Wendell Berry says that “husbandry is … the art of keeping tied all the strands in the living network that sustains us.”
One of the very best things about living in Vermont is the living thing. From spring’s first green gracing the fields to the touch of frost on the trees, our landscape informs our lives. I am fortunate to enfold this love of landscape into my work and seek to do this in as many ways as possible. For me, maintaining “the strands in the living network” involves a focus on local, community-based and resilient programs and practices.
Since I became the director here 5 years ago, we’ve added compost bins to our kitchen, a Transition Town garden to our town green and many programs on creating and maintaining sustainability in our community. In addition to the pantry garden we plan, tend and harvest each year, these programs include presentations on Slow Money, sustainable landscaping, net zero home energy, and local eating as well as the establishment of a local seed library. The newest and most ambitious project for which the library is a partner is a storm water education and mediation program called “Ahead of the Storm,” demonstrating the use of rain barrels and development of a rain garden. All of these efforts spring from the library staff and library board’s belief in and support of sustainability.
Therefore, it was with great delight and anticipation that I attended “Sustainable Thinking,” the Master Series Talk by Rebekkah Smith Aldrich at ALA Midwinter 2016. Her mission to make libraries the heart of sustainable, resilient communities resonated with me personally and with everything we try to do here at the Charlotte Library. The presentation, combined with the chance to meet up with SustainRT members, provoked my interest in applying to be a Member-at-Large for this roundtable. I hope to carry the energy and enthusiasm we’ve built in our small Vermont library to the wider ALA community and work to make sustainability a natural and continuing focus of libraries everywhere, to act to bring those strands together.
-Margaret Woodruff, Director, Charlotte Library, Charlotte VT