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NYLA Sustainability Initiative with library building icon on top.

The Newsletter of the NYLA Sustainability Initiative 

Issue 9 | September 2017


The Library Card is a Portal into a Shared Economy

September—and National Library Card Sign-Up month—is here. Are you ready? The Teen Titans are! This is a great opportunity to get people talking about libraries, and for us to showcase all of the fabulous stuff going on—so get wild, visit schools, channel your superpowers, and wear spandex.

Since the Teen Titans are busy, make your community members heroes by building awareness and consensus while inspiring action! Spread the word about the Love Your Library fund, which allows taxpayers to make a donation to the Summer Reading Program, and learn how to combat hate and work for justice. By convening dialogue, organizing resources, and working with our communities we can all create a world where diversity and inclusion are valued and can thrive. This is what the NYLA Sustainability Initiative is all about!



The NYLA Sustainability Initiative’s Road Map has expanded beyond New York’s border as an exemplar to helping communities thrive and bounce back from disruption. Check out the The Future of Libraries Resilience Trend page!

Now that we have your attention, check out the other trends, including the Sharing Economy. You have seen the stories of libraries lending non-traditional items like fishing poles, cake pans, tools, seeds, and humans. This is all part of the sharing economy trend epitomized by AirBnB and Lyft. Libraries enable our patrons to save money and achieve their personal goals without buying more things that could ultimately take up space in storage or wind up in a landfill after not selling at a garage sale.



Start Your Own Action Book Club

How It Works:

1. Sign up your club: Members of your Action Book Club can be friends, classmates, family, a local community organization, or even an existing book club.
2. Read a book: Select a book for your group to read from the Action Book Club’s list of recommendations or choose a book of your own. Read, enjoy, and discuss it.
3. Take action: Carry out a positive community service project with your group. Select an activity from their list or get creative. (And don’t forget to take lots of photos!)
4. Share your story: After you’ve finished your project, tell the NYLA Sustainability Initiative about it. Your experience could inspire more good deeds across the country and around the world. Submit via this online form.


Attend a Professional Development Sustainability Workshop


The Central NY Library Resources Council has put together a workshop “Thinking Outside: Linking the World of Books to Nature Through Environmental Programming. The workshop will survey any existing nature programming and goals of participants, examine the role of strategic partnerships and explore potential program design to meet the needs of diverse audience types. Participants will be encouraged to share program successes and challenges and will leave equipped with ideas on how to apply nature programming in their own unique settings.




Host a Movie Screening

Bring Death By Design to your community or campus and spark an action-oriented conversation about how we can create safer, more sustainable products.

“In an investigation that spans the globe, filmmaker Sue Williams investigates the underbelly of the electronics industry and reveals how even the smallest devices have deadly environmental and health costs. From the intensely secretive factories in China, to a ravaged New York community and the high tech corridors of Silicon Valley, the film tells a story of environmental degradation, of health tragedies, and the fast approaching tipping point between consumerism and sustainability.”  (“The Film.” Death by Design, deathbydesignfilm.com/about)



To give you a taste of the what the 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.

The library collection development policy should incorporate Triple Bottom Line considerations such as: community driven collection development and including a goal to limit wasted energy and natural resources in the library’s collection development policy. Care should be taken to eliminate or reduce items that are not ultimately recyclable.

Benchmark L1: The library collection development policy should incorporate Triple Bottom Line considerations such as: community driven collection development and inclusion of a goal to limit wasted energy and natural resources in the library’s collection development policy. Every effort should be taken to be inclusive as possible when designing and managing the collection.

To date there does not seem to be any evidence that electronic collections are better for the environment than physical items due to the equipment that is needed to read or listen. A physical book can be recycled, reused or repurposed; a computer, smartphone or tablet becomes a challenge to our landfills. Finding a balance between what our communities want, the economic feasibility of providing the services and new media options and the environmental impact will continue to challenge libraries. The days of simple collection development policies may be over.

For further reading check out the following articles:

Greening the Library: Collection Development Decisions by Virginia Connell

10 Ways To Give Weeded Books a Second Life by Laura Bruza

Green Weeding: Library Weeding Practices and the Environmental Footprint by Eric Tans



The Story of Electronics with Annie Leonard

Host Annie Leonard takes viewers from the mines and factories where our gadgets begin to the horrific backyard recycling shops in China where many end up. The film concludes with a call for a green “race to the top” where designers compete to make long-lasting, toxic-free products that are fully and easily recyclable.



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

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 also available to order for $3 each. 

You can order copies here.



Support the Sustainability Initiative Fund

Your donation allows the Sustainability 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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