Education's Library

Actions Needed to Improve Its Usefulness Gao ID: HRD-91-61 April 11, 1991

Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Department of Education's Office of Educational Research and Improvement's (OERI) Research Library, focusing on the Library's: (1) scholastic and historic value; (2) services provided to Education employees; (3) accessibility to the public; and (4) functions and activities.

GAO found that: (1) the Library lacked a collection development policy specifying its users and its acquisition preservation priorities, which prevented it from making sound and consistent decisions; (2) OERI was developing such a policy for implementation in August 1991; (3) most Education employees and education-related organizations indicated that they rarely used the Library; (4) OERI representatives believed that better publicity and increased accessibility would improve the Library's usefulness; (5) experts believed that the Library's historical collections could be useful to historians and education researchers, and considered its contemporary collection to be less comprehensive than its historical collection; (6) from 1980 through 1989, the Library's nonpersonnel expenditures decreased by 62 percent; (7) beginning in fiscal year 1988, Congress did not fund Education technical service contracts to catalog and preserve the Library's collections, and about half of the collections remained uncataloged and generally not readily accessible to prospective users; and (8) many books in the Library's historical and special collections needed preservation.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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