SustainRT Leaders Wanted

Business people connecting puzzle pieces

SustainRT is seeking nominees to stand for Spring 2021 election for the roles of Coordinator-Elect and Member-at-Large (see position descriptions below) of the SustainRT Steering Committee. If sustainability and libraries are important to you, a leadership position offers a remarkable way for you to contribute to SustainRT and our profession. It’s also a great resume builder! SustainRT is a dynamic organization with multiple initiatives in progress that challenge ALA, our profession, our own libraries, and ourselves operate and live in more sustainable ways. Can you picture yourself helping to shepherd these initiatives along?

Nominees must complete and submit the nomination form by December 3rd, 2020 (9:59pm Pacific/10:59pm Mountain/11:59pm Central/12:59am Eastern on December 4th).

Please contact Past-Coordinator Uta Hussong-Christian for nomination form link and details:

Coordinator-Elect: The Coordinator-elect will be elected for a three-year term and serves one year of that term as Coordinator-elect, one year as Coordinator, and one year as Immediate Past Coordinator. The Coordinator-elect shall appoint the chair of each standing committee and members to fill vacancies in such committees, for terms beginning with his/her year as Coordinator, except the Nominating Committee. The Coordinator-elect is expected to attend at least the ALA Annual Conference.

Additional Coordinator-Elect Duties: Serves as Liaison from the Steering Committee for a SustainRT committee, and appoints committee chairs for the next Steering Committee year. Works with ALA Liaison to update the Steering Committee listserv for the coming year and updates the org chart for the coming year. The Coordinator-elect is expected to attend at least the ALA Annual Conference.

The following year as Coordinator, the duties include: The Coordinator shall chair the Steering Committee and shall preside at meetings of the Round Table. The Coordinator shall appoint the Nominating Committee, to be chaired by the Immediate Past Coordinator, for the next election cycle. The Coordinator shall identify actions of interest to the SustainRT and recommend such actions to the Board.

Additional Coordinator duties: Schedules and chairs monthly Steering Committee meetings, works with Steering Committee members to set goals and vision for upcoming year, acts as central communicating role amongst and between Steering Committee members, recommends updates for the procedures manual as necessary, facilitates projects as necessary, assists any/all Steering Committee and standing committee members with special projects. The Coordinator is expected to attend both ALA Midwinter and Annual conferences.

Member-at-Large: This is a two-year commitment. Members at Large shall serve as a liaison between the membership and the Steering Committee, and work on special projects as assigned by the Steering Committee or the Coordinator.

Additional Member-at-Large Duties: Serves as Liaison from the Steering Committee for a SustainRT committee. Members at Large are expected to attend either the ALA Midwinter conference or the ALA Annual Conference.

Sustainability Book Review: A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety

As a reoccurring feature on the Sustainability Roundtable blog, we will post reviews of books related to sustainability.  Interested in submitting your own review to the blog? Contact August at

A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet by Sarah Jaquette Ray, University of California Press, 2020

Review by Beth Filar Williams

Dr. Sarah Jaquette Ray, a professor of environmental studies at Humboldt State University, wrote this book after realizing that her students could not even envision a positive livable climate-changed future from the results of collective effort of many. Not because these students / this generation are lazy or do not care – more so they DO care but feel powerless and are constantly bombarded with all that is wrong and seemingly unfixable, handed to them from the older generation. Why should they even try when it’s not possible to get a positive end game? Frozen by fear, guilt or grief, how can anyone even imagine a desired future? 

She begins the book speaking to the youth of today, naming their shared characteristics (like caring about social justice and climate change, two things that are linked); the financial insecurity they have beyond what any other generation has faced; the growing disparity between the rich and everyone else and also that they are the more ethnically diverse as a generation than any other generation before them. Even conservatives in Gen Z care about climate justice, unlike older generations in general. Dr. Ray wrote this book to help us combat climate change and injustice while grappling with feelings of powerlessness and despair. Ray offers strategies for climate justice activists to avoid burnout, pulling together works of adrienne maree brown’s emergent strategy, Per Epsen Stoknes’s Five Ds, Bob Doppelt’s transformational resilience, Rebecca Solnit’s justice work, and Glenn Albrecht’s solastalgia, just to name a few.  

This book can be read linearly or non-linearly by picking any chapter. Starting with happiness and how you really find it in life to mindfulness to cultivating climate wisdom helps set a tone that is not found in many climate change books. Keys in this book are to find pleasure in the work, slow down and be mindful, remember this is not a new crisis, find what you can do well and do that part, it takes a community, and you need to be able to dream of desires and envision a possible future!

Though written for Ray’s college students, this “existential toolkit for action” is also great for anyone who wants to do something about the climate crisis but struggles with anxiety when faced with the dire predictions of climate scientists. A fabulous read for a book club. Not really long, written for nonscientists, and each chapter has bullet points that would be great reflection questions or turned into discussion topics.

A few discussion questions  

  • How do you experience or observe the role of emotions in climate justice work?
  • The heart, the hand, and the head are all needed for sustained engagement. What are the effective implications of the content you are daily exposed to?  
  • Write your own manifesto. Why do you care about the planet, the suffering, and what are you skilled or passionate about that you can do? This can be an activity for reflection/writing/sharing.

Related resources:
Teaching Climate Change: Two Insights by Sarah Jaquette Ray

Interview with author by UC Press

Member Monday: Casey Conlin

Welcome to Member Mondays! The first Monday of each month, we’ll feature a member of SustainRT with a short profile.

We’re super excited to continue our series with this profile of Casey Conlin, Library Sustainability Coordinator at the Mid-Hudson Library System. All SustainRT members are welcomed and encouraged to follow Casey’s example and fill out our short self-nomination form in order to become featured in a future Member Monday themselves. We’re looking forward to getting to know one another a little better in hopes of strengthening our community of people committed to sustainability in our profession. Happy Member Monday!