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.