Research Triangle Park (RTP) Library over the next five years. The new award, of $25.3 million, significantly expands the scope of work to manage agency-wide subscriptions to journals and other information products.

 SILS is one of the preeminent information schools in the nation with internationally recognized leadership in digital libraries, data curation, and health information services.  SILS has operated the EPA-RTP Library since 1975 and more than 300 graduate students have served as interns in the program. Upon completing their master’s studies, those interns have gone on to become leaders in libraries and the information industry.

 “This contract represents a highly effective and efficient partnership between a public university and a government research organization. SILS attracts experienced librarians to manage the library operations and the EPA library internships attract outstanding students to UNC-Chapel Hill. These interns not only gain practical experience in a full-service research library but also work with library professionals to create new kinds of services to support EPA scientists and staff,” SILS dean Gary Marchionini said.

The EPA-RTP Library serves EPA staff and contractors in the Research Triangle Park, providing access to information that supports the research mission and policy decisions of the EPA. The library is home to an extensive collection of information with a particular focus on air pollution with emphases on chemical toxicity, chemistry, meteorology, geophysics and related sciences. The Library hosts more than 1,000 journal titles, over 6,000 books, 150,000 microfiche documents, and paper copies of more than 13,000 EPA, trade association, international agency and other Federal agency documents. The library serves more than 2,000 EPA employees.

 The EPA National Library Network is composed of libraries and repositories located in the agency's offices, research centers and specialized laboratories, as well as web-based access to electronic collections. The combined network collections contain information in many scientific and policy areas, including:

  • Environmental protection and management;
  • Basic sciences such as biology and chemistry;
  • Applied sciences such as engineering and toxicology; 
  • Extensive coverage of topics featured in legislative mandates such as hazardous waste, drinking water, pollution prevention, and toxic substances. 

The EPA-RTP Library is one of only three EPA repository libraries, nationwide; EPA Headquarters Repository is located in Washington, D.C., and the Andrew W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center Library (AWBERC) is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The EPA additionally hosts 10 regional libraries, four specialty libraries, and eight research laboratory libraries across the United States.