Sustainability Initiative Launches at NYLA2016

nyla_si-logoAfter 14 months of planning, plotting, fundraising, online meetings, phone calls, drafts, laughs and one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career I’m so excited to be on the even of launching the New York Library Association’s Sustainability Initiative (NYLA-SI).

 

Sustainability at NYLA Conference

Submitted by Jessica Phillipe.

At the annual NYLA Conference this week in Saratoga Springs, the Sustainability Initiative will be sharing much of what we’ve done over the past year to help create more sustainable libraries and stronger communities. For those attending, there is a full-day preconference continuing ed. program on Wednesday, November 2 called Libraries: A Powerful Platform for Change. There are still a few seats available, and you can register onsite! There is also an overview session on Friday morning called, Sustainability Initiative: Where Are We Going?

As part of the Initiative’s efforts to make libraries and communities more resilient, all NYLA attendees will find receive the Roadmap to Sustainability booklet in their conference packet. The Roadmap is a tool to clarify sustainability principles, to get you thinking about where your library is in the sustainability process, and how to move forward to make your library and your community stronger. The Roadmap is printed on recycled paper with soy-based ink, and it’s also available electronically as an app. If you don’t need the Roadmap, just return it to the registration area or to the Sustainability Initiative booth. If you have any questions about the Initiative, visit the booth, or look for the conference attendees wearing an “Agent of Change” button; these are members of the committee excited to share more with you. The booth will have additional roadmaps, more information, and the best raffle baskets around!

For those of you unable to make it to conference, you can catch up with the Sustainability Initiative with this 3-minute video, and after conference, the Roadmaps will be available for $3 on NYLA’s website, or free as a PDF if you sign up for our mailing list. The NYLA Sustainability Initiative is poised to help New York Libraries make groundbreaking changes to their institutions and communities. If you would like to support the excellent work of the committee, you can donate here. For more info or to get involved, contact Rebekkah Smith Aldrich or Matt Bollerman.

Cover for the Roadmap to Sustainability.

LJ Leader Video released

lj_designingthefuture_logoAs many of you know, I’m not a fan of being in front of the camera. However, it was cool to be asked to talk about designing the future for libraries for Library Journal’s special future focused issue. Filmed during ALA Annual in Orlando, it was an emotional time in our nation’s history due to the shootings at the PULSE nightclub in Orlando just a few days before we arrived at the conference. It was great to see how the library community pulled together to show support for Orlando and the LGBT community while in Orlando and it reminded me what a great professional librarianship is to be a part of.

Designing Our Future: Each Choice Tells Our Story

futurePretty cool to have my latest Sustainability with a Capital S column featured in the special “Designing Our Future” issue of Library Journal!

Each Choice Tells Our Story  |  Rebekkah Smith Aldrich  |  October 4, 2016  |  Library Journal

“I’ve been working hard to ­ensure libraries understand that sustainability involves far more than “going green.” Embracing the Triple Bottom Line definition of sustainability helps libraries think holistically about the environmental, economic, and social aspects of their library and community. Nonetheless, libraries have a lot of work to do on the “going green” side of things.

Libraries are steeped in work that speaks to their economic viability and that of their communities. Our professional ethics are rooted in the creation, promotion, and preservation of socially equitable access for and treatment of those we serve. Both of these are part of the everyday work of simply being a library. Is there a constant need for vigilance on these fronts? Absolutely.

However, are libraries working as diligently on being environmentally conscientious and helping our communities do the same as they are on the economic and social equity sides of things? Not as much as we should.

We got off to a very strong start: we are the founding mothers and fathers of the “sharing economy.” As such, we help reduce the need to own everything and likely have an impact on the amount of stuff that ends up in landfills. But after that our commitment to environmentalism wanes.

From the Inside Out…” Read the full article here

Local Supports Local

My second column for Library Journal is now available! In this installment we take a look at the concept of “Local Supports Local”:

Local Supports Local  |  Rebekkah Smith Aldrich  |  July 11, 2016  |  Library Journal

One thing I know is true: local supports local.

Empower. Engage. Energize. These three words describe the relationship between a sustainable library and its users. It’s a two-way street: a library can empower patrons to do good things by engaging with them to understand their aspirations. A community can feel the authentic interest a library has in being a part of that community’s conversations, whether by being at the table or convening “the table” to find community-based solutions.

When a library shows support for the goals of those it serves by empowering and energizing patrons through library services, those communities turn around and give empowerment back to their library in the form of goodwill and financial investment. This is a sustainable pattern for the future of libraries.

Think global, library local…” Read the full article here

 

The Capacity to Endure

My first article for the new Library Journal column, Sustainability with a Capital S is now live! I start at the beginning. Makes sense right? Just taking a basic first step to define sustainability and some of the thinking around how the Triple Bottom Line affects libraries.

The Capacity to Endure  |  Rebekkah Smith Aldrich  |  May 2, 2016  |  Library Journal

Think big—I mean really big—about the future of your library and its capacity to endure. Does it have the support it needs? Can it bounce back after disruption? Do its services and programs bring new and energetic life to the community, school, or campus that it serves?

More important, can your residents and students themselves bounce back from disruption? Is your community filled with new and dynamic life that leads to community-based solutions to what ails it? How is your library contributing to this?

I want you to think about not just your library, not just about those you serve, but about the community we all live in, both locally and globally. That needs to be our focus for a sustainable future for libraries. Without sustainable communities to serve, libraries will become afterthoughts in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Self-actualization through our services will be a significant challenge when residents don’t feel safe or accepted, lack clean drinking water, or face limited economic opportunities.

Defining sustainability

I’ve been fine-tuning the concept of a sustainable library for several years. I’m not talking about greening a building or recycling, though those are attributes of a sustainable library. Sustainability transcends green and is best understood by this triple bottom-line model…” Read the full article here

Sustainability with a Capital S

LJ logoI’m very excited to be writing the brand new column, Sustainability with a Capital S for Library Journal! Every other month they will allow me to pontificate on what Sustainability, using the Triple Bottom Line definition, can mean for libraries – from an operational and outreach perspective.

Weekly “Sustainability Spotlights” for Libraries

SustainabilitySpotlight_logoCheck out the new weekly feature from the New York Library Association’s Sustainability Initiative: Sustainability Spotlights! A great resource to help make the case for sustainability in libraries with real-life examples, along with some actionable info for New York’s libraries!

“The Sustainability Spotlight is a weekly series that highlights community-driven, environmentally sound, and economically responsible programs and projects in libraries and other organizations.”

As of March 15, 2016 they have posted about:

New Blog from the Sustainability Round Table of the American Library Association!

SustainabilityRoundTableLogoSustainRT now has a blog!  Check it out: http://olos.ala.org/sustainrt/.  If you would like to share how you are promoting sustainability in your library or community, please consider contributing a post for the blog. Submissions for the blog should be between 500-1000 words and will be subject to review prior to posting. Please send submissions to sustainrtblog@gmail.com.