Sustainability Initiative (SI) Update

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

“I know NYLA [is] working … to lead on sustainability and I think this is fantastic. This means not just environmental and climate smart practices but also economic sustainability and social equity. Libraries are, arguably, our most democratic institutions anywhere. Our library systems are pioneers of shared services, of adaptive reuse and of the” think local” movement.”

-Assemblymember Didi Barrett, Chair, Assembly Standing Committee on Libraries and Education Technology, January 10, 2018

When Assemblymember Didi Barrett, the new chair of the New York State Assembly’s Standing Committee on Libraries and Education Technology, kicked off the recent public hearing on library aid with her take on why libraries are critically important to New York and quoted the NYLA Road Map to Sustainability we think it is safe to say our message is getting out there!

More about the hearing from the New York State Library “The primary intent of the hearing was for Assembly Committee members to learn more about the impact of the 2017/2018 State Budget on the New York State’s public libraries and library systems. The 2017/2018 State Budget included $24 million in capital funding for library construction and the allocation of $95.6 million in State aid for libraries and library systems. Copies of written testimonies and the video recording of the January 10, 2018 Assembly Standing Committee on Libraries and Education Technology public hearing on library funding are now available on the Creating the Future: A 2020 Vision webpage.
Witnesses provided compelling local examples of such needs, while also emphasizing the positive impact on local communities of the State Aid for Library Construction capital funds and increased State funding for library system operations. Witnesses also provided Assembly Committee members with ideas as to how the State of New York could further assist local communities, libraries, library systems and the New York State Library in improving library services for all New Yorkers.”

We are pleased to announce that 25 libraries across the state have signed up for the NYLA Sustainable Library Certification Program! These libraries are currently hard at work on energy and water conservation measures, calculating their Greenhouse Gas Emissions and greening their purchasing habits among many other things! The SI Committee was very pleased to learn that NYLA itself will be the 100th organization to join the Green Business Partnership (formerly Westchester Green Business)!

Sustainable Thinking News, the newsletter of the NYLA Sustainability Initiative, continues to grow! Since our last report to you in November we have seen a 51% increase in subscribers, we’re now hovering around 350 subscribers. Recent issues focused on:

Be a Library Advocate - January, 2018
Local Supports Local - December, 2017

You can subscribe today online!

The Community Change Agents Cohort will have their second of four in-person meetings on pre-Advocacy Day (February 27). Their full-day, interactive experience will focus on project management (with help from Ron Kirsop of the Pioneer Library System who is aiding the NYLA Sustainability Initiative for this program) and advocacy techniques to help build support for their project. Since their last meeting the five teams have been busy with community engagement work, identifying aspirations in their community by using the Community Conversation tool from the American Library Association’s Libraries Transforming Communities program.  Participating libraries include:

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