Green Warriors Help NYLA Increase Sustainability Awareness

Submitted by Maggie Foster

G3 Members pose with NYLA's Sustainability Initiative Members.

Green Warriors Help NYLA Increase Sustainability Awareness
The New York Library Association (NYLA) worked with the Green Warriors, a team of MBA students from the University at Albany (SUNY), to develop initial stages of a program that would assist member libraries and their local communities advance sustainable practices. As part of the university’s Going Green Globally (G3) annual initiative, the Green Warriors focused on developing environmentally sustainable solutions and secured a relationship with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to help reduce costs for libraries and increase community-wide sustainability awareness.
Site Visits
The team embarked on an intensive, in-person study of three public libraries in the Albany, NY area: Brunswick Community Library, Troy Public Library, and Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library. Study results revealed that almost 50% of libraries are 60+ years old, with an average electric bill of $29,000, and LEDs (known to be more efficient, durable, and longer lasting) only accounts for 20% of the total lighting.
Melinda Taormina, Head of Youth Services, at Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, was lucky enough to provide the Green Warriors with their tour of the facilities. Sustainable features, such as carpets and counters made from recycled materials, drought-resistant plants, bricks that don’t absorb light from the sun, and locally made furniture, all come together to reduce the library’s environmental impact and energy usage. A highlight of the visit was a look at the library’s daylight harvesting system, which offsets the amount of electric light used by monitoring ambient natural light. As Melinda said to the G3 team, “When we give tours to young students we tell them that the Library is one of the biggest recyclers around as our materials are shared by thousands and go in and out to different users every day.”
Word cloud in the form of a tree. G3 Results
Projects proposed by the Green Warriors included a community outreach program funded by NYSERDA to train librarians on presenting sustainability programs for their communities on such topics as climate change adaptation and waste management. The team also recommended the creation of an office of sustainability to assist NYLA member libraries in defining, implementing, monitoring and assessing sustainable practices.
If you’re interested in learning more about the NYLA Sustainability Initiative, please contact Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Coordinator for Library Sustainability, with the Mid-Hudson Library System, at








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.