Frequently Asked Questions



What is the NYLA Sustainability Initiative?

The Sustainability Initiative is a response to the passage by the NYLA Council of the Resolution on the Importance of Sustainable Libraries in February 2014. It’s a team of co-creators working together to embed the goals of the Resolution in the work of all types of libraries.

The Resolution was passed in recognition of the essential nature of libraries and the need for libraries to be proactively planning for a vibrant future both for themselves and for their communities. In order to be sustainable, libraries need to partner in community conversations about resiliency and climate change.



Is there a purpose statement?

Of course there is!

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.



What does that mean?

Sustainability is way more than solar panels and LED lights. It’s the capacity to thrive. It’s stable funding, environmental stewardship, social justice and being community-driven. We want libraries to partner with and revitalize their communities. By doing so, we help the libraries remain vital and viable components of the community they serve.



What are some examples of libraries doing sustainable things?

There are a lot of libraries and organizations in New York and beyond putting sustainable thinking into practice. Visit our Sustainability Spotlights Archive to see these libraries in action.



So what are you actually doing?

In addition to the creation of a Road Map, webinars, and newsletters that describe sustainable thinking, we’ve developed two separate programs you can take advantage of:

The Sustainable Library Certification Program is a two-part benchmarking system designed to walk you through the process of becoming a certified sustainable library. Tools for public libraries are in place, and we’re working with Green Ribbon Schools and  AASHE STARS to develop similar systems for school and academic libraries.

The Community Change Agents Program will train you and a community partner as the leaders for your community’s transformation. More info here.



Who's on the team?

For a current list of Sustainability Initiative Committee members, click here.



How can I learn more about this effort?

Go to our webpage for more information.

Read NYLA’s Resolution on the Importance of Sustainable Libraries.

Read the Sustainability Initiative’s White Paper.

Read our Sustainability Spotlight articles.



We’ve got a project going that fits with these ideas. Who do I tell?

Let us know with this form!



I still have questions. Who do I ask?

Contact us here.