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NYLA Sustainability Initiative with library building icon on top.

The Newsletter of the NYLA Sustainability Initiative 

Volume 2, Issue 3 | March 2018


Waste Not, Want Not - The Earth Day Edition

On April 22, 1970 an environmental movement was given a voice with the first Earth Day teach in and demonstration.  By the end of 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency was established and the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act were passed.

We don’t need to wait until Earth Day to start thinking about how we are going to be better stewards to our planet. Right now, incentives and swag are being solicited, brainstormed or purchased for upcoming conference booths and Summer Reading programs. 

While trying to attract people to your product or program with stuff, it is important to keep in mind that the long term goal of New York State is to reduce waste disposal to 0.6 pounds per person per day by 2030, by maximizing waste reduction, recycling and resource recovery and significantly reducing the amount of waste destined for management in a municipal waste combustor or for disposal at landfills. Visit the Department of Environmental Conservation Waste Mangement site for more information.



China’s plastic ban means that U.S. recycling centers need to rethink what they will accept.



Plastic was first mass produced in the 1950’s - since then, plastic dominates toy production.  Plastic in our oceans are creating 5 large garbage islands.  




  1. Educate yourself about plastics
    Did you know that the “rubber ducks” kids love are made of vinyl?  They still pass the CPSIA’s regulations for children’s toys. Consider looking for companies that are investing in research and development, like Lego’s initiative to create a sustainable brick.
  2. Talk to your suppliers, vendors and local business owners
    Ask these 3 questions about their products:
    Where does a product come from?
    What is it made of?
    Where does it go at the end of its life? (From the Living Building Challenge)
  3. Rethink your incentive and marketing program
    Sidewalk chalk, seed packets, colored pencils, cookie cutters, bandanas, temporary tattoos (some don’t have plastic), sunprint paper, origami paper, pins, washi tape, natural rubber or wooden toys, deck of cards, silk floss, books, chocolate, cotton tote bags, stainless or bamboo straws, reusable stainless cups, pencils, dot journals, reusable utensils, tea, plastic-free magnets, keyrings, tire pressure gauges, stamped postcards to send to legislators, coupons, experiences and great customer service!

  4. Take the TerraCycle® and Tom's of Maine  #LessWasteChallenge and recycle your old stock and broken toys or consider these 4 Easy Solutions for leftover promos

  5. Don’t be overwhelmed! Remember that small actions make huge impacts. For example, the Queens Public Library has decided to eliminate giving out 1 million less plastic bags each year.



If you are a member of ALA’s Sustainability Round Table, please consider voting for NYLA SI members: Casely Conlin, Lisa Kropp and Scott Kushner for board positions.



The movement has begun. You can be the first on your block to join the Sustainable Library Certification Program. 31 libraries have already signed up to change the way their libraries interact with their communities. Take advantage of special reduced registration pricing by enrolling before 3/31/2018.

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 creation 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.

Reduced Registration Pricing for 2017 has been Extended Through March 31, 2018.

Join the 31 libraries that have made the commitment:

Albany Public Library
Alice Curtis Desmond & Hamilton Fish Library
Canastota Public Library
Hauppauge Public Library
Haverstraw King’s Daughters Public Library
Hendrick Hudson Free Library
Highland Public Library
Kirkland Town Library
Lindenhurst Memorial Library
Mahopac Public Library
Mid-Hudson Library System
North Babylon Public Library
Palisades Free Library
Phoenicia Library RCS Community Library
Rensselaerville Library
Rogers Memorial Library
Saratoga Springs Public Library
Saugerties Public Library
South Huntington Public Library
Starr Library
Suffolk Cooperative Library System
Syosset Public Library
Town of Esopus Library
Ulysses Philomathic Library
Waterville Public Library
West Nyack Free Library
Westhampton Free Library
Wood Library



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.

April 13, 2018 | Urban Librarians Unite Conference | Brooklyn, NY
Sustainable Thinking for the Future of Libraries
Rebekkah Smith Aldrich & Matthew Bollerman

April 28, 2018 | Library Trustee Institute | Long Island Marriott - Uniondale, NY (Nassau County)
Sustainable Thinking for the Future of Libraries
Rebekkah Smith Aldrich

May 24, 2018 | MidYork Library System | Utica, NY
Youth Services & Sustainability Workshop
Rebekkah Smith Aldrich & Lisa Kropp



Libraries Lead is the theme for #NationalLibraryWeek 2018. How are you celebrating at your library?  If you are doing something that is sustainable, use the tag #sustainablenylibraries and @nyla1890 and we will feature your library in April’s newsletter.



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.



You don’t have to be a NYLA member to receive the SI Newsletter, but it would be great to have you join! It's so easy (click here) and we will give you more tools to advocate for your library and the sustainability of all New York State libraries.

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