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NYLA Sustainability Initiative with library building icon on top. 

Issue 3 | March 2017



Zero Waste Is Not Recycling More, But Less  

Zero Waste Is Not Recycling More, But Less
Bea Johnson




Integrate Sustainable Practice into Library Operations

Libraries looking for a clear path forward to create a more sustainable institution and community can benefit from the comprehensive, holistic sustainability program now available to all public libraries in New York State.

Thanks to a collaboration between the New York Library Association and Westchester Green Business any public library in New York State can work with the WGB program to achieve a reduction in energy waste, water, and transportation costs as well as land use and purchasing. By combining workplace practices and behaviors, staff are more engaged to turn off their computers, shut off the lights and bring their own water bottles and mugs for morning coffee

The program, Green Business Certification, provides a turnkey system to successfully integrate sustainable practices into library operations. Library leaders will learn exactly where resources are being wasted and identify opportunities to increase efficiency and save money. Proprietary performance tools are used to calculate the economic and environmental impacts of energy, travel, waste, water, and refrigerants in a library, while staff surveys gauge behavioral impacts.

With funding awarded through Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Cleaner, Greener Communities (CGC) Program, Westchester Green Business has opened access for all public libraries in New York State to this groundbreaking program. It has helped dozens of businesses, nonprofits, and the award-winning Hendrick Hudson Free Library make operational decisions that result in a more sustainable, resilient future for themselves and their communities. This collaboration helps bring to life the Resolution on the Importance of Sustainable Libraries unanimously passed in 2014 by the Council of the New York Library Association.

There are two upcoming opportunities to learn more about the program and its benefits for libraries from Jill Davis, the director of the Hendrick Hudson Free Library, the first library in the state to become certified under this program and Dani Glaser, Westchester Green Business Program Director.

1) At your convenience: Check out this short (10 minute) interview with Jill & Dani

2) Register for a 1-hour webinar for an expanded conversation with Jill and Dani on Wednesday, March 22 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. There will be time for your questions to be answered on this webinar.

Register today

Thanks to this collaboration any public library in New York State may join this program and benefit from the 10% discount for non-profit organizations. Check out the 2017 Membership Rates and access the Membership form.


Create Change on Earth Day 2017

Libraries have long been in the reduce-reuse-recycle business. Way before the first Earth Day celebration kicked off 46 years ago, we’d been resource-sharing and reducing consumption for generations. Earth Day is Saturday, April 22. Don’t miss this opportunity to show your community how the library honors and sustains our most precious resource, our planet.

Here are 5 things you and your library can do using the NYLA Sustainability Initiative Benchmarks*.

1. Establish a partnership with a not-for-profit organization within your community that will expand the library’s scope in the community and address patron needs.

Become a pick up site for a CSA.

The Valley Cottage Library partners with the Rockland Farm Alliance to share in a mutually beneficial relationship with community farmers and the environment.  CSA members become part of the necessary change that will keep organic food production in Rockland for generations to come.
2. Innovate and Engage. Demonstrate that the library is developing new methods, ideas, or services that will positively impact the library’s position in and/or involvement with its community while also benefiting the community.

Start a Seed Library. They are legal in NY State as long as seeds are freely given and not sold.  

The Glen Cove Public Library is launching its seed library on Earth Day this year. This past February it had a seed packing party during a short documentary film festival about food and sustainable farming from Real Food Films.
3. Demonstrate, either through mission statement, resolution, or Board action a commitment to sustainable practices in the area of social sustainability and community resiliency.

The Kingston Library signed the Climate Smart Community Library Pledge in 2010.
4. Provide a least four programs annually on sustainability issues. (Respond  for either previous or current year’s programming.)

Apply for the NASA@MyLibrary STEM education initiative (due March 22) and support STEM learning in your library.  The Mundy Branch of OCPL will be observing clouds and making wind streamers out of recyclable material on Earth Day.  If the library is funded through the grant they will incorporate the August solar eclipse into their “observations.”

5. The library’s collection development policy includes guidelines for the disposal of library materials.  Focus should be on reuse first and recycling second. Care should be taken to eliminate or reduce items that are not ultimately non-recyclable.

Update your policy to include how you dispose of withdrawn materials. The American Library Association has created a LibGuide on book donation programs. 

*These custom benchmarks are currently being field tested. They will be available to all NY libraries in the near future.



Show us what you and your library did for Earth Day!

Tag us at #sustainablenylibraries @nyla1890 .



Certifiably Sustainable - A Clear Path Forward For Your Library

with Jill Davis, Director, Hendrick Hudson Free Library & Dani Glaser,creator and Co-Director of Westchester Green Business

Facilitator: Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, co-chair, New York Library Association Sustainability Initiative Committee & Coordinator for Library Sustainability for the Mid-Hudson Library System

Join us to learn about an exciting and challenging new opportunity for the public libraries of New York State to embark on journey to be a more sustainable library. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Register online


Community Change Agents Information Sessions 

Watch the Community Change Agent Program Overview.

Join the NYLA Sustainability Initiative's Community Change Agents in a live webinar to hear in detail about how you can apply to attend our year long training program designed to strengthen the library's place in the community.   Learn more about the topics of the four training sessions, what the requirements are to apply,  and how to become an active participant devoted to positive change in the three areas of sustainability.

Tuesday April 18, 2017 
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday April 26, 2017 
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Register online


SENY-Con 2017

SENY-Con is an annual conference to highlight the unique talents and skills that are held by the library professionals in the Southeastern region. This event is made possible due to an outpouring of enthusiasm from our members, and the event is free for all SENYLRC members. We hope you can join us! 

Presentations this year include: NYLA Sustainability Initiative, Claudia Depkin, Haverstraw King's Daughters Public Library, Casey Conlin, Poughkeepsie Public Library District

Friday, April 21, 2017
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Registration and more information.


Save the Date

Sustainable Thinking for the Future of New York Libraries

Public Library Association Webinar - April 12
NIOGA Library System - April 19 & 20
Rochester Regional Library Council - April 28
Queens Library - May 19
Southern Tier Library System - June 9

Want to have the Sustainability Initiative come to your region?  

Contact nyla-si@nyla.org for more information.


Get the Road Map App

A resource to get libraries started and keep them moving towards sustainability.

Copies of the Road Map booklet are available to order for $3 each. 
You can order copies here.

The Roadmap 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.

You can also download the NYLA Sustainability Road Map App for iOs devices!
(Android App coming soon!)


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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