Sustainability Initiative (SI) Update
Submitted by Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, NYLA-SI Co-Chair
NYLA Council Approves Sustainable Library Certification Program; Historic Decision Launches First Benchmarking Initiative of Its Kind
Upon the recommendation of the Sustainability Initiative Committee, NYLA Council has approved a one-of-a-kind opportunity for New York’s public libraries to step up as sustainability leaders in their communities: The Sustainable Library Certification Program.
Council approved the program at their August 10, 2017 meeting, on the recommendation of the NYLA Sustainability Initiative Committee (NYLA-SI), to help realize the goals of the Council’s own Resolution on the Importance of Sustainable Libraries. That resolution, passed February 6, 2014, articulated the commitment by NYLA to “...enthusiastically encourage activities by its membership – and itself - to be proactive in their application of sustainable thinking in the areas of their facilities, operations, policy, technology, programming and partnerships.”
The Sustainable Library Certification Program’s cutting-edge benchmarking system is designed to help libraries improve their “triple bottom line” as environmental stewards, economically feasible institutions and as community leaders that place great stock in social equity.
“This initiative exemplifies the commitment of NYLA and our member libraries to community leadership,” said Barbara Stripling, President of the New York Library Association. “It is our willingness to take on important issues, and help our communities find solutions, that ensures that libraries will always be an integral part of our communities.”
Organizations that achieve Certification through this program will:
“NYLA is thrilled to serve as a conduit for this important work, bringing together the efforts and passions of the dedicated members of the Sustainability Initiative,” said Jeremy Johannessen, NYLA Executive Director. “This certification program serves as an important step in ensuring the long-term vitality of the libraries in our state.”
The Committee has worked to create and assess a custom process modeled on what has proven successful in other industries - from the business world (e.g. B Corporation certification), to the world of construction (e.g. Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certification), to academia (e.g. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System). This tool fills the void in the library field.
The Sustainable Libraries Certification Program will be the first of its kind in the nation, if not the world. The program is designed to lead a library’s administration, board, and staff through a series of questions and activities that ultimately lead to creating a more sustainable, resilient, and regenerative library that is well positioned to help its community thrive.
This program is open to all public libraries in New York. There is a discounted rate structure through the end of 2017 for early adopters. Versions for the academic and school library community are currently in development.
To learn more please visit nyla.org/sustainability and sign up for one of the introductory webinars being offered this fall:
Please register online for the session that works best for you.
On the Road Report: SI team members will be at the following events. Don’t miss out on hearing the latest news on sustainability and libraries.
Interested in having NYLA-SI come and visit your library or organization to talk about “Sustainable Thinking for Libraries”? Just ask!