May 19, 2022

SpaceRef: "NASA Internal Memo: Goddard to Transition to Electronic Services"

Update: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to close two physical libraries (via FreeGovInfo)

From a SpaceRef Post: “NASA Internal Memo: Goddard Libraries Transition to Electronic Services”

From: GSFC-Communications
Sent: Monday, October 31, 2011 11:20 AM
Subject: Goddard Libraries Transition to Electronic Services


Beginning January 1, 2012, the NASA Goddard libraries at Greenbelt and Wallops will transition to an all-electronic activity. In response to changes in the research environment and to Center-driven resource priorities, we will no longer maintain a physical presence but will focus on supporting the research needs of the Goddard community electronically. Our digital presence will remain as a portal to our vast collection of electronic material and our research specialists will continue to be available to support evolving requirements of Goddard’s researchers.

Closing of the physical libraries is a strategic move to repurpose resources and refocus efforts toward enhanced electronic collections and new services vital for Goddard to continue to be productive and competitive in scientific research.

For the past 16 years, the Library has been developing a robust electronic collection that is delivered directly to our desktop. In fact, the vast majority of the journal collection is already available electronically and our e-book collections offer access to over 80,000 titles. Library subject specialists offer virtual research and instruction services, as well as support for electronic resources.

Read the Complete Memo

See Also: NASA’s New Strategy: Close Its Reference Libraries (via NASA Watch)
Keith Cowing asks a good question, “So what does this mean with regard to the books and other printed items that already exist in the GSFC library.”

We’ll go further and ask:

  • Will any information professionals lose their jobs due to the closure? What about support staff?
  • Does NASA have plans for other or all NASA libraries go all-electronic in the future?
  • What will happen when someone requests an item from the physical collection? Will this material continue to be accessible (housed off-site?) or will NASA access whatever is requested by paying for ILL and document delivery services?
  • If the print collection (incl. bound journals) are no longer going to be used, what are NASA’s plan to dispose of them?
  • Will there be any n0n-virtual instruction available
  • What does NASA see as challenges? The memo points out that there will be some challenges. What are they as of today?

We could go and ask more questions but what we’ve listed is a start.

Finally, we hope library and other organizations will question NASA about the Goddard Space Flight Center Library “transition” to all-electronic and if this is the beginning of the end for other NASA libraries.

See Also: Goddard Library Web Site

See Also: Goddard Library Catalog

See Also: List of 50+ Project Libraries Associated With Goddard Space Flight Center

See Also: List of NASA Libraries

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.