Kingston Library Pledges to Go Green!
The Kingston Library, located in Kingston, New York, made a pledge in 2010 to consider climate change adaptation, to gather and track emissions data, and to provide community programming to educate the public on climate change. They believed that making the pledge provided “an unprecedented opportunity to save money and to contribute to livable, energy-independent and secure communities, and vibrant innovation economies…” The Climate Smart Community Library Pledge includes actions that address planning for the future, facility operations, and library programs.
Library programming has included integrating climate change actions into library programs to inspire and engage patrons and the community. In addition to providing opportunities to support community climate change mitigation and adaptation actions and a green innovative economy by providing climate-change related library materials and other resources that will help community businesses and residents learn about climate protection, sustainability, and environmental goods and services (Pledge, 2010). Programs have included film presentations and collaborative displays between local non-profits and government entities, which address climate change.
Sustainable building operations have decreased energy use and improved building performance. Emilie Hauser, the Climate Smart Committee Chair, who is a former library trustee, detailed the library’s efforts in the Fall 2014 issue of JLAMS, picked as the Editor’s Choice Article on “The Sustainability Issue”. Energy Conservation and Sustainability Steps at the Kingston Library describes how free audits were conducted to track energy improvements on electricity use and natural gas consumption, working with local agencies and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). This information was shared with patrons in order to show how energy was being used, and how it could be reduced.
According to Emilie, in order to “go green”, working with local expert sustainability professionals is important, along with engaging the community in the process. It is vital that the library recognize their energy improvements - which may otherwise be invisible to patrons - and to celebrate success.
The Sustainability Spotlight is a weekly series that highlights community-driven, environmentally sound, and economically responsible programs and projects in libraries and other organizations. You can find more projects in the Sustainability Spotlight Archive or visit NYLA's Sustainability Initiative to learn more about how you can get started with sustainability in your library.