Happy Earth Day 2012!

Easy Activism:

  • Six Words for the Planet: SMITH Magazine and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency present “Six Words for the Planet.” Share your six words to celebrate the environment, share your concerns, and talk about the planet. EPA will feature some submissions on EPA.gov, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. And your Six Words for the Planet will be considered for a future book, calendar and more.
  • Picnic for the Planet: Picnic for the Planet is a celebration of the planet we live on, the food it provides and the people we share it with. In short it, the planet does a lot for us, we should take it out for lunch. On and around Earth Day 2012 (April 22), people all around the world will be stepping outside and heading to their favorite outdoor spot to enjoy good food in the company of great people.
  • Michael, Michael, Go Recycle! Fun online game for kids (and adults!) Find more consciousness awareness raising games here.
  • Pick 5 for the Environment [EPA]: Environmental action means taking the simple steps in the different places where we all live. By choosing five or more of these ideas and sharing your own, you are joining thousands of others who are doing the same! Make your actions count today!
  • Celebrate Earth Day in Super High Resolution [WIRED Magazine]



Think Spring

Here in the Northeast the gardening buzz is starting to pick up. I can actually see daffodil sprouts near one of our basement windows. It looks odd next to the 12 inches of snow and ice still piled up on most of the lawn.

I just caught wind of a library out in Kansas doing a community wide Green Fair and it made me start to think of all the programming libraries can be planning right now to ride the wave of people’s joy over the promise of spring.

Programming is a centerpiece of marketing. At MHLS we’ve developed targeted marketing tools over the years through our Building Your Base projects and programming to reach a specific audience and targeted programming has been one of the most effective. Marketing yourself as the hub of “green” can draw in new audiences and build your support in the community – and that makes good “sustainable sense.”

Here’s a list of spring-ish themed programming ideas:

  • Spring Cleaning
    • Reduce & Reuse @your library: a program to introduce all you have to offer in your collection (books, movies, music and magazines) and through your web site (downloadable content, magazines, newspapers) that can help people buy and store less.
    • Natural Cleaning Products
    • Recycling Showcase: Invite your county’s Solid Waste Department to come in and talk about how to get rid of household “stuff,” e-waste, yard waste and more without dumping it in a landfill.
    • What to do with…. (how to dispose properly of ewaste, household chemicals, batteries…)
  • Gardening
    • Rainwater Catchment
    • Preparing the Garden
    • Edible Flowers
    • Low-Maintenance Gardens
    • Community Garden (@the library?)
    • Landscape Design
    • Hanging Gardens
    • Container Gardens
    • Learn from a Master Gardener
    • Garden Software
    • Youth Garden Grants Program [National Gardening Association]
  • Food
    • Eating Local & In Season
    • Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs)
    • Growing Your Own
    • Canning
  • Home Maintenance/Improvement
    • Natural Lawn Care (mulching, killing weeds without polluting your local ecosystem, non-gas powered lawnmowers…)
    • Less Toxic Choices for Maintaining Your Home (low-VOC products – paint, sealants, caulk)
    • Is Solar Right for your Home?
    • Wind Power Generation
    • Tool Lending Library
  • Programs for Kids – childrens’ services staff are some of the most creative people around! Challenge them to come up with programs that instill a love and wonder for nature, environmentally friendly crafts, “save the planet” education
  • Movie Night:
    • Blue Vinyl
    • Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
    • Erin Brockovich
    • FernGully: The Last Rainforest
    • Hoot
    • No Impact Man
    • The End of Suburbia
    • The Warriors of Qiugang
    • The Yes Men Fix The World
    • Wall-E
    • Winged Migration

Got more ideas? Send them my way either in the comments below or via email. I’ll create a master list of green programming ideas and share them!


A look back at 2010…

‘Tis the season for “Best of” lists, “Year in Review” articles and the like… I can’t resist a look back at what was a pretty exciting year.

In January I launched SustainableLibraries.org, thinking I’d have a holding pen for all the ideas racing around in my head and hoping these random thoughts would be useful to libraries around the country. In March I was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker which really changed things!

The M&S nod opened the door for me to participate in two Design Institutes through Library Journal. The first in Atlanta, GA and the second in Greenville, SC. I moderated panels on sustainable design and rural libraries. What was exciting about both panels was that it became clear I wasn’t crazy. Despite all the resistance I’ve received in NY, in other parts of the country “green is a given” for library designers. This experience really solidified for me that I’m on the right path.

I did “Greening Your Library” workshops from one end of New York State (Long Island) to the other (Potsdam) and a few in between. The reception was great at each stop along the way. It was so much fun to meet people who were as interested as I am in the topic and I learned a lot along the way (bird strikes anyone?)

I am so grateful to have the opportunity to talk to others about what I think is a pretty exciting idea, the combination of libraries and sustainable design. Sustainability has been defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” If we want our libraries to be sustainable it has to happen on all fronts – funding, community outreach, technology, operations and facilities.

2010 will be hard to top but I’m open to trying in 2011.

Thank you to all the readers of SustainableLibraries, those of you who trekked out to a workshop and my fans on Facebook!

-Rebekkah Smith Aldrich
Sustainable Libraries

p.s. Here are my TOP TEN favorite SL posts from 2010:
Sustainable Spectrum
40 Tips for the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day
5 Ways to Make Computing Greener in your Library
When a Bulb Breaks (CFLs)
Upgrade to LEDs or the Easter Bunny Gets It!
Green Roofs…Revisited
MHLS Green Team Series
Louise & the Eco Machine
Greening & Historic Preservation
Living Building Challenge

New Landmark Libraries

Check out this opportunity from Library Journal:

Contact: Library Journal
Rebecca Miller


More at http://newlandmarklibraries.com

New York, NY, September 9, 2010— Library Journal magazine has opened the submission period for New Landmark Libraries, a project that will identify new U.S. public library buildings constructed between 2005 and 2010 that demonstrate excellence in (1) design and construction, (2) response to community context and constraints, (3) sustainability, (4) functionality, (5) innovation, and (6) beauty and delight. Projects to be considered include new construction, major expansions, and substantial renovations.

The New Landmark Libraries project seeks to discover groundbreaking public library buildings and publicize their achievement. The project will establish a set of standards for library leaders to address as they build, and, as a side effect, strengthen the capacity of communities to design and build excellence into their public library facilities.

“Wonderful libraries are opening every day, despite the down economy,” noted Editor-in-Chief Francine Fialkoff. “For several years now, LJ has been leading Design Institutes and publishing a Library by Design supplement focusing on innovative library design. Now, we’d like the public and other experts to weigh in and help us identify the libraries that are the setting the tone for the future.”

Submissions will be accepted online at http://newlandmarklibraries.com through November 15, 2010 and will be reviewed by a panel of experts from Library Journal as well as the library and architecture fields. Selected libraries will be included in a spring 2011 issue of Library Journal as well as online.

For more information and submission guidelines, visit http://newlandmarklibraries.com. LJ and SLJ are publications of Media Source Inc., which also owns Horn Book and Junior Library Guild.

About Library Journal

Library Journal is the oldest and most respected publication covering the library field. Considered to be the “bible” of the library world, LJ is read by over 100,000 library directors, administrators, and staff in public, academic, and special libraries. LJ is a Media Source Inc., publication.

Louise & the Eco Machine

Can’t resist sharing my good luck, this past week I finally had a chance to check out the Omega Institute’s Eco Machine. An Eco Machine is a natural wastewater treatment system. Omega’s plan is to use the resulting graywater to irrigate gardens and flush toilets.

Omega is a pretty fascinating place all around, but their Center for Sustainable Living is pretty remarkable, they are expected to be the first building in the United States to receive the Living Building designation in addition to receiving LEED Platinum certification. Some highlights:

  • wastewater turns to greywater within 36 hours through constructed wetlands
  • 20 geothermal wells
  • concrete that complies with the Living Building Challenge’s Red List*
  • net metering from solar array
  • partial green roof
  • No PVC
  • plywood in mechanical room from Obama’s inauguration stage!

To top it off I got to meet Louise Schaper who traveled to New York (coming all the way from Arkansas) to visit family and added a stop into Omega to check out the Eco Machine with me. Not quite sure which I was more excited about!

*LBC Red List (The project cannot contain any of the following red list materials or chemicals.):

No added formaldehyde
Halogenated Flame Retardants18
Neoprene (chloroprene)
Chlorinated Polyethylene and Chlorosulfonated Polyethlene21
Wood treatments containing Creosote, Arsenic or Pentachlorophenol

Go Green Cheer (includes directive for a “rabid frenzy”!)

As I poked around library web sites in MA to find out what they were doing in conjunction with their Summer Reading Program theme of “Go Green” I came across this gem – the “Go Green @your library Skit” which includes a number of “cheers” that I would pay good money to see done in my libraries!

Favorite line from the script? “(Continue for as long as it takes to whip students into a rabid frenzy of excitement. Teachers will love you for this. Conclude with lots of cheering and jumping around)”

Here’s a teaser:

Encore Bonus Cheer:
Lib 1: Global warming got you down?
Lib 2: Go to the library in your town
Lib 1: Soon there won’t be any school.
Lib 2: But books will always keep you cool.
Lib 1: Recycle a can or plant a flower
Lib 2: Knowledge is a sustainable power!
In Unison: Reduce Reuse Recycle and READ!!!