Sustainability Initiative (SI) Update

Submitted by Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, NYLA-SI Co-Chair

“Magnificent Seven” - NY libraries embrace sustainability

The New York Library Association’s Sustainability Initiative has chosen seven libraries to take part in its first cohort of Community Change Agents. Participating libraries will collaborate with local stakeholders to create economically sound, socially just, and environmentally responsible communities. The selected libraries and their community partners will identify and address a community challenge during the course of the program.
“We’re making an investment in New York libraries that will help to demonstrate a library’s capacity to serve as conveners and leaders within the community ,” said Jeremy Johannesen, Executive Director of the New York Library Association. “This program will provide the building blocks for public libraries to contribute to the sustainability of their communities.”
The seven libraries participating are:

  1. Ahira Hall Public Library (Brocton, NY)
  2. Cambridge Public Library (Cambridge, NY)
  3. Comsewogue Public Library (Jefferson Station, NY)
  4. Dunkirk Public Library (Dunkirk, NY)
  5. Mechanicville District Public Library (Mechanicville, NY)
  6. Rochester Public Library (Rochester, NY)
  7. South Huntington Public Library (Huntington Station, NY)

This program is made possible, in part, through the generosity of the Public Library Systems Directors Organization of New York State (PULISDO); the Leadership & Management Section and Public Library Section of the New York Library Association (PLS); Suffolk Cooperative Library System (SCLS); Suffolk County Library Association (SCLA); Sandpebble Project Management; Rochester Regional Library Council and the Pioneer Library System.

SI Road Trip

Canandaigua, Castleton-on-Hudson, Corning, Ithaca, Lockport, New Paltz, New York City, Queens, Stony Brook...from one end of New York to the other members of the New York Library Association’s Sustainability Initiative Committee (NYLA-SI) were out and about this spring connecting with libraries of all types, library stakeholders of all types and making new friends with like minded people.

We talked to school librarians at Questar BOCES III, we talked to academic librarians at the ENY/ACRL and SUNYLA Conferences, we talked to youth services librarians at the YSS Conference and we talked to public library directors, staff and trustees at Public Library Systems around the state.

Poster Session Photos courtesy of NYLA-SI Committee Member, and newly elected NYLA Treasurer, Roger Reyes
“Thank you for coming and energizing our group.  I am encouraged by the response!”
- Jen Peet Cannell, School Library System & Arts in Education Director, Questar III

We asked questions. We talked to curious librarians at poster sessions and in exhibit halls. We participated on panel discussions with sustainability leaders outside of the library profession. We listened as much as we talked. And we learned a lot.

NYLA-SI co-sponsored an event with the Queens Library: Agents of Change: The Importance of Sustainability in Public Schools, Universities and Libraries.
The event’s keynote was provided by NYLA-SI co-chairs Rebekkah Smith Aldrich and Matthew Bollerman and featured a who’s who of sustainability leadership in the largest city in the U.S. (the ninth largest city in the world for those playing along at home): New York, NY:

  1. Mark Chambers, Director, Mayor's Office of Sustainability (pictured above)
  2. Meredith McDermott, Director of Sustainability, New York City Department of Education (the largest school system in the country)
  3. Tria Case, University Director of Sustainability and NYSolar Smart, The City University of New York
  4. Alex Mikszewski, Energy Manager, Brooklyn Public Library System
  5. Garrett Bergen, Associate Director of Facilities Management, New York Public Library
  6. Tameka Pierre-Louis, Sustainability and Energy Liaison Officer, Queens Library

The event, organized by Pierre-Louis, was designed to bring together education leaders who can have a big impact on OneNYC - New York City’s blueprint for “inclusive climate action for all New Yorkers across four key visions of Growth, Equity, Sustainability, and Resiliency.” This plan is directed towards the citywide commitment to reduce GHG 80% by 2050 with new investments in renewable energy, electric vehicles, and solid waste management that help improve air quality across the city and bring about an important shift away from carbon-intensive sources of energy.

New York is a pretty awesome state with a lot of smart people working on similar issues like we do. The NYLA-SI is working to ensure we are all going in the same direction: helping to create communities that thrive, can bounce back from disruption and are infused with new and better life for everyone.

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 8-10: 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)

More from NYLA-SI:
Latest Issue of Sustainable Thinking News focuses on Disaster Preparedness
“Agents of Change: The Importance of Sustainability in Public Schools, Universities, and Libraries,” an event co-sponsored by the Queens Library and NYLA-SI featured in Library Journal
Road Map to Sustainability App now available for Android!
Invest in Success! Your donation allows the NYLA Sustainability Initiative to continue its work to create leadership and provide tools to mobilize libraries to think and act sustainably. All donations are 100% tax deductible. Click here to donate.