As a social sciences librarian at MIT Libraries, I specialize in the areas of energy and the environment in the social sciences. My role includes collaborating with librarian colleagues who specialize in energy and the environment in science, engineering, and urban studies and planning. By supporting MIT’s minors in energy studies and in environment & sustainability, I am able to build on the robust collections for students and faculty members.
I am interested in SustainRT’s member-at-large position to be more involved with sustainability and libraries. Sustainability affects everyone, and libraries provide information to help the world be a better place. Libraries are the center of our communities as they provide access to information for everyone, and we create a positive impact in our communities. I believe I can make a difference if elected by promoting the importance of sustainability and libraries through education and advocating the vital work we do.
My desire is for communities to realize their potential to conserve resources, teach them how to advocate for clean air and soil, grow useful plants, and redesign spaces to actuate all of these things. I believe that libraries are situated at a place and in a time in which we can use our collective energy to advocate for a cleaner and more efficient world, one that evolves away from reliance on fossil fuels.
I have almost 20 years experience in libraries of many kinds, and have been involved in walkability initiatives, employee health, community battery collection, and redesigning spaces. Foundational to my career is reuse and recycling of our materials, and I also led a composting program in 2012 that left one of our branch libraries with a sustainable resource.
The aims of SustainRT should be to share and promote ways that libraries can realize ways to conserve and also to make partnerships across our communities that permit us all to change the paradigm on resource conservation.
Serving on the SustainRT board as a Member-at-Large will enable me to bring 30+ years of experience as an educator, architect and library planner to comprehensive sustainability and resilience in library planning, programs, collections and facilities. Friends and I have created a Facebook page “Cultivating Urban Resilience – Next Gen Libraries.”
I would like to be a resource for librarians working to integrate sustainability and resilience into their libraries, and to develop linkages and networks across our communities. Please note my experience at https://www.linkedin.com/in/arlenehopkins/ or read “Sustainability in Public Libraries: Creating a hub for resilient and sustainable community culture,” Arlene Hopkins and Stephen Maack | June 23, 2017. I have presented twice at ALA on sustainable library planning, including 2017 Chicago where I spoke on “Next Gen Library Planning: Strategic Library Planning for Sustainability and Resilience in Community.”
The primary concerns of sustainability – environmental, economic and social justice and equality are not just a preference but an absolute necessity for the survival of our communities, whether it’s local, nationally and/or globally. We need to find a way to effectively communicate this to all the stakeholders in our communities, starting with our library community (e.g. staff, Boards, whole systems, etc.) so that we can take a leadership role in helping to make our entire citizenry lead sustainable lives. In my personal life I have been actively involved in supporting remedying environmental and social concerns. I am an active member of the NYLA Sustainability Initiative as well as being involved in beginning a local initiative modeled on NYLA’s.