Sustainability Round Table Community

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A working space for the Sustainability Round Table.

Round Table proposal 

Jan 09, 2013 08:56 AM

Librarians have historically engaged at the forefront of societal concerns and social movements, providing the place, the people and the resources to educate, inspire and connect their communities. Sustainability is a multi-fold path for rethinking and remaking our society more equitable, healthy and economically viable for all. As we proceed deeper into the digital age, libraries will play an even more important role in steering users toward information to stablize, sustain and rejuvenate systems that support  life.

Stretching beyond environmental awareness to include issues of economic viability and social justice concerns, sustainability affords libraries ample opportunities for education, outreach, research and funding.

Libraries are already taking the lead on sustainability projects including designing and building LEED certified library buildings; implementing green practices such as recycling and energy conservation; expanding collections; collaborating with community groups and hosting events and exhibits. Librarians are also participating in sustainability committees, teaching sustainability in their classrooms, and cultivating relationships within their communities regarding food systems, transportation, energy use, waste management, diversity issues and alternative economies.

Clearly there is a need for librarians to stay abreast of the wave of change in order to support this expanding area and to cultivate leadership roles in their respective communities during this transformational time in our society.

The mission of the Sustainability Round Table (SustainRT) is to provide the following:

  • A professional forum for librarians to exchange ideas and concerns regarding sustainability in order to move toward a more equitable, healthy and economically viable society.
  • Resources for the library community to support sustainability through curriculum development; collections; exhibits; events; advocacy, communication and library buildings and space design.



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Jan 25, 2013 11:41 PM

In order to provide more specific focus to librarians' efforts to address sustainability, I'd like to propose some elements around which proposals for actions could be built. The three elements would be

  1. Library buildings and other elements of physical operations: energy efficiency, efficient design, etc. (what is usually meant by "green libraries")
  2. Library collections, both physical and electronic. This would include both providing physical/electronic access and organization but also promotion of resources in response to the community's expressed or perceived needs
  3. Library social contributions: the organization of other people's information related to sustainability, the promotion of librarians traditional values which includes the sharing of community resources.

These might be useful if ALA councilors or administrators ask for more specifics about the kinds of issues the round table might address.


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