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 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.”

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 (https://www.peterforala.org/) 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.

Monique le Conge Ziesenhenne – Candidate for PLA President

Me, enjoying Yosemite in 2016.

Working at the City of Palo Alto, where we have an Office of Sustainability (http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/services/sustainability/default.asp), means that our business activities and programs and entire orientation includes ways to make our libraries more sustainable. In fact, we are a partner with other city departments and the community in all types of efforts, including the Cool Smart Cities project. Three of the five library branches have achieved LEED status (2 silver, 1 platinum) and others have been renovated to highlight ways that the buildings have added “green” factors. I’ve spoken about our building development and planning in conferences and webinars, describing how we continue to build on the education possibilities and community education and our LEED platinum rated building has a collection and education focus on green building practices.

Why do I mention this about my workplace? For me, sustainability has become an internal and external value, part of who we all are as library workers, as green leaders, and as part of our communities. Libraries are the ultimate tool for sustainability – not only can we educate our communities and model sustainable practices, as we incorporate these practices into our daily work, we become ambassadors. I know that this carries itself forward into how I approach problem solving, strategy development, and resource allocation. This is true not only for my daily work, but my participation in PLA. I feel that this is an area that continues to grow and one where PLA can position to be a leader.

More than this, sustainability is about how public libraries can continue to function as the vital community education and workforce resource they are. In most communities, the public library offers a neutral space for pursuing truth and making citizenship in all its forms available. PLA will continue to emphasize the value this brings to communities and, with my background and experience, will ensure that sustainability is just as much a part of the culture as it is where I work every day. I encourage you to do the same – participate in the election and make your priorities known.

Thank you for your work and your dedication to this important issue. I welcome any comments or questions!

The Mitchell Park Library & Community Center, the LEED Platinum and Library Journal Landmark Library opened in 2014.

 

 

 

Susan Conlon – Candidate for Member-at-Large

Dear SustainRT Members,

My name is Susan Conlon and I am candidate for Member-at-Large of SustainRT, and I hope you will consider electing me to this position. It would be my honor to serve to make a contribution to its core objective to “exchange ideas and opportunities regarding sustainability in order to move toward a more equitable, healthy and economically viable society.”

First and foremost professionally I am the Head of Youth Services at the Princeton Public Library in New Jersey and I love my job. It’s a welcoming and shared public space connecting a diverse, international and vibrant small university town with a place for people of all ages to gather, explore, learn, and play.

Combining my passions – being an advocate for social and youth justice, film fanatic and promoter of sustainability for the planet – with the opportunity to work in an organization that values collaboration between departments and thinking outside the box, I founded the Princeton Environmental Film Festival in 2003, and I’ve have been leading it since. It has grown to become one of the library’s signature annual programs and its commitment to advancing environmental literacy.

Creating and renewing the festival each year illustrates why I think I’d be a good addition to SustainRT as a Member-at-Large. I have a proven track record of working with people, engaging and involving the community, and identifying, imagining, and implementing a unique way for libraries to be vital institutional leaders in environmental sustainability.

The content of the festival crosses over and intersects with many platforms, from film, to literature, science, art, poetry and even fashion – our “Trashion Show” featuring youth wearing their creative designs crafted from recycled materials they proudly walked red-carpet style was a huge hit.

You can view the festival website and get a preview of the films in our upcoming event starting March 27 at www.princetonlibrary.org/peff.

Here’s a bit more on my background:

I graduated from Rutgers University where I studied English and Art and returned later when my three children were in school to get my MLS.  

I am crazy about books, dogs, movies, and spending time in cities and the natural world. While libraries are my favorite shared built-spaces, my love for two places in the natural and outside world were shared with me and nurtured by my parents; my city-born and raised father and I discovered trees and a quest to learn about their unique identities; and my mom, whom I suspect was part-porpoise, grew up in a small town on the Jersey shore, where she lured me into the ocean to swim and made me love big waves.

~ Susan

Scott Walter – Candidate for ALA President

Thank you for the opportunity to share some thoughts about the Sustainability RT and the importance of its work today.

I was a member of ALA Council in 2015 when we passed the “Resolution on the Importance of Sustainable Libraries,” and I was happy to support it. At the time, I associated the idea of sustainability in libraries with green building, sustainable business practices, and, maybe, the idea that our move to a greater and greater reliance on digital content and information technology might be contributing to concerns such as use of electricity, e-waste, etc. It is fair to say that my appreciation for the importance of this resolution was not as expansive as it is today, but, also to be fair, we are living in a different world.

To me, the heart of this resolution is the idea that “libraries are uniquely positioned and essential to build the capacity of the communities they serve to be sustainable, resilient, and regenerative,” and the need for libraries to play that role has never been as important as it is today. I think it is telling that the Sustainability Round Table clearly drew on this vision for the role of libraries in communities in its January 2017 statement about our current situation when it focused not just on the environmental impact of the directions signaled by the new Administration, but on the way librarians work with their communities “to build community resilience as we all face an uncertain future together.” 

That future has only become more uncertain in the weeks since that statement was made, and, as I write this, the Trump Administration has just released a proposed budget that decimates our capacity, as a society, to support the arts, libraries, museums, public education, and the basic and applied science critical to a sustainable future. Librarians can, and must, not only model sustainable practices in their work, and provide the information services and educational programs that will help to spread broader awareness of how to pursue a sustainable future for one’s self and our planet, but we must radically expand our vision of the library’s role in building a resilient community, whether that community is a school, a town, a city, or a college. In a world where senior government officials question the scientific consensus around issues such as global warming and climate change, the mandate to expand our educational and advocacy role around sustainability is clear.

Here at home, we have a great example of a library making a commitment to sustainability in Chicago Public Library. In 2012, the Urban Libraries Council recognized the work that CPL had done to “[make] green routine,” in its buildings and its business practices. More recently, CPL has collaborated with Hive Chicago to promote “The Sustainability Hack” an education and outreach program aimed at young adults. What this tells us is that the library has powerful partners in the community who want to help us not only to pursue sustainability in our work, but to be part of broader discussions of how we promote a sustainability mindset among our kids and our communities. As an academic librarian, this points the way to new thinking about the “value of the academic library,” and the ways in which it can contribute to mission-centered commitments to sustainability, such as, in my case, the DePaul Sustainability Network.

There is one final lesson that I took from the sustainability resolution, and that is the importance of energizing the connection between ALA Chapters and Big ALA. The Council of the New York Library Association passed its resolution on sustainability in 2014, and the launch of the NYLA Sustainability Initiative is inspiring. Throughout this election, I have stressed the capacity that ALA has to energize a national, grassroots effort that engages our members at the local, state, and national levels, and the events of the past 7 weeks have only further demonstrated how important that is. Sustainability is one policy area where we have a great example of how that can be done, and we should build on it.

I have made a commitment throughout my campaign to focus our efforts as an Association on the critical challenges before us, and empower our Association and its members to play the leading role they must in defense of our core values, and our rights and responsibilities as information professionals and community members. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to learn more about me and about my candidacy at (walter4ala.org), and I would welcome your support.

There is important work for us to do, and, with your vote, we can do it together

Sara Dallas – Candidate for PLA President

 I appreciate the opportunity to work with the roundtable to advance the goals of SustainRT. As director of the Southern Adirondack Library System (NY), I actively support the work of SustainRT and the New York Library Association’s Sustainability Initiative. As an ALA Council Member at Large, I actively support the work done by SustainRT. I gently reminded President-Elect Jim Neal and ALA Executive Director of the importance of keeping the triple bottom line of sustainability in mind as the organization continues to move forward. If elected PLA President, I would continue to support sustainability in public library facilities, operations, policy, technology, programming, and partnerships.
Sustainability resonates with PLA’s Core Organization Values (Visionary Leadership, Member Focus, Integrity and Transparency, Openness, Inclusiveness and Collaboration, and Excellence and Innovation).  Furthermore, the work done by SustainRT dovetails perfectly with the PLA Goals of Advocacy and Awareness and how the public perceives the library:
  • Leadership and Transformation through professional orientation from internal to outward towards the community,
  • Literate Nation in the area of sustainable and resilient public libraries, and
  • Organizational Excellence – to develop tools and resources to education PLA members, the PLA Board and PLA staff on the importance of Sustainability.  (PLA Strategic Plan, June 2014).
I am a member of SustainRT, and my staff are active in library sustainability locally, statewide and nationally.
Sustainable thinking will continue to be important to me whether or not I am elected PLA President. It is our future. I recognize the importance, responsibilities and unique role of public libraries to hold community conversations, model sustainable practices, and provide information to the public on sustainability. As public librarians, we need to look at our buildings, operations, partners, programming, collections and policies in this vital area.  
I would encourage PLA to look at its conference, conference programming, continuing education opportunities and publications to incorporate the work done by the SustainRT as President – Elect, President, and Past President.

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 whitehouse.gov 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 www.grief4alapresident.com . 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.