Having trouble viewing this email? Click here to view as a webpage.


NYLA Sustainability Initiative with library building icon on top. 

Issue 6 | June 2017



You use paper towels to dry your hands every day, but chances are, you're doing it wrong. In this enlightening and funny short talk, Joe Smith reveals the trick to perfect paper towel technique.



UAlbany MBA Team Sheds Light on Sustainable Initiatives for BPL

As part of an ongoing effort to seek sustainable solutions in its day-to-day operation, Bethlehem Public Library recently teamed up with students in the UAlbany G3: Going Green Globally program to identify green practices that would also benefit the library’s bottom line.
The students, who were wrapping up their first year of the full-time MBA program at UAlbany, toured the library in April to get a preliminary sense of the space and the library’s sustainability goals before returning the second week in May for an intensive look at ways to make green practices an economically viable part of the library’s future.
After a busy week of gathering information, the team prepared white papers with research and global benchmarking of sustainability issues relevant to the library. They followed up with a final presentation on May 17 outlining their findings, along with best practices suggestions resulting in an expected $50,000 to $100,000 in savings.
The team’s recommendations for the library included switching to LED lighting throughout the building, consolidating printers and introducing automatic hand dryers. All of these projects would see a return on investment within two years, as well as significant decreases in energy consumption and paper usage. The team also calculated the costs for some longer term sustainability goals like the installation of solar panels and the addition of an electric car charging station, as well as the use of an electric vehicle for library business.
Bethlehem Library Director Geoffrey Kirkpatrick said implementing some of the team’s suggestions would be a no-brainer in terms of the benefits to the library and the community.
“I was surprised to see how quickly we could recoup the expenses for some of these projects,” he said. “That’s exactly why having our own team of consultants was so valuable – they were able to break down into dollars and cents the sustainable solutions that we already know make sense from an environmental standpoint.”
The Bethlehem Library Board of Trustees made the commitment to working with the UAlbany team in the fall of 2016, approving the $1,000 participation fee. During the week that the G3 team was on site, staffers were available at all times to provide information vital to the team’s research. Kirkpatrick said it was an investment that more than paid off.
“If you were to hire an outside consultant for this type of work, you could expect to pay close to $10,000, but beyond that, the work these students have done allows us to evaluate future projects from a sustainable perspective, knowing that we can make environmentally friendly choices within our budget constraints,” Kirkpatrick said.

From left, Bethlehem Library Director Geoffrey Kirkpatrick, Trustee Mark Kissinger, and G3 team members Andrew Fraistat, Tom Maffucci, William Winsman, Cristal Perez, Goonwattie Surajpal, Saijan Akshay Kumar Chutke and Shreya Jain, along with team coach Kim Phelan stand for pictures at the conclusion of the May 17 presentation.


UAlbany MBA students toured Bethlehem Public Library Tuesday, April 18, in advance of their G3: Going Green Globally evaluation of the library, which highlights sustainable practices.



build a better world logo

We couldn’t have asked for a more on-the-nose summer reading theme for New York’s libraries than this year’s Build a Better World. It lands right in our sweet spot of addressing all sides of the Triple Bottom Line, and it’s ultimately the reason the Sustainability Initiative was created. (What’s the Triple Bottom Line? We’re so glad you asked! This and other questions are answered in our Glossary).

We asked readers to share their summer reading club ideas that incorporate sustainability. Here are a few:


Who: Kate Shea
Where: Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
What: The B&ECPL is undertaking a program called "Passport to Reading," which is a free, fun, family-friendly library system contest running from June 17– September 30, encouraging the public to visit all 37 Buffalo & Erie County Public Libraries and the Library on Wheels bookmobile. The goal of Passport to Reading is for folks to visit and get their Passport stamped at each Library. This is a great way to promote the many wonderful services our individual libraries offer, and it ties in well to this year’s “Build a Better World” Summer Reading theme.
All of the libraries in the B&ECPL system represent their own distinct neighborhoods and communities. By traveling to all 37 locations, patrons will be exposed to every corner of Western New York, helping us to build a better world through exposure to different cultures, experiences, and neighborhoods.


Who: Karen Swartz
Where: Oswego Public Library
What: We will be having Habitat For Humanity present a program and will make a flower box to donate to a Habitat house. We are having a program to make placemats and napkin rings to donate to Meals On Wheels when they present a program. We are also going to collect money to donate to Alex's Lemonade Stand a Foundation for Childhood Cancer in conjunction with our Acts of Kindness Storyhour.


Who: Lisa Kropp
Where: Lindenhurst Memorial Library
What: We are starting our second season with a Community Garden in our backyard. Youth, teens, and adults volunteer time to help plant and maintain the garden. We give away herbs and vegetables at the circulation desk throughout the summer. This year, we are also going to have a presence at the local farmer's market for ten weekends, from June 3 - October 28. We will give away library grown veggies and herbs, sign folks up for library services, and talk about sustainable communities and how our patrons can get involved through the library.


Who: Maryann Donadio
Where: Town of Esopus Library
What:  We are partnering with the American Red Cross to host a blood donation drive this summer. Approximately every 2 seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. By hosting a blood drive, we are looking to help community members at a national level.
We will also be partnering with the Ulster County Office of the Aging to host a six-week workshop on Chronic Disease Self-Management, which will provide those with chronic illnesses and those who care for them information on health, wellness, and setting reachable goals to lead healthier lifestyles. In addition, the Ulster County Office of the Aging will be providing Hands Only CPR training to all interested patrons at our facility.


What to Do with All That Water?

Human-induced climate change has taught us to expect more intense weather events, specifically related to water. With the increased intensity of rainfall and single-day extreme weather, you’ve got to do something with all that runoff. Four public libraries in the state have taken active steps to help mitigate stormwater runoff and pollution. These libraries have made great strides in showcasing the environmental stewardship portion of the Triple Bottom Line.

Porous Pavements
The Mountain Top Library  and Lindenhurst Memorial Library  have installed porous pavement solutions for their parking lots.

Mountain Top Library


Lindenhurst Memorial Library’s porous pavers absorb water and filter solid pollutants.


Rain Gardens
Valley Cottage Library and the Kingston Library have both created rain gardens implementing bioswales and plantings. Read about Kingston’s project on the Department of Environmental Conservation website and Valley Cottage’s on their site.



Tag us at #sustainablenylibraries @nyla1890



The Sustainable Library Certification uses a two part program to evaluate sustainability in public libraries.
Part 1: Organizational Commitment, Energy, Waste & Recycling, Purchasing, Water, & More
Part 1 of NYLA’s Sustainable Library certification path is now open for public libraries and public library systems.

Watch this video to learn how to become certified.

Sign up with our partner, Westchester Green Business, to get started.
(Discounted pricing available through 2017)

Part 2: Partnerships, Community Involvement, Social Equity & Resiliency, Financial Sustainability & Collections

Part 2 of the certification path for public libraries is currently being tested in 10 libraries around the state through the NYLA-SI Benchmarking Pilot Program. Our hope is to launch the full certification path at the 2017 NYLA Conference in Saratoga Springs.

Contact us at nyla-si@nyla.org to learn more or to sign up for certification.



SI Road Trip!

Members of the Sustainability Initiative will be on the road this spring, taking the message to where you are! Don't miss the chance to hear what "Sustainable Thinking" for libraries is all about and how you can get started at your library.! 

  • June 15: Poster Session at the SUNYLA Conference @ Stony Brook University
  • ALA Annual 2017:  http://2017.alaannual.org/ 
  • NYLA Annual 2017: Sessions haven’t been announced yet, but the SI submitted several ideas and we’re sure to have something to say. Check back!

Want to have the Sustainability Initiative come to your region?  

Request a workshop.



Download the NYLA Sustainability Road Map App

app store logo          play store logo

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.




You don’t have to be a NYLA member to receive the SI Newsletter, but it would be great to have you join! It's so easy (click here) and we will give you more tools to advocate for your library and the sustainability of all New York State libraries.

Don’t let spam blockers make you miss your opportunity to hear about all of our upcoming opportunities. Please add nyla-sustainability@list.nyla.org to your address book so our monthly newsletters get to you first.

If you would like to subscribe to the NYLA Sustainability Initiative eNewsletter, click here.

If you would no longer like to receive the NYLA Sustainability Initiative eNewsletter, click here.