Sustainability Initiative (SI) Update

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

The 2017 Conference of the New York Library Association was an exciting one for the Sustainability Initiative (NYLA-SI)! The first cohort of the Community Change Agent program began on Wednesday at conference.

Five teams, made up of a library representative and their community partner, attended their first of four day-long sessions over the coming year to begin their work of change agentry! These teams are developing their ideas for how to be catalysts of positive change in their community. Community partners include representatives from a local hospital, a consumer credit counselor, a PTA president, literacy volunteers and a mayor! The teams will next gather together in Albany the day before Advocacy Day in February to fine tune their project plans, learn from each other and get inspired for the work ahead of them.

With a little help from our friends, NYLA-SI produced three programs in addition to the full-day cohort including a customized program for youth services staff:

In partnership with the Youth Services Section we had a standing-room only crowd for  “Sustainability and Youth Services: Grow Your Own!” presented by Lisa Kropp, School Library Journal writer, NYLA-SI co-creator, assistant director of the Lindenhurst Memorial Library, and “a forever children’s librarian” and SI Co-chair Rebekkah Smith Aldrich (shown in the photo above) to explore the massive potential for Youth Services Departments to play a vital role in helping their library be a leader in creating sustainable, resilient communities.

Matthew Bollerman and Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, co-chairs of the Sustainability Initiative Committee provided an introduction to “sustainable thinking” at the “Libraries: A Powerful Platform for Change” program, and made an effective case for why this is quickly becoming one of the hottest strategies today for inspiring your community, school or administration to invest in your library.  Big thanks to the sponsor of this event, the Leadership and Management Section, as well as our co-sponsors:  Public Libraries Section, Ethnic Services Round Table & Intellectual Freedom Round Table.

On Saturday of conference we conducted a focus group to get real world feedback on the Road Map to Sustainability publication and to learn more about what the field needs to help them on their way to thinking more sustainably about the future of their library and, most importantly, their community. We’d like to thank everyone who came to help out! We’re all in this together!

As of conference ten libraries have already signed up for the Sustainable Library Certification Program with three more about to sign up! Newly launched in October, reduced registration pricing is available through the end of 2017. A recording of the introductory webinar is now available at

Check out the new and improved website of the NYLA Sustainability Initiative! At you will now find:

  1. “This just in” section on the landing page that helps you connect with the latest news from the Initiative
  2. Expanded navigation menu on the left hand side helps you quickly get to the resources you’re looking for
  3. Simple Watch, Do, Read, Learn and Contact buttons get you to where you want to go fast!

  1. Sign up for our monthly newsletter and read back issues!
  2. Submit your story of how your library is leading the way to helping your library thrive!
  3. Download the Road Map to Sustainability to your phone or request a digital or print copy!