SustainRT Leaders Wanted!

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

SustainRT is seeking nominees to stand for Spring 2022 election for the roles of Coordinator-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Councilor, and Member-at-Large (see position descriptions below). If you see a sustainable future with libraries leading the way, a leadership position in SustainRT offers a remarkable way for you to realize that vision. As the fastest growing roundtable in ALA, SustainRT is a dynamic organization with multiple initiatives in progress as part of a strategic plan that challenges and supports ALA, our profession, our own libraries, and ourselves to live and work in more sustainable ways. Can you picture yourself helping to shepherd this work along? Nominees must complete and submit a nomination form by December 1st, 2021. Contact Past-Coordinator Casey Conlin for the nomination form link, details, and any questions:

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 their year as Coordinator, except the Nominating Committee. The Coordinator-elect is expected to attend at least the ALA Annual Conference. The following year, as Coordinator, duties will include leading and convening monthly Steering Committee meetings and working towards completing goals identified in the SustainRT strategic plan. The Past-coordinator, will be expected to convene the nominating committee to find candidates for upcoming leadership positions, and maintain and update procedure documentation relevant to SustainRT’s work.



The Secretary will be elected for a two-year term, attend monthly SustainRT Steering Committee Meetings, and shall be responsible for the general correspondence of the SustainRT and the minutes of Steering Committee and general membership meetings. The Secretary, coordinating with the ALA staff liaison, shall arrange for preservation of the SustainRT archives via ALA Connect or its successor technology. The Secretary shall be eligible for election to a second consecutive term. The Secretary is expected to attend both ALA conferences (if membership meeting planned) including Annual conferences in order to record the minutes of the general membership meeting.



The Treasurer will be elected for a two-year term, attend monthly SustainRT Steering Committee Meetings, and shall review and approve all expenses, coordinating with the ALA staff liaison, and prepare reports and a proposed budget for each fiscal year. The Treasurer shall be eligible for election to a second consecutive term. The Treasurer is expected to attend both ALA Midwinter and Annual Conferences in order to attend ALA fiscal and budget assembly meetings as needed. The Treasurer will serve as Liaison between the Steering Committee and the Membership Committee, handle all reimbursements for SustainRT incurred expenses.


The Councilor will be elected for a three-year term and attend monthly SustainRT Steering Committee Meetings. The SustainRT Councilor shall serve as the SustainRT representative to the ALA Council. The SustainRT Councilor is expected to attend both ALA Midwinter and Annual conferences in order to attend ALA Council meetings to represent SustainRT. The Councilor will srves as Liaison between the Steering Committee and a SustainRT committee. The SustainRT Councilor attends all ALA Council meetings during the ALA conferences (Council I, Council II, and Council III) and keeps SustainRT informed of Council actions. The SustainRT Councilor is a voting member of ALA Council and speaks on behalf of SustainRT on the council floor, makes motions, and proposes and submits resolutions.

The Member-at-Large position is a two-year commitment, including attending monthly SustainRT Steering Committee Meetings. The Member-at-Large will serve as liaison between the Steering Committee and a SustainRT committee, and work on special projects as assigned by the Steering Committee or the Coordinator. Members at Large are expected to attend either the ALA Midwinter conference or the ALA Annual Conference.

2021 SustainRT Candidate Statements

Bio info will be available in the ALA Voting system in March


Tina Chan

What do you want to focus on during your possible tenure with the SustainRT Steering Committee?

If elected as coordinator-elect, I will further SustainRT’s goal of “a more equitable, healthy, and economically viable society” by working with SustainRT members and ALA groups to provide resources so they will be sustainability advocates and leaders, by seeking new partnerships throughout the profession and beyond, and by promoting the importance of sustainability and libraries through education and advocating the vital work we do.  For example, in January 2019, ALA Council adopted diversity as one of the core values of librarianship.  Adding diversity as a core value signifies to the profession the importance of diversity in libraries, and that diversity should guide our work.  In this spirit, I will partner with the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services, and its member groups and affiliate organizations to build on SustainRT’s excellent work on outreach, mentorship, education, programming, and advocacy.

What is one sustainability accomplishment that you are proud of?

 As a librarian at MIT Libraries, I worked with a librarian colleague to create a social justice resource guide about food and sustainability issues.  We formed partnerships with campus organizations, such as Office of Sustainability, Food and Agriculture Club, and Division of Student Life, to gather information about food and sustainability issues on campus.  These partnerships are integral so that the community has resources about these important subjects.  The partnerships and resource guide developed demonstrate to the campus community that the library is an active partner and advocate for social justice, food, and sustainability issues.

Additionally, I incorporate sustainability practices in my personal life.  For example, I bring reusable bags when I shop, my bicycle is my only form of transportation year-round, I have LED lights throughout my house, and I have an electric lawn mower and electric snow blower, among many other sustainable practices.  I am proud to follow these practices that have positive environmental impacts.  Living sustainably does not mean drastically changing behaviors or spending lots of money.  Living sustainably means being committed, realistic, and deliberate.

What do you see as a sustainability challenge in libraries?

In January 2019, ALA Council adopted sustainability as one of the core values of librarianship.  Adding sustainability as a core value signifies to the profession the importance of sustainability practices in libraries, and that sustainability should guide our work.  Despite this important recognition from ALA Council, more libraries should incorporate sustainability practices in its daily work by having a sustainability plan that includes how to succeed being socially equitable, economically feasible, and environmentally sound.  A sustainability plan provides a framework for systematic, relevant, and ongoing sustainability practices for all library employees, and signifies the library’s commitment to sustainability and its community.  I believe unfortunately that our world will continue to have sustainability challenges, which require our immediate attention.  Libraries must lead the effort to understand and address these sustainability challenges.

Is there anything else you wish to share with SustainRT members about your candidacy?

Thank you for considering voting for me as coordinator-elect!  SustainRT has been a supportive and inspiring professional home to me.  SustainRT has provided me many opportunities to work on sustainability issues, and to meet passionate and enthusiastic colleagues.  I am grateful to give back to this extraordinary round table.  I am proud to be part of a round table that encourages and supports discussions surrounding sustainability and libraries.  SustainRT maintains a strong and influential role within ALA because of its committed and motivated members who advocate for sustainability and libraries, which raises awareness of SustainRT and the crucial work we do.

Mandi Goodsett

What do you want to focus on during your possible tenure with the SustainRT Steering Committee?

As SustainRT Coordinator, I would focus on the following initiatives:

  • Building on the excellent work of the ALA Sustainability Task Force and the current SustainRT leadership to enact more of the Task Force recommendations. This may involve developing task forces of our own, collaborating across the association, and taking advantage of the enthusiasm and skills of our SustainRT membership.
  • Increasing the membership of SustainRT by collaborating with other round tables and divisions. For example, offering joint programs or services with the New Members Round Table or the Social Responsibilities Round Table could allow us to recruit additional members. 
  • Exploring how SustainRT can raise awareness of climate justice as a core component of sustainability work, and as an intersection with much of the work we strive to do in ALA and librarianship more broadly. This could include offering programs or resources about this topic, and/or developing some internal round table goals for improving our own diversity, equity, and inclusion.

I would also be very open to the strategic directions and goals of the SustainRT membership, and would solicit feedback before beginning my tenure as the Round Table Coordinator.

What is one sustainability accomplishment that you are proud of?

I’m the convener of my own library’s Sustainability Interest Group, and, while it wasn’t a big and splashy initiative, I’m most proud of our interest group’s success in transitioning to using compostable dinnerware at library parties and events. Making changes in how the library conducts internal activities can sometimes be the most difficult to accomplish, and it requires education and buy-in. Once the library staff make the change, though, they know they are part of an important effort that helps everyone. In our case, while there was some initial resistance to the change, our party organizers now reach out to the library’s Sustainability Interest Group before every party to make sure we have a plan in place for composting our dinnerware. For anyone who has had similar victories, you likely know how exciting a change in attitude like this can be!

What do you see as a sustainability challenge in libraries?

One of the biggest challenges to sustainability efforts in libraries I’ve encountered is the lack of recognition on the part of stakeholders and library workers that sustainability is, in fact, very relevant to libraries. Some librarians I’ve spoken to simply don’t see why libraries should be involved in the work of making our communities more sustainable. It’s up to us to present a compelling case for why library sustainability efforts align with so many of our values as a profession: access, democracy, diversity, the public good, preservation of cultural heritage, social responsibility, and more. When we work to make our communities more sustainable, we demonstrate our desire to ensure a good quality of life for ourselves in the future, as well as for future generations who will look back on the decisions we are making now.

Is there anything else you wish to share with SustainRT members about your candidacy?

I have greatly enjoyed co-chairing the SustainRT Outreach Committee, and I have had an immensely positive experience working with other passionate SustainRT volunteers and leaders. I would cherish the opportunity to continue to work with this dedicated community in a leadership role, and I thank you very much for your consideration.

Member-at-Large Candidates

Clay Daetwyler

What is one sustainability accomplishment that you are proud of?

Helping our academic department build a sustainability-focused makerspace (now sadly in abeyance due to the pandemic).

What do you see as a sustainability challenge in libraries?

I’ve seen in a lot of settings a view that inclusion, accessibility, and sustainability are at odds with each other. We need to work to show that progress on all of these can go hand in hand instead.

What is one sustainability project or initiative spearheaded by a library that you wish you had thought of first and why?

I don’t think I have a good answer to this question. I feel that most of the time what really matters is that the work gets done, not who did it first. And a lot of the time, it seems easier to get institutional support if you can show that a program has already worked somewhere else!

Is there anything else you wish to share with SustainRT members about your candidacy?

I am new and inexperienced, but eager to work hard to move forward the work of SustainRT!

Irina Holden

What is one sustainability project or initiative or accomplishment that you are passionate about?

I am an information literacy librarian and have been teaching credit-bearing courses since 2005. First it was Information Literacy in the Sciences, and since 2014 – Information Literacy in Mathematics and Statistics. As a part of the curricula, I introduce my students to the concept of science literacy and its three major types: civic, cultural and practical. Students are required to read a couple of articles each week from the Science section of the New York Times to discuss in class or online, depending on the mode of instruction. I have followed the conversation about global warming and climate change through the lens of political climate in the U.S., and this topic has not been approved by the White House. Getting more familiar with the situation of sustainability in this country and around the world made me aware of the necessity to take action. In 2011 I developed a course, freshman seminar on science literacy and sustainability. I have been teaching it every fall. Since I’m a teaching librarian, my main mission is to educate in every way I can, and I’m trying to use every opportunity. 

What do you see as a sustainability challenge in libraries?

Because of sustainability being often tied up to a word “environmental”, libraries and librarians often think about the implementation of processes and projects directly related to the environment such as switching to energy-efficient lights, encouraging double-sided printing or installing water fountains to encourage the use of refillable bottles. These are all commendable measures and they do send a message that the libraries care about the environment. However, the real challenge is to take a part in a broader conversation with other departments or organizations, depending on the library size. Being part of the community is extremely valuable if we want to spearhead our efforts in sustainability.  

What is one sustainability project or initiative spearheaded by a library that you wish you had thought of first and why?

Frankly, I do not find it of crucial importance to be the one who thought of something first. I’m happy to join my colleagues in their endeavors, and often it could lead to some new initiatives or projects that I came up with myself. Sustainability is team work, and we need to encourage each other in any way we can in order to pursue it, and there are many ways to achieve it. Everyone can contribute..

Is there anything else you wish to share with SustainRT members about your candidacy?

I’d like to add  that my interest in sustainability has been propelled not only by my professional pursuits, but also by my personal ones. I am an urban gardener, being a lucky user of a community garden plot in downtown Albany, in a 5-minute walk from the State Capitol. I am a member of a great food co-op, where I volunteered for nine years at the deli department and learned a lot about preparing food with local and organic ingredients. I made a lot of friends in a process, who helped me paste different bits and pieces of information together in a sustainable way and encouraged me to learn more. I always tell my students that I learn a lot from them at the end of each course. I also learn from my colleagues and friends, including SustainRT. I hope to continue to be a part of this great group, working together on new sustainable initiatives.

Kacper Jarecki

What is one sustainability project or initiative or accomplishment that you are passionate about?

Racism is a huge issue that needs to be addressed. How can we even attempt to protect Earth, when black people in the USA are still in danger just because of the color of their skin? And racism also adversely affects Asian-Americans and the Latinx community. Libraries are uniquely positioned to address disparities in our society, so we need to do our best to step up to the challenge. I am an immigrant to the USA, born in Poland. On a small level, as a kid, I was affected by bullying and the constant reminders that I was different. It was my cat who was my first friend. I love that libraries welcome everyone and can be places that bring people together. That why I work here!

As a member of the Ethnic Services Roundtable, I joined the Combating Racism taskforce, and you can watch all 6 videos from our 2020 webinar series here:

What do you see as a sustainability challenge in libraries?

Libraries should be on the forefront of sustainability. Libraries were part of the sharing economy before there was a sharing economy, and libraries are still the only ones to do it for free. Besides sharing resources such as books, computers, events; libraries are also places of kindness and empathy. The biggest challenge sometimes, working in a library, is to stay positive – but by supporting each other, like we do at the Sustainability Roundtable, we can keep pushing forward, making the world a better place, starting with our local communities.

What is one sustainability project or initiative spearheaded by a library that you wish you had thought of first and why?

I am so lucky to work with wonderful colleagues in the library field – they are so smart and talented – often I wish I was half as smart as they are! I love being part of the union (shout-out to Local 1321 and the DC 37 Climate Justice committee), the New York Library Association, the American Library Association, the Public Library Association, and more – library workers are so generous with their skills and knowledge: I get to learn and benefit so much from them! Nearly everything I do, I do as part of team, so I’ve been lucky to work with great teams. Like Casey Conlin, the SustainRT president said, we are like Voltron, and combining to work together is what makes us strong!

The Hunters Point branch of Queens Public Library is hosting an online bicycling lunchtime webinar series. This is so cool! I love cycling but I still have problems changing my flat tire. This series is practical, fun, and directly deals with sustainability. It’s such a fun program. I wish I thought of it, but I’ll definitely learn from it!

Is there anything else you wish to share with SustainRT members about your candidacy?

I was running because I wanted to help out. When I first proposed having a bicycle ride from NY to Philadephia in January 2020 for ALA Midwinter, Uta and SustainRT said yes, they sponsored it and helped make it happen! Shout-out to Sarah Gluck, a fellow member, for doing all the route planning for the ride! And I’ve had a great time working with SustainRT for almost 2 years. So I’m thankful and I want to give back somehow.

Lauren Read

What is one sustainability project or initiative or accomplishment that you are passionate about?

Zero Waste excites me.  I appreciate it as a two-prong approach to environmental sustainability.  There are many activist, civic, and legislative groups working to eliminate waste on the systems scale, involving community composting and circular and sharing economies.  The other aspect is how we conduct ourselves as consumers, making better product choices, considering the end-life of a product, but fundamentally, quashing consumerism.  I like to share my experience with this lifestyle in ways that speak to accessibility and privilege.  In libraryland, hosting Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home was nixed with the pandemic, but this year I am hosting a dialogue with a local grassroots coalition on this issue.

What do you see as a sustainability challenge in libraries?

I am relieved that my profession is relatively sustainable.  After all, we are built on sharing information and loaning materials rather than owning it all.  I also say that providing programs for enrichment or recreation free of charge to our communities is part of the sustainable model.  In short, the communal factor is commendable.  

I think that the biggest challenge is change management.  We discover better, more sustainable ways of doing things, and progress is often stymied by resistance to change.  It’s a group effort that requires good leadership, and often it does get done but not without pushback and waste of every kind (literal and proverbial).

What is one sustainability project or initiative spearheaded by a library that you wish you had thought of first and why?

Over the past two decades, really, I have been enamoured by libraries lending unconventional things, such as artwork, musical instruments, cake pans, sewing machines and supplies, seeds, tools, and toys.  I will continue to pitch the value of such lending, encouraging libraries I influence to take part for better equity of a number of things (of relevant interest to a community) that needn’t be personally owned.

Is there anything else you wish to share with SustainRT members about your candidacy?

The foundation of libraries is sustainability: equity, access, and shared resources.  When culture develops in unsustainable ways, I think it a professional imperative to provide guidance, support, and inspiration to our libraries.  And my involvement in a national roundtable with this commitment allows me to apply my passion with a wider reach and, hopefully, impact.  Thank you for your consideration of my potential participation as a member-at-large to better participate, as part of a great group, in sustainability initiatives for the whole of ALA; subsequently, our nation’s communities; and, ultimately, our planet Earth.

Eric Tans

What is one sustainability accomplishment that you are proud of?

I am most proud of the partnerships that I have helped the MSU Library develop with other campus units related to sustainability. Through our partnership with MSU Recycling we were able to serve as a pilot location for a campus composting service and reduce our waste by improving our signage around our café. We have also partnered with the MSU Office of Sustainability to receive an ALA Resilient Communities: Libraries Respond to Climate Change grant that will support us in hosting four community events this spring on the connections of climate change, community resilience, human migration and local food and gardening. Through these partnerships and the resulting programs, we have established the library as a leader for sustainability on campus that positively influences other campus units to be more sustainable.

What do you see as a sustainability challenge in libraries?

One current challenge for libraries working toward sustainability are limited resources, particularly now that libraries are dealing with COVID pandemic impacted budgets. This could limit libraries’ abilities to develop new and innovative sustainability programming. The pandemic, however, is also a source for opportunity, as libraries have been forced to rethink policies, procedures, and programming in our whole new context. This moment represents a paradigm shift for library services and is the perfect opportunity to rethink how we can incorporate sustainability into all aspects of librarianship.  

What is one sustainability project or initiative spearheaded by a library that you wish you had thought of first and why?

I am very impressed by the New York Library Association’s Sustainable Libraries Initiative, particularly their Sustainable Library Certification Program. While a certification program is not a requirement for developing a sustainable library, it does provide a path for libraries to follow without having to “re-invent the wheel”. This program not only simplifies the process of developing a comprehensive sustainability program for all types of libraries, but it also establishes a readymade cohort of libraries all working towards a similar goal for sharing ideas and strategies. NYLA should be proud of developing this program, I wish I had a been a part of that work!

Is there anything else you wish to share with SustainRT members about your candidacy?

I believe that every library is a sustainable library. A library does not need a new LEED certified building, or a green roof, or a big budget to be sustainable. Any library that provides space for community building, access to information and educational resources, and encourages the sharing and reuse of materials is already doing sustainability work. My goal if elected as Member-at-Large would be to help to highlight the value of this sustainability work already being done across libraries while also providing space to explore additional avenues for sustainability in libraries. 

Sarah Tribelhorn

What is one sustainability accomplishment that you are proud of?

Although I am new to library and information science, I have a long history with sustainability and conservation efforts. I have a background in life sciences, with an MS in Ichthyology and Fisheries Science. My research experience includes understanding and enhancing the sustainability of freshwater fisheries resources for communities that rely on fishes as their primary source of protein in Southern Africa. In this research I came to fully understand sustainability as the interplay between social equity, environmental integrity, and economic feasibility. I also gained valuable experience in community-based forums and meetings, as well as inter-agency collaboration and communication.

What do you see as a sustainability challenge in libraries?

I consider one of the most challenging aspects of sustainability in libraries is a lack of the holistic understanding of sustainability and the interplay between equity, economics and the environment. In this regard, I consider sustainability literacy fundamental, starting with librarians. 

What is one sustainability project or initiative spearheaded by a library that you wish you had thought of first and why?

A program that I wish I had spearheaded is including sustainability literacy in academic library curricula, such as in Sul Ross State University.

Is there anything else you wish to share with SustainRT members about your candidacy?

I am running for the SustainRT member-at-large position, and having lived and worked in Africa, Europe, and the US have a broad perspective and experience in sustainability issues and have realized the powerful role that I have as an advocate and steward. As a member of SustainRT I will endeavor to work tirelessly to promote and support the mission of this organization. I appreciate your consideration.

Richard Wade

What is one sustainability project or initiative or accomplishment that you are passionate about?

At my library, we still rely on paper a lot. I’ve been creating more Google Docs and transferring old documents to digital copies. This will eventually lead us to rely much less on paper in the future.

What do you see as a sustainability challenge in libraries?

Becoming more digitally relevant as years go by. Libraries are trying to capture the attention of patrons, all while other activities are available for them to participate in. We have to constantly monitor trends and become cognizant of how to best approach each situation.

What is one sustainability project or initiative spearheaded by a library that you wish you had thought of first and why?

McMillan Memorial Library in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin installed solar panels on their roof. This saved the library a lot of money, on both maintenance and energy related costs. According to the US Green Building Council, LEED-certified buildings saved $1.2 billion in energy costs from 2015-2018. They saved an additional $715 million in maintenance costs and $54 million in waste savings. If my library instituted a policy like this, it would result in more money for programming, coupled with the ability to hire more library workers.

Is there anything else you wish to share with SustainRT members about your candidacy?

There isn’t anything else I would like to add at this time.

Meet our SustainRT Candidates for Treasurer!

Ameet Doshi

My name is Ameet and I am passionate about sustainability and libraries. I’m currently a librarian at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA, and working on a transformational $77 million project that involves a complete rethinking of the academic research library spaces and services (“Library Next”). As part of this initiative, I have been able to leverage my LEED AP credential to influence the sustainability of our new leading-edge green library. I would appreciate your vote!

Casey Conlin

For the past 3 years, I’ve been working with the Sustainability Initiative of the New York Library Association to define what sustainability means for libraries, and to create tools to help librarians make their organizations and their communities resilient places where people can thrive. Our work focuses on the triple bottom line of sustainability to ensure all library services and programs are socially equitable, economically feasible, and environmentally sound. As Treasurer, I hope to help connect SustainRT with our members to figure out how to bring the best resources to librarians to help them build relationships in their communities, and increase access to their services in affordable, environmentally-responsible ways.

Meet our SustainRT Candidates for Secretary!

Denise Brush

I believe that I am well-qualified to contribute to the ALA Sustainability Round Table as Secretary due to my experiences with serving as a secretary for various organizations, with academic and public librarianship, and with sustainability and environmental issues. My undergraduate degree is in civil and environmental engineering, and I have been science and engineering librarian at Rowan University in New Jersey for 12 years. Prior to that I worked in a public library for 3 years. Over the past several years I have been active in local environmental groups such as Food & Water Watch and Transition Towns US. I serve on the environmental commission in my town, which holds a Bronze Certification from Sustainable Jersey. I was the secretary of my neighborhood civic association as well as secretary of the Green Party of Delaware for 2 years, and have been secretary of the Green Party of New Jersey since 2016. I believe passionately that both sustainability and libraries have important roles to play in our immediate future. I am excited about the initiatives that SUSTAIN-RT has been working on and believe that my organizational skills can help bring them to fruition successfully.

Lisa Kropp

As past secretary for the Youth Services Section of my state association (NYLA), I have experience in taking and posting accurate minutes in a timely, organized fashion. I joined NYLA’s Sustainability Initiative because I wanted to help my local community move forward using the triple bottom line of environmental, economic, and social equity. Part of my work with NYLA-SI was having my library serve as a pilot site for its sustainable libraries benchmark program. Today, we are one of thirty libraries fully participating in the just launched sustainable libraries benchmark certification. My work for the Sustainability Initiative also focuses on creating curriculum and serving as a mentor and trainer for the Community Change Agents program, also in its pilot year. We work with five library/community partner teams on projects that promote resiliency and sustainability. If elected to the SustainRT board as Secretary, I hope to assist the group with share knowledge gained from my state’s commitment to sustainable library practices so that SustainRT can begin to cross pollinate across the different ALA divisions and increase both its membership and ability to work with libraries across the country on developing sustainable communities and workplaces.

Meet our SustainRT Candidates for Member-a-Large!

Tina Chan

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.

Joseph Fox

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.

Arlene Hopkins

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  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.”

Scott Kushner

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.

Meet our SustainRT Candidates for Coordinator-Elect

Uta Hussong-Christian

I am delighted, once again, to introduce myself as a candidate for Chair-elect of SustainRT. I grew up grounded in practices of sustainability; my siblings and I learned there was a different way to be in the world. Those early lessons stayed with me and now serve me well in my personal and work lives. Today the best lessons coming out of communities like SustainRT or my city’s Sustainability Coalition are that there is ALWAYS more to learn and that there are so many more ways to apply that knowledge than I, alone, understand. SustainRT’s mission to exchange ideas or opportunities and to present resources relevant to sustainability speaks to this beautifully.

I seek out this leadership opportunity not because I know all there is to know but because I have some pieces of experience to offer to the collective effort. If elected as SustainRT Chair-elect, I bring my experience with leading member-driven organizations (as President of ACRL’s Oregon chapter); my experience with starting new initiatives (a compostables collection program at Oregon State University Libraries); and my willingness to continue learning to live more sustainably.

Jill Friedmann

I have a background in museums and archives. My master’s degree is in Museum Studies, not Library Science. So it may not surprise some of you to hear me say that I believe part of the future of sustainable libraries includes a workforce from varied backgrounds. Of course we need people with library science degrees, but we need to be open to hiring people with other skills sets and that means other types of degrees. As Coordinator-Elect, I hope to spend the first year learning the ropes behind the scenes of SustainRT so that when I become the Coordinator in year two I can keep supporting the roundtable initiatives and help the membership moving forward. Libraries are the resource centers for our communities and we should set the example in our communities as sustainability leaders. SustainRT should, can, and does provide its membership with resources to become those leaders and my role as Coordinator-Elect will be to ensure those efforts continue and expand.

Meet our candidates for ALA President!

Wanda Brown

I see the role of sustainability as critical to our organization.  As an information association, we are the voice to our profession. We have to be the link between what we want our libraries to model as well as the educator and training around current relevant topics. I see the Sustainability round table as the primary developer of guiding principles and the facilitator of outreach programs that encourage sustainability efforts within libraries.  Your mission is to educate, inform and connect. I see your round table as the driving force for developing and sharing of values and initiating programs that can be replicated throughout any and all libraries. The task of educating is a revolving door that never closes.

As President of ALA I will definitely support the work of the round table. Collaboration remains the key for us in educating our communities.  Combining forces with other affiliates will increase the number of people we reach. In keeping with the theme of “Libraries Lead” perhaps we could launch a state by state campaign of planned events around sustainability education. The communities we serve are still not as knowledgeable as we’d like around the issues of environmental and economic consequences associated with our actions. Not only partnering with other divisions of ALA, we also encourage libraries to collaborate with other community groups. We could launch a national day/week of collaborative programming within each county.

Peter Hepburn

Sustainability is relevant to the entirety of ALA.  There is not one of us – member or staff – who is not touched in some way by what sustainability means.  Whether we define it in terms of environmentally responsible practices, or we think of it more broadly in terms of how ALA manages and maintains its many assets, the concept should matter to us all.  We see this in our libraries already.  As my campaign site ( declares, “Libraries sustain our communities and institutions”.  They serve as models and resources for sustainable practices.  ALA can provide the space for exchange of ideas such that more and more libraries adopt and further disseminate those practices.

Sustainability of and within ALA is a priority for my presidency.  I eagerly await the report of the Task Force on Sustainability, and I will focus on ensuring its recommendations come to fruition.  I also want to facilitate collaboration and cooperation across the various ALA units so that work on sustainability will be shared.  SustainRT could be a partner for so many others – think of how it could contribute to divisional conferences, or how it could develop programs and tools with any other round table – and as president, I want to encourage those partnerships as much as possible.

I learned a lot from SustainRT (and joined it!) in my three years as its Executive Board liaison, and I am keen that the interests of the round table become the interests of the association as a whole.

Call for SustainRT Candidates, 2018

Hi SustainRT members,

Are you passionate about sustainability in libraries? Would you like a leadership opportunity on the board of SustainRT? We are a fun group of engaged individuals. Speaking from personal experience, I have served as chair-elect, chair, and now outgoing chair. It has been an opportunity to learn, grow and work with colleagues from all over the country. We are looking for nominees for the following positions:

  • Chair-elect (3 year – chair elect, chair, outgoing chair)
  • Secretary (2 year)
  • Treasurer (2 year)
  • Member-at-Large (2 year)

Nominate yourself by following this link and filling out your candidate information.  The deadline is January 18, 2018.

If you are interested in any one of these positions and want to know more, please contact Rene Tanner, email:  rene.tanner [at symbol]

–Rene Tanner (Member SustainRT Governance Committee and Outgoing Chair)

Here’s are some comments from current board members about what to expect:

Participating on the SustainRT board as a Member at Large gives you a great deal of latitude to decide on the particular way you’d like to provide support to the organization.  In my own experience, I have focused most of my attention to developing programming for mid-winter and annual conferences. I, along with some very stellar volunteers who serve on the programming Committee, develop ideas for conference presentations, identify and work with presenters, and submit conference proposals.  I’ve taken part in monthly Board Meeting calls and weighed in on issues related to the Board governance.  The time involved in all of this is approximately 1-3 hours per month.  Please consider helping us do this important work!

-Mary Beth Lock (Member-at-Large, July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2018)

As the Chair-Elect, I joined the SustainRT board in July 2017.  This gives me a chance to observe and take part in discussions as I prepare for my own term as Chair.  There is one online board meeting a month with follow-up, and I’m also the board liaison for the Outreach Committee so I won’t lie– this position takes some time and effort.  We are working on programs for ALA Midwinter and Annual conferences, trying to keep social media active and interesting, organizing webinars, and doing our best to promote sustainability as a core value of librarianship.  it feels like valuable work and it’s exciting to help make a difference at a national level.  Being on the board has also given me new credibility to work on sustainability issues at my home institution.

–Amy Brunvand (Chair-Elect, June 30, 2017, to July 1, 2018)