Justifying Sustainable Choices (part 1?)

Since I started this journey to help libraries green their building and operations to bolster the evidence that they are sustainable it has all seemed so clear to me – if libraries go green it is good. It is good because it demonstrates a commitment to a healthy environment – for the people working and accessing library services in library buildings and for the community (both local and global) at large and it broadens the message that libraries are good stewards of public dollars as greening a building can result in lowering operating costs for the long-term.

However last month I was challenged in this, a director of one of my libraries insinuated I was wasting my time and theirs by pursing this path of helping libraries make more sustainable choices about the facilities. I was a little shocked that it happened to be honest but now that I’ve thought about it more I realize I am less shocked that the person said what they did and more shocked at my inarticulate response.

I realize it is not enough to just believe in this, at any moment I must be ready to justify the brain power, System time and attention spent on helping our libraries in this way. I view this endeavor as an extension of helping our libraries build their base of support in their community which leads to better funded libraries and more good will towards the library.

So I vow to be better spoken about this topic for the sake of my member libraries. I am pursuing a System wide campaign this fall to help libraries make more sustainable choices when it comes to their buildings, operations and programming. I plan do to a better job at helping directors convey to their trustees and staff the value of going green, to help libraries talk to their communities about how going green makes them a better library and their community a better place and the all-around message that sustainable libraries make for a sustainable future – for the library and the local community.

If I take my title at MHLS seriously – Coordinator for Library Growth & Sustainability – I can do no less.

I guess I should thank the person who challenged the wisdom of pursing these options for my libraries, he just strengthened my resolve that I’m on the right path…

Stay tuned for more info on the “Greening Your Library Challenge,” hoping to launch it in October 2010, can’t wait to see what happens…

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