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The Newsletter of the NYLA Sustainability Initiative

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Volume 2, Issue 6 | June 2018


Get Out! Engagement Beyond Library Walls

Walking the Walk: Making Summer Reading Healthy For All

With the long term goal of New York State to reduce waste disposal to 0.6 pounds per person per day by 2030 - we are at about four pounds per person per day today, a group of Youth Services consultants got together to discuss waste reduction for the Summer Reading program. Sharon Phillips, Youth Services Coordinator from the New York State Library’s Division of Library Development, met with Sue Rokos and Sharon O’Brien of the Mohawk Valley Library System (MVLS), Kerstin Cruger of the Mid-Hudson Library System (MHLS), Jack Scott of the Southern Adirondack Library System (SALS), and Jen Ferriss who represented the NYLA-SI, to figure out how to make green purchasing decisions easy for libraries when it comes to the summer reading program. We will be working on resources, like an Incentive Roadmap and talking points for vendor discussions, which will include a collaborative space to share what we learn. The State is going to add a few questions to the Summer Reading annual report to capture data on incentives that we will be able to use to have discussions with vendors, the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP), and our local library staff. The switch to no incentives or products that are not throwaways will help libraries save time and money, as well as align and support the values of the young families who participate in the summer reading program.

Youth Services consultants got together to discuss waste reduction for the Summer Reading program.


Cambridge Public Library Community Change Agents: Director Christina Becker and village Mayor Carman Boyle

Cambridge Public Library Community Change Agents: Director Christina Becker and village Mayor Carman BoyleThe Cambridge Public Library is located in rural Washington County, bordering western Vermont. Rolling hills, fields, and waterways separate the hamlets and townships that make up the Cambridge School District, a funding source that extends the chartered village support. Geography, the agriculture industry, and small town roots have challenged the library to serve its expanded community over the past 20 years.  

Christina Becker, the director of the library, and Carman Boyle, the Village of Cambridge's mayor, teamed up for the NYLA-SI Community Change Agents program. Initially thoughts of solar panels and broadband connectivity percolated as potential projects for the pair, but things changed as they worked through the program. Christina has completely changed the way she thinks about things. Now, every purchase and decision considers the triple bottom line - from purchasing toner for her printers, to developing programs for her community. Quickly, solar panels and leading on broadband were taken off the project list after working with their mentor, Margo Gustina. By conducting an environmental scan and hosting community focus groups, the team tailored their project to meet the Cambridge community needs and aspirations.

The village of Cambridge found out it was the recipients of phase 3 of the “Broadband for All” initiative. Unfortunately the outlying areas of the library community will have spotty access to broadband. Christina wants to make sure everyone has access to resources and is willing to go beyond their walls to make this happen. The library is in the process of purchasing mobile hotspots to use in pop-up libraries throughout the school district, focusing on areas where farming families live and can’t easily get to the library for programs and information.  

How does the village mayor fit in with providing services beyond her jurisdiction? Carman is not originally from Cambridge, yet she was embraced by the community - she is forward thinking and cares for the entire Cambridge School District, not just within the village boundaries. She has helped create bridges to conversations with the other town government officials; she is supportive and has opened doors. As a result of the CCA program, Carman heard that many community members are not fully aware of what is happening; from events to important legislation or village news. She asked her village trustee and Christina to develop a print and digital newsletter. The library will have a section in the newsletter, but otherwise this is a government initiative.  

“The whole [Community Change Agents] program has been fantastic. There is no end to this.” stated Christina. The future holds many exciting initiatives that were inspired through the CCA program by listening to the other teams discuss their projects. In order to build community, the library will set up at the Farmer’s Market and work with the co-op. There is a three-library partnership spanning two counties to provide adult literacy to the region after a local non-profit organization reached capacity and could not sustain its work in the rural areas of their jurisdiction. The library is working with the Alzheimer Association to create a support group for Eastern Washington County family members. With health care facilities in Vermont or Saratoga Springs -up to an hours drive away- support groups at a local level are needed. The library is ready to meet the community’s need. Cambridge Central Schools is known for its athletics, and a sports equipment exchange is in the initial planning stages.

The Cambridge team has learned a lot about aspirations and sustainability. The cohort is a close knit group who share ideas and emails on a regular basis. Christina hopes to pay it forward to the library community by sharing her experiences and what she has learned.


Free Library WiFi @ the Nature Center

WiFi at the Five Rivers Environmental Education CenterIn 2014 Governor Cuomo announced a partnership between the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks), Toyota, and American Park Network to provide free WiFi in the four busiest parks. Although the point of being outside is to experience and use your five senses, many people also want to use their phones to facilitate learning experiences. What was that bird? That tree is cool, what is it called?  Having the ability to look up the answers without using a data plan is a service that many people on a budget appreciate. Bethlehem Public Library decided to invest in its local park and install WiFi at the Five Rivers Environmental Education Center.

As part of an ongoing effort to make sure the library’s services reach patrons where they are, Bethlehem Public Library is offering free year-round WiFi at the center in one of the first DEC/public library partnerships for WiFi in New York State. Patrons can now connect to “Free Library WiFi” when they’re out and about at Five Rivers picnicking, hiking, or exploring the nature center.
This network is in addition to “Free Library WiFi” at the Bethlehem town park and pool, and  inside and outside the library building. Whenever people see “Free Library WiFi” show up on their devices they’ll know they’ve tapped into the library’s growing digital network that provides Internet access all over town.




Solving Climate Change: a Blueprint

Katharine Wilkinson talks about "Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming." - She will be one of the keynote speakers at Drawdown Learn this Fall at the Omega Institute.  NYLA is an organizational partner for this event so look for more information in future newsletters, by email and on our Facebook Group newsfeed.

SOLD OUT Our brand new webinar series kicks off June 20 with Disaster Planning and Community Resiliency at Your Library will be recorded.  Make sure to keep up with our newsletters to find out when the recording will be available.

Save the Dates for the next two webinars in the 2019 SI Webinar Series

September 5: Green Procurement: NYS Office of General Services with Todd Gardner, Office of General Service Green Procurement Team

October 10: Libraries Contribute to Economic Development with Barbara Madonna, Director, Gloversville Public Library


GET with the PROGRAM

The movement has begun. You can be the first on your block to join the Sustainable Library Certification Program. Nearly 40 libraries statewide have signed up to change the way they interact with their communities.

This cutting-edge, one-of-a-kind benchmarking system helps you position your library as a community leader, helping to make the world a better place while proving that libraries are a smart investment for our future.

The program will lead your library’s administration, board, and staff through a series of activities to foster an organizational culture in your library that will position the library to contribute to the realization of a more sustainable, resilient, and regenerative community.

A recording of the introductory webinar is now available on NYLA's YouTube Channel. Read the press release and FAQs about the program, talk to your administration and board, then join the program and get on your way to being a Certified Sustainable Library.




Want to keep up with the NYLA-SI Road Show and follow up on some of our news stories?  
Join our group on Facebook NYLA Sustainability Initiative Group.




Download the NYLA Sustainability Road Map App

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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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