Your Name and Title: Annemarie Gordon, Sustainability Coordinator

Library, School, or Organization Name: Sustainable Libraries Initiative

Co-Presenter Name(s): Annemarie Gordon and other SLI Participants

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: New York, US

Language in Which You Will Present: English

Target Audience(s): Library Staff, Library Administration, Administration, Library Trustees, School Librarians, Academic Librarians, MLIS/MLS Students

Short Session Description (one line): Representatives from the Sustainable Libraries Initiative will lead an interactive discussion focusing on how libraries can take action on addressing climate change in their communities through the lens of ‘triple bottom line’ sustainability.

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

Since the ALA’s adoption of sustainability as a core value of librarianship in 2019 and more recently, as highlighted by Patty Wong in her inaugural address at the 2021 ALA Conference, this issue is rising in prominence not just among library professionals among library professionals, but in society at large. The recent release of the IPCC’s Sixth Report, the summer of 2020’s racial reckoning, and the financial insecurity felt by so many due to the COVID pandemic all contribute to a sense of urgency for taking action toward a more sustainable future. The scale of these problems is immense and can easily become overwhelming. There is a clear need for guidance on how library leaders can infuse sustainable thinking into action within their libraries and communities. This interactive discussion, featuring leaders from the Sustainable Libraries Initiative (SLI), will focus on how libraries can take an active, visible role in building sustainable and resilient communities. 

We will share examples from our organization’s experience working with libraries of various sizes and locations including how many have found ways to reduce their dependence on greenhouse gases and limit waste in library operations and construction. Additionally, we will explore how libraries can work with their communities to prepare for local climate related dangers and educate about how libraries are helping to provide broadband, cooling, heating, and assistance in navigating federal relief after a disaster. We will discuss strategies for working within our communities to acknowledge and mitigate the disproportionate impact of climate change on traditionally underserved communities.

The SLI is an award-winning initiative that offers a step by step guide to incorporating sustainable decision-making strategies in your libraries’ policies and practice to bring about organizational transformation. Our presentation will focus on examples from different library settings where the triple bottom line definition of sustainability was used as a guiding factor in all areas of library operations. This triple bottom line definition of sustainability aspires to steer decision-making to the point where environmental stewardship, social equity, and economic feasibility are all considered and equally satisfied. This innovative way of thinking will prepare your library for future disruption and help support your organization and your community’s resilience.


Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session:


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