As 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.
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
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
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.
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
Check 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:
- Haverstraw Public Library’s Solar Installation
- Sustainability at the J.Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah
- Schuylerville Green Ribbon School Project
- Adopt Green Power with Grants from EBSCO Solar
- Kingston Library Pledges to Go Green!
- Mt. Kisco Elementary Garden
- LEED-inspired features in the Sojourner Truth Library Renovation @ SUNY New Paltz
- The Return on Investment for Telecommuting Librarians
- Community Responsive Programming → Community Service @ Pawling Library
- At UAlbany Sustainability is a Group Effort
- NYS Aggregated Purchase of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles
SustainRT now has a blog! Check it out: http://olos.ala.org/sustainrt/
- Issued a white paper from their Sustainability Initiative outlining the work of a recent retreat of “co-creators” that are helping to shape the future of what sustainable thinking for libraries in New York looks like and
- Officially formed the NYLA Sustainability Initiative Committee
This follows the passage in 2014 of the NYLA Resolution on the Importance of Sustainable Libraries, the forerunner of the American Library Association’s Resolution of the same name passed in June 2015, and the 2015 convening of the Sustainability Initiative Retreats, sponsored by an impressive list of leaders throughout New York State:
- Public Library Systems Directors Organization of New York State (PULISDO)
- Leadership & Management Section of the New York Library Association (LAMS)
- Public Library Section of the New York Library Association (PLS)
- Suffolk Cooperative Library System (SCLS)
- Suffolk County Library Association (SCLA)
- Sandpebble Project Management
Can’t wait to see what happens next!
ALA’s Sustainability Round Table sponsored a great webinar featuring Miguel A. Figueroa of the ALA Center for the Future of Libraries: “Sustainable Communities and ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries”
Check out the Center’s Trends on: