Candidate for ALA President – Terri Grief

Thank you for the opportunity to post on the Sustainability Roundtable blog.

Librarians are leaders in knowledge dissemination and have a battle ahead of us with the current administration. The actions that the Trump administration has taken in only 50 days are threatening the very idea of environmental protection. First, the action that they took against the National Park Service to deny climate change was outrageous. That action was followed quickly by removing all mention of climate change from the website. The EPA was instructed to remove all information about climate change from their website.  Then, unbelievably, Scott Pruitt, a man who has sued the EPA 14 times, was appointed as the head of the EPA. The future for our environment is bleak under this administration.

For these reasons, we must be even more dedicated to keeping knowledge available for our citizens. This roundtable must be a source for the rest of the association and, if I am elected as president, I will look to you for guidance and authority.

Your mission is reflected in my campaign platform. You can read more about it at . There are three main strands in my platform: Strengthening Relationships, Empowering Communities, and Uniting Voices. We must strengthen relationships within ALA and with those stakeholders in the outside community. We must join with others to keep information free and available to our students and patrons. Now, more than ever, we have to continue to fight the good fight. This will empower our communities in ways that will benefit not only the present generations, but the generations that follow. We must speak with one loud and strong voice that what libraries do matter to the good of the society. We must be diligent.

It is critical that we work together to keep sustainability at the forefront of our legislators. I come from a coal state where some people see the environmental concerns as an opposition to their income. Sen. Mitch McConnell is an outspoken detractor for the environment and I am appalled by his actions. We can not idly stand by and let this administration discount science and facts for they perceive as economic gain.

Thank you for your work and dedication. I look forward to working with you.

Loida Garcia-Febo – Candidate for ALA President

Sustainable development and libraries

Loida Garcia-Febo

During my entire career I have actively supported initiatives about sustainability and libraries at local, national,  and international levels.

I have supported the Resolution on the Importance of Sustainable libraries since before it was passed by ALA Council in 2015.

I agree with the resolution. Libraries play a very important role in community communications about resiliency and recently presented two talks about libraries, advocacy, and resilience to LIS students from Florida State University and the Texas University.

I wholeheartedly support the resolution and encourage the ALA membership, library schools, and state associations to be proactive in their application of sustainable thinking in the areas of their facilities, operations, policy, technology, programming, partnerships, and library school curricula.

I have supported this resolution as ALA Executive Board member and I am glad ALA will prepare a report of what it already does that speaks to the resolved statements of the resolution and identifies where there is room for improvement. I feel like a task force will help bring the resolution to life across the organization, divisions, and committees.

At a local level, I have supported the efforts of the New York Library Association (NYLA) to create more sustainable libraries and strong communities. During our last NYLA annual conference, I participated of programs and was very glad to see the Roadmap to Sustainability booklet. This is a great tool to clarify sustainable principles and help you figure out sustainable processes for your library and to make your library and community stronger. It is also available as an app which is very exciting!

At an international level, I have supported the efforts of IFLA Environment, Sustainable, and Libraries. I am glad to have supported their partnership with IFLA New Professionals, an IFLA unit I advise, to present a joint program during the IFLA Congress in Cape Town in South Africa.

I am a big believer in moving towards a more equitable, healthy, and economically viable society. We should all be agents of change. Let’s continue working together to bring change!

I am a librarian. I am an activist. I serve as a library advocate every day. The opportunity to meet the needs of the communities we serve, help change lives, benefit our profession, libraries and information professionals is very exciting! I wholeheartedly believe that Together, we can bring change to benefit our profession and the communities we serve. I based my decision to run for ALA President on my experience advocating for libraries in streets and sidewalks of New York City, at NYC City Hall, New York State Senate, the US Congress and at the United Nations, my background growing up as the daughter of a school librarian and a community organizer, and serving communities as an academic, special and school librarian in Puerto Rico, and a public librarian in Queens. My vision for the Association and my focus will be to build on the work of ALA Presidents to strengthen an ALA that will be the leading voice advocating for libraries and library users while maintaining our core values.

ALA will have a place and a voice at the decision makers’ table, particularly for those in our communities with no voice . We will amplify their concerns to Congress, at the state house, in city councils, and school boards. ALA will build coalitions with like-minded partners sharing our values. ALA will train our members to flourish throughout our careers, to serve and empower libraries, patrons, and communities. ALA will advance our concerns through actions conveyed by pillars of ALA’s Strategic Plan: Advocacy, Information Policies, Professional and Leadership Development, and Diversity and Inclusion. Together, we can bring change to impact public policy, benefit the communities we serve and our profession.

I am looking forward to work with you as your President. Thank you for your vote.


Uta Hussong-Christian – Candidate for Coordinator-Elect

I am delighted to introduce myself as a candidate for Coordinator-Elect of SustainRT. The opportunity to connect my lifelong engagement with sustainability with an aspect of my present work in academic libraries is very appealing.

I have been thinking a lot lately about sustainability. In some ways I prefer to use the phrase, living responsibly—being responsible with our individual and collective stewardship and use of earth’s resources and being responsible with our interactions with one another. Living “responsibly” feels like it conveys a message that we each have a role to play, no matter how small or large.

Like many others, sustainable living–responsible living–was part of my childhood. Whether it was working in our organic garden (the only one in our neighborhood) or recycling the few things we could recycle back in the mid 70’s or line-drying all of our clothes (we had a dryer but didn’t use it), my parents were showing my siblings and me that there was a different way to be in the world. I didn’t like being different back then but those early lessons stayed with me and now serve me well as I embrace the search for ways to reduce my negative impact on this earth.

In spite of my efforts, I was recently shown during the Master Recycler class I completed that there is always more to learn and so many more ways to apply that knowledge than I, alone, understand. I welcome the challenge, particularly when it involves working with a group of committed and passionate library professionals who are also challenging themselves to do better. If elected as SustainRT Coordinator-elect, I offer the following to the effort to grow SustainRT as an organization and grow its impact on our profession: my experience (as President of ACRL’s Oregon chapter) with leading member-driven organizations, my experience starting new initiatives (a compostables collection program at Oregon State University’s Valley Library), and my willingness to continue learning to live more responsibly.

Uta Hussong-Christian
Oregon State University Libraries & Press

Uta at Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Uta at Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Amy Brunvand – Candidate for Coordinator-Elect

Dear SustainRT Members,

I’m running for Coordinator-Elect of SustainRT and I’d like to ask for your vote.   

I am an academic librarian at the University of Utah with a specialty in government information (think environmental policy and citizen engagement).

You may remember my name from the 2016 SustainRT ballot.  I didn’t win last year, but I got enough votes to feel encouraged and losing the election led me to seek another way to engage with sustainability.   I have spent the past year on leave from the campus library working as an embedded librarian out of the University of Utah Sustainability Office.  I recently presented a webinar for SustainRT about this experience: “STARS and Beyond: Adventures of an Embedded Librarian in the Campus Sustainability Office.” (  At the moment I’m immersed in sustainability issues and I would be able to step into the Coordinator-Elect role full of fresh ideas and renewed enthusiasm.

My main effort in the Sustainability Office was helping to compile the AASHE STARS Report for the University of Utah (  STARS details campus-wide sustainability efforts, and identifies areas for improvement.  Since the University of Utah is the size of a small city it was a huge undertaking.   From this experience I have a deeper appreciation for the process of shifting organizations from business-as-usual towards sustainable action.  I am more than ever convinced that libraries have an essential information role to play in this transition.  

Sometimes I describe myself as a “guerrilla librarian,” since I try to take library values out into the wider community.  Since 2001 I have written a monthly environmental news column for Catalyst Magazine, ( a local non-profit publication in Salt Lake City with a focus on “resources for creative living”.  Catalyst readers don’t realize this, but my environmental news is based on an information literacy model to teach citizen engagement using policy as an entry point to activism and systemic change.   

The links below show some of my own interests and activities that relate to sustainability.  My personal focus has been on collection development to support sustainability and on libraries fostering citizen engagement.  Other SustainRT members have other passions, and as Coordinator I would work to integrate our diverse voices and interests into a larger vision of libraries helping to create a more equitable, healthy, and economically viable society.

Selected Sustainability Articles

Amy Brunvand. Greening Higher Education.  Catalyst Magazine, (Dec. 31, 2016)

Re-Localizing the Academic Library: Comments on an essay by Rebekkah Smith Aldrich. ALA SustainRT Blog. (7/20/2016)

Amy Brunvand & Ambra Gagliardi. “Sustainability, Relocalization, Citizen Activism and Government Information.” Dttp: Documents to the People. Summer 2015, 43(2), p..10-13.

Amy Brunvand. “Green Jell-O for the Genius Loci or How to Save the Earth with Poetry,” (p. 91-100) in Mark Todd. Western Weird. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2015.

Amy Brunvand; Jessica Breiman; Emily Bulluough; Joshua B.  Lenart & Alison Regan. (2014) Building an Academic Library Collection to Support Sustainability. Focus on Educating for Sustainability: a Toolkit for Academic Librarians. Maria A. Jankowska, ed.: Library Juice Press.

About Me

Amy Brunvand [Librarian] Faculty Profile.

Amy Brunvand [Catalyst Magazine writer].

Amy Brunvand. [Poet] 15 Bytes: Utah’s Art Magazine.

Amy Brunvand, Goodreads (like all librarians, I judge other people by what they have on their bookshelves)

Meet Amy Brunvand, Candidate for Coordinator Elect of SustainRT! (4/5/2016) SustainRT Blog.  

Amy Brunvand holds a cookie shaped like the logo of Utah Diné Bikéyah,  a Native American-led grassroots organization working to protect Bears Ears National Monument.


Upcoming SustainRT webinar! March 9th, 12:15-12:45 PM EST

On March 9th, 12:15 – 12:45 PM EST Amy Brunvand will present, “STARS and Beyond:  Adventures of an embedded Librarian in the Campus Sustainability Office.” To register for the webinar, click here.

About the webinar: During the past year Amy Brunvand, an academic librarian at the University of Utah, has been on leave from the library in order to work out of the campus Sustainability Office.   Her main project was helping to compile a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) report ,a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance that is used for ranking by Sierra Magazine and Princeton Green Schools among others.   Along the way she gained insights into what drives campus sustainability and how academic libraries and librarians can get involved in and offer support to sustainability efforts across the whole campus organization.   [30 mins]

Bio: Amy Brunvand is an academic librarian and government information specialist at the University of Utah where she has spent the past year on leave working out of the campus Sustainability Office.  Besides librarianship, she writes a monthly environmental news column for Catalyst magazine (  She also writes poetry, and her poems have recently appeared in Dark Mountain, Kudzu House Quarterly, saltfront, and the anthology “Nuclear Impact: Broken Atoms in our Hands.”

Librarian Amy Brunvand waits for the bus in an air pollution filter mask that was distributed as part of a University of Utah student project to call attention to air quality problems.

Announcing the SustainRT Travel Award!

SustainRT will grant a $500 Travel Award to one individual for the purpose of attending ALA Annual 2017. The award will come in the form of a reimbursement and may be applied to travel, lodging or conference registration expenses. The theme for this year’s award is “Green is the new Black.” Applicants are invited to submit a 60 second (or less) video explaining how libraries can empower their customers and communities toward a greener, more sustainable future. Creativity is encouraged! To qualify, applicants must be SustainRT members.* The deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM on March 15, 2017. The Travel Award committee will select the top three videos and post them to the SustainRT Facebook page by March 22, 2017. The video to receive the most “likes” by 11:59 PM on March 31, 2017 will win the $500 Travel Award (in the event of a tie, the Travel Award judges determine the winner). The winner of the Travel Award will be announced on the SustainRT blog ( on April 1, 2017.

To submit your video, go here:

*Not a SustainRT member? Join now! Log into your ALA Connect account and add us to your ALA membership. It’s only $10 to join!

A letter from the SustainRT Board

Dear Library Community,

Now more than ever, the American Library Association’s Sustainability Round Table stands firmly in our profession’s core values, many of which serve to protect our planet. The Sustainability Round Table (SustainRT) was established for the exchange of sustainability ideas and opportunities in order to move toward a more equitable, healthy and economically viable society.

Considering the climate change denial of the key members of the new administration, we will double down on our commitment to shape the library profession’s sustainable practices, policies and programming to strengthen democracy, diversity, education and lifelong learning, and social responsibility. Libraries provide vital places, brave spaces, services and resources to build community resilience as we all face an uncertain future together.

The 2015 American Library Association (ALA) Resolution on the Importance of Sustainable Libraries reminds us of “the important and unique role libraries play in wider community conversations about resiliency, climate change, and a sustainable future.” To that end, we welcome Bill McKibben, a world renowned climate change leader, as a keynote speaker at the ALA Annual 2017 Conference. McKibben’s address is made possible through our co-sponsorship with ALA’s Social Responsibilities Round Table, the American Indian Library Association and the Asian Pacific American Library Association.

We are deeply concerned about climate change and its drastic impact on people, wildlife, coastlines, weather patterns, ocean currents, and food production. While our list is long, it is not all inclusive and some of the most severe impacts could be ones we have not yet thought to measure or predict. There are pressing actions you can take now.

Please call and write your representatives to protest the nomination of cabinet members who threaten to harm our nation’s public lands, people and environment. To find your representative visit:

The coming years provide an opportunity to mobilize and work together for social equity, proper stewardship of the earth, and sustainable economic growth. Come what may, SustainRT stands resolved on the importance of sustainable libraries and will uphold these values.

Add the Sustainability Round Table to your ALA membership and join us as we clear a path toward climate justice!

The SustainRT Board:

Rene M. Tanner, Coordinator
Jodi Shaw, Coordinator-Elect
Madeleine Charney, Immediate Past Coordinator
Kate Foster Hutchens, Secretary
Lindsay L. Marlow, Treasurer
Mary Beth Lock, Member-at-Large
Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Member-at-Large

Cup-by-Cup Redux

The old ALA Task Force on the Environment (TFOE) promoted “Cup-by-Cup” event at the 2008 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. Monika Antonelli, Elaine Harger, Al Kagan, and I (others may have been present) lamented that far too many empty hot and cold beverage cups and plastic water bottles were scattered all over the floors, shelves, and tables at the 2007 Annual Meeting. Someone got the brilliant idea that TFOE should actively support an informal event making a statement that would draw attention to the task force’s mission and encourage ALA Members a means to reduce their carbon footprints while attending an ALA Conference, and “Cup-by-Cup” was launched.

It is time not only to bring “Cup-by-Cup” back to ALA Meetings (including division and chapter meetings), but make it a permanent fixture at these events, and perhaps contemplate ways to expand the concept. In essence, this campaign provides one (or more) ways showing ALA Members how to make simple lifestyle changes that provide more sustainable conferences, protect the health of Earth, and provide examples for solving an upcoming climate crisis.

Here is what you can do:

  1. Bring a reusable cup, mug, and/or water bottle to the Midwinter Meeting;
  2. Fill it with a favorite beverage(s) at the ALA event (You CANNOT bring a full water bottle on to an airplane);
  3. Raise your cups, mugs, and bottles with pride that you are taking small steps in combating a variety of environmental issues, including climate change while overtly promoting the concept of sustainability, that helps our planet;
  4. Drink happily, repeat throughout the entire event and support the efforts of SustainRT in making a more sustainable ALA event; and
  5. Do and promote this at other library association meetings you attend, including other ALA Chapter and Division National and Regional Meetings.

International Paper estimated that in 2005 Americans used more than 14 BILLION disposable paper cups just for hot beverages. TFOE estimated in 2008 if only 50 Starbucks quaffers brought their own mugs, more than 150,000 paper cups (equaling 1.7 million pounds of paper and 3.7 million pounds of solid waste in production of these cups) would be spared.

Going One More Step

Americans throw out enough plastic dinner-ware to circle the equator 300 times! Instead of throwing those knives, spoons, and forks into the garbage consider bringing or carrying your own. Here is what To-Go Ware has to say about RePEatT Utensils: “How about a bamboo utensil set to round out the perfect toolkit for life on the go? A handy carabineer on the back lets you clip and carry a fork, knife, spoon and chopsticks wherever they may roam. Perfect for a busy lifestyle and our precious planet.” Their line of bamboo flatware & chopsticks provide utensils that are heat and stain resistant, won’t impart or absorb flavors, are lightweight and strong (durability is one of the keys to green products), and they are hand-finished with top grade natural and food-safe wood oil. For more information, visit their website, To-Go Ware is a company with a rock-solid commitment to social responsibilities (environment, labor, human rights, justice, and more), which are impressive and described in great detail in their mission statement. To-Go Ware is approved by Green America and shown on The Oprah Winfrey Show and is Big Tree Carbon Committed.

Other Bamboo & Eco-Friendly Dinnerware and Other Products

  • Bamboo Studio – we are using the strength, beauty, renewability, and versatility of bamboo to offer an ever widening array of products.
  • BambooWare – “Our reusable BambooWare product line is a revolutionary dishware that is eco-friendly, biodegradable, beautiful and durable.”
  • Paperless Kitchen was founded to help individuals, households, businesses and organizations adopt greener lifestyles and philosophies by offering alternatives to disposable kitchen products.”
  • Smarty Had a Party – “Serve it up with attitude! Then send it back – to be renewed.”

Submitted by Frederick Stoss

Disclaimer: SustainRT has not vetted the products or companies mentioned in this post.

Sowing Seeds of Innovation in Opelika

I absolutely cannot grow anything.  My list of casualties include hostas (I blame the deer), red shamrock (it froze outside, but in a beautiful planter), rosemary (never even had a green shoot), tulips (I dug the bulbs up accidentally), African violets (who knows what I did wrong), and a cactus (over-watering). When I said I wanted to start a seed library, my coworkers were justifiably skeptical.

The idea was planted like most are: a patron had asked if our library, Lewis Cooper, Jr. Memorial Library in Opelika, Alabama, had a seed library and in the same week I had seen a flier for the local community garden, O Grows Community Garden. Initially, my only goals were to provide a risk-free way for our community to participate and a new avenue for adult programming. I did some digging to find the person behind the community garden and found Dr. Sean Forbes. Dr. Forbes was gracious enough to meet with me and Laurie Hackney, our Reference Librarian. He told us about his exciting work with Opelika Grows through Auburn University. He had already partnered with several area elementary schools and Opelika Middle School to get kids outside and in the dirt. There was an existing seed library through Auburn University and Dr. Forbes scheduled a meeting to get all the key players together.

Through that meeting, I was fortunate to meet Patricia Hartman, a Librarian at Auburn University. We talked about the Auburn University Seed Library and discussed how I could get started in Opelika. Ideally, I would have seeds saved from locally grown plants with a focus on heirloom edible and flowering plants and native plants. That is what we are continuing to work towards, but we started with a seed donation from Seed Savers Exchange. For the cost of shipping, we were able to get a large quantity of seeds to kick start the seed library in Opelika.

My goals for the seed library are still simple: provide a low-cost way for people to try growing something, provide a mechanism to sustain the rich vegetation heritage of our local plants, provide a resource for the community to get involved with the agricultural community that surrounds us, and open up a new avenue for adult programming.

As part of my 2017 program planning, I reached out to Pat Giordano, a member of the Lee County Master Gardeners whom I met through the initial meeting with Dr. Forbes and Ms. Hartman. Because my gardening knowledge is slim, I invited her to come to Cooper Library and help me evaluate our item selection on gardening. She was delighted to help and I was delighted to learn that we had almost everything on her essential reading list. We also discussed a program series to introduce people to gardening and once we get closer to preparation and planting time, we will begin to offer a range of introductory-level gardening classes in partnership with the Master Gardeners.

Other types of outreach and partnerships in our first year included:

  • Visiting area nurseries to let them know who we are, what we are doing, and to let them know we want to increase the amount of people interested in planting and growing who will eventually need to use their services. We absolutely are not trying to steal business from anyone and we want to make sure any fears to that end are eased.
  • Having a table at the weekly farmers market to educate the community about our existence and to increase participation on our mailing list.
  • Attending area agricultural events. My favorite was the Waverly Tomato Showdown. They have live music, an all you can eat BLT bar, and a contest for the best tomatoes. We were able to save seeds from the award winning tomatoes that are proven to grow in our area. It was also a fantastic way to get the word out about our seed library and educate the community about seed saving.
  • Using the resources available through Auburn University Extension Services ( to offer things like planting calendars and other info about gardening. It is also a way for our library to help the community know about their services.

Our seed library is in an old, small, four-drawer card catalog cabinet. We have the seeds sorted into three of the drawers: flowering plants, herbs, and fruits/vegetables. The fourth drawer contains empty envelopes and instructions for leaving donations. At this time, none of our seeds are in the digital catalog, but I plan on adding them before Spring of this year. Our set up is not fancy, and we were able to use existing materials and equipment to keep the investment to a minimum. So far, I’ve spent $5 to make this happen. We have had a lot of interest from the community and I anticipate 2017 is going to be a great year!

If you are interested in starting a seed library, I would recommend:

  • See if anyone else in your area is already doing it and try to work out a partnership. My connection with Patricia Hartman at Auburn University has been invaluable and given me access to educational resources I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.  
  • Don’t worry about making it perfect! It doesn’t have to be perfect to be good and to serve your community.
  • If you are like me and have a black thumb, find someone to be your guru. Your local Master Gardeners will be an excellent resource and I’m sure they want to help you get more people involved with gardening.
  • Look around your library for places you can grow things. We have two planters out front that are currently empty, but we will be planting easy herbs in them come Spring.
  • If it is slow to start, don’t worry! New things take time to catch hold.

Submitted by Rosanna McGinnis

Rosanna McGinnis received her MLIS in 2010 from the University of Alabama. Her professional career started with the United States Marine Corps Libraries as the Acquisitions Librarian in Okinawa, Japan. She then transferred to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California as the Library Director. In January 2016 she made the jump to public libraries as the Director for the Lewis Cooper, Jr. Memorial Library in Opelika, Alabama. She is hopeful that 2017 will be the year she manages to successfully grow something. You can follow her on Twitter @RosannaMcGinnis or email her at rmcginnis at

Missed our last webinar? The recording is now online!

David Selden, National Indian Law Library, spoke about the founding of the Committee on Environmental Sustainability under the American Association of Law Libraries. Their activities include a Conference Travel Offset Project and a Resolution on Sustainability in Law Libraries.

View the RECORDINGslidedeck & resources:

For more information about SustainRT activities and events, click here.