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NYLA Sustainability Initiative with library building icon on top.

The Newsletter of the NYLA Sustainability Initiative 

Issue 8 | August 2017


The total solar eclipse on Monday August 21st will be a rare astronomical treat for the United States. NASA has put together tons of information on their Eclipse 101 page, including art and activity projects, a music playlist, a live stream for those who can’t see it in person, plus lots and lots of actual science!



The Chromatics sing about the sun.



So do They Might Be Giants!



Get Funding

Tis the season for completing the grant application for the State Aid for Public Library Construction Program. Awards for solar panels and geothermal HVAC systems have totaled more than $3,736,000 since 2007-08, with nearly half a million dollars awarded this year alone. Read about NYSL’s focus on going green then find out more information about the application here. Be sure to check in with your local library system for assistance.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA)  offers many different funding opportunities for solar installations. Start here or call 312-280-5107.

The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) also administers some grants that could be utilized for capital improvements such as solar. These grants require a state legislator to advocate for your project, so you’ll need to do some groundwork before applying for either the State and Municipal Facilities Program (SAM) or the Communities Capital Assistance Program (CCAP) More information can be found at the DASNY website.

EBSCO has demonstrated their commitment to reducing their environmental footprint and showing communities the benefits of environmental responsibility by establishing a Solar Grant. This year two libraries received a $100,000 grant to install solar. Maybe yours could be next. Check their website for the application deadline for their 2018 awards.

The Suffolk County Library System was awarded a construction grant of $224,454 for solar panels. SCLS Assistant Director of Business and Operations, Roger Reyes says, “On behalf of the 56 Public Libraries in Suffolk County, we are proud to be fulfilling our goal of being community leaders in sustainability. SCLS plans to continue our solar initiative over the next few years by installing solar carports and ultimately having the capacity to store solar energy for use at peak demand times.” Check out this cool time-lapse video of the April 2017 install.




Don’t fry your eyeballs! It may be too late to order eclipse viewing glasses for your patrons, but there’s still time to construct your own pinhole viewer.

A Pizza Box Solar Oven is a simple and fun activity to warm up some treats like cookies or s’mores. Disclaimer: August 21st may not be the best day for this activity!


Try out our Benchmark of the Month!

To give you a taste of the what our Sustainable Library Certification Program will look like, each month we’re featuring a Benchmark of the Month. We’ll highlight some of the steps along the way that will result in your library achieving sustainability.

Benchmark #13: Demonstrate an innovative method, idea, or service that will demonstrate social engagement with the community fits nicely with our solar theme.


The San Francisco Public Library’s solar paneled bookmobile takes charge of this concept. Their Green Bookmobile runs on 20% biodiesel for fuel and consumes the energy it generates for internal lighting. The Bookmobile houses an environmental collection and makes stops at all kinds of events around SF, from farmers markets to festivals.



Tag us at #sustainablenylibraries @nyla1890



Interested in having NYLA-SI come and visit your library or organization to talk about “Sustainable Thinking for Libraries”? Just ask!

SI team members will be at the following events. Don’t miss out on hearing the latest news on sustainability and libraries.

October 13 (Staff) & 14  (Trustees): Monroe County Library System, Rochester, NY

November 8-11: NYLA Annual Conference, Saratoga Spring, NY

Wednesday, November 8: Community Change Agents Event #1 (invitation only)

Thursday, November 9: Libraries are a Powerful Platform for Change (3:45-5:15p)

Friday, November 10: Youth Services Sustainability, Growing Our Own (9:00-10:00a)

Saturday, November 11: Show Us Your Road Map! (9:30-10:30)




Download the NYLA Sustainability Road Map App

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The Road Map is a resource to get libraries started and keep them moving towards sustainability.          

The Road Map is also available as a PDF for free when you sign up for the Sustainability Initiative mailing list.

Click here to sign up for the mailing list and request a PDF of the Roadmap.

Copies of the Road Map booklet are alsoo available to order for $3 each. 

You can order copies here.



Support the Sustainability Initiative Fund

Your donation allows the Susatinability Initiative to continue its work:

To create leadership and provide tools to mobilize libraries to think and act sustainably.
In a way that builds awareness and consensus while inspiring action by members of the library community to own their role as sustainability leaders in their communities,
So that communities thrive, bounce back from disruption and are infused with new and better life for everyone.

All donations are 100% tax deductible.

Click here to donate.




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